Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, & Micah: Day 9

God’s Discipline

by

Today's Text: Amos 3:1-15, Amos 4:1-13, Psalm 65:5-8, Romans 11:1-6

Scripture Reading: Amos 3:1-15, Amos 4:1-13, Psalm 65:5-8, Romans 11:1-6

The summer camp where I worked in college enforced a strict “no sweets” rule. The rule’s purpose was to prevent ants, attracted to the sugar, from invading our camp and overrunning our cabins. Therefore, if your mom mailed you a Tupperware container of brownies during the week, you had to abstain from eating them until Saturday, our day off. This posed a challenge to my demanding sweet tooth.

One afternoon, a package of brownies was delivered to a fellow camp counselor. A few of us gathered around the forbidden Tupperware, looking at it longingly.

“I’m eating one,” I finally said, defiantly. I could not deny my sweet tooth for one more moment and, I reasoned, no one would know. What harm could it do? But just as I was raising the brownie to my mouth, the camp director—our boss—walked by. I paused.

“You gonna eat that?” he asked.

He won’t do anything to me, I thought. I’m a great counselor. I’m responsible. He likes me. I’m above the rules.

With this confidence, I took a bite. Right in front of the camp director. Guess who had to spend her Saturday morning power-washing the bathroom floors?

My attitude in front of my camp director that day is not unlike the attitude of Israel we see described in Amos 3 and 4. Israel was prosperous during this time. They were victorious in their military pursuits and had grown wealthy, acquiring “great houses… inlaid with ivory” (Amos 3:15). But instead of using their wealth and status to do good, they oppressed the poor and crushed the needy (Amos 4:1), directly defying the law that enforced caring for the vulnerable (Deuteronomy 15:7).

Israel had let their status go to their heads and had begun to consider themselves above the rules. As a result, they slid deeper and deeper into sin. They needed to repent. They needed to change their behavior, and most of all, they needed to remember who God was.

The biggest pitfall when considering yourself above the rules is that you also begin to consider yourself above the rule-maker. And if you are above the rule-maker, you will naturally tend toward acts of defiance, for there is no longer anyone to defy. This is why I chomped on a forbidden brownie right in front of my camp director that summer. I incurred punishment as a reminder of who was in charge.

Israel would do the same.

Amos reminds them in these chapters who their rule-maker is. No matter how successful Israel’s military pursuits had been, no matter how prosperous they had become, God still sat on His throne, and “the God of Armies is his name” (Amos 3:13).

I often grow comfortable in my position as God’s child, adopted by the blood of Christ. But this does not set me above the rules; this sets me directly beneath the authority of Jesus, the King of kings. It is now His rule that I follow and not my own.

Let’s praise the God of Armies today. He is the one “who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth” (Amos 4:13).

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  • I’m so glad that the inenetrt allows free info like this!

  • Erin Niedergall

    Although there are always consequences to our sin, there is always forgiveness and no condemnation. Thank you, O Precious Savior!

  • Niesje Maccini

    My feisty spirit was convicted!

  • Wonderful prayer that is spot on of how I am feeling. Thank you.

  • Jesus,

    How often I am like Israel, sin, repent and sin again. How often I grow comfortable in my Christianity and in salvation , especially in this world and in the sway of so many things, the tendency to be easily distracted. Lord I realize that I am the one that needs to turn to you and continually turn to you and repeatedly turn to you, especially now. Especially since my heart has grown weary in areas of my life, especially since I’ve become discouraged at what I see around me and at what I’ve experienced internally. Jesus I turn to you, and I ask for your restoration, I ask for you to heal my broken heart and I ask for forgiveness. Put simply, I repent for being like Israel, for being so caught up on myself and “my wants and needs”. Help me to switch my focus back on you, and turn towards you. Lord I pray that you help me to forgive myself, and to release bitterness, guilt and shame. I thank you Lord that you are who you are. Help me to remember always that you are the authority I must live under.

    In Jesus Name
    Amen

    • Ally

      Kendra,
      This entry is so spot on and completely encapsulates my feelings on this passage as well. We are in this together as women and children following Christ. Thank you for sharing!

    • Lindsey Perez

      Such a beautiful prayer. I can relate as well.

    • DebbieinAZ

      AMEN! I am praying right along with you. Your prayer is a perfect reflection of my heart this morning. Thanks and be blessed.

    • Kristena

      So beautifully said

    • Karen From Virginia

      Amen

    • Kylee

      Thank you, Kendra, for my Monday prayer Mantra. This is so beautiful!

  • I honestly get so weary of reading about Israel’s rejection of the Lord, of their sin, and the sin and crimes of all the Kingdoms around them, much like I’m weary of the troubles in this world. I check out of news and all thing current events cause I just can’t deal. It makes me want to run straight to all things lovely. It is the same way when I am challenged to daily to examine my sin through these readings. It occurred to me that I cannot even address my own sin without the help of the Lord. I’m so fleshly that I just want to run away from my own self. I love what Paul said in Romans – that “there is a remnant chosen by grace”. I must remind myself to face my sin head on, but with no condemnation, and rest in the truth of this grace. God knows I am a sinner, he’s not surprised or disgusted. He’s worked it out – all through Jesus. Lord, help me remember – that you hold my hand as we walk through scary stuff. Help me to not run away. I’m confessing my weakness and declaring the power of the Lord, the God of Armies!

  • Amen!!

  • Diane Huntsman

    I say this with caution and with no arrogance that it seems God is allowing, not delivering, but allowing tragedy to befall globally in nonstop proportions.. as Americans I think many of us have let success go to our heads, many of us make our own rules for living, suppressing truth and refusing to come under the reign of the one true God.. I believe He wants to get our attentions by allowing these back to back calamities.. but not just for the arrogant unbeliever, for the believer as well.. the believer as our writer wrote she was “too comfortable in her Christianity” we might need to stop pointing our fingers at all the sinners disobeying God and take a look at our own Christianity.. are we truly walking in the footsteps of Jesus? Loving all people, praying for the lost, humbly sharing truth, truly caring for those that are hurting, loving our own even when they mistreat us… it’s easy to point at this world and blame all the heathen for the current upheaval in our land, but I want to look at me and I want to face all my deficits and recognize where I’ve gotten lax and comfortable and become a misrepresentation of Jesus… I think the unbeliever and the believer alike need to hit their knees in repentance.. I need to be in the front row prostrating myself before the God of the universe asking for His mercy and forgiveness.. just an honest look at where we are is what needs to take place globally.. help us all Lord to return to You, humbly seeking Your heart and asking forgiveness that You night hear our prayers and heal our land.

    • churchmouse

      These prophecies we have been reading here in SRT were given to the Israelites. They were the object of God’s discipline before He turned to the foreign nations . His chosen people were judged first and then God turned His righteous judgment on the heathens surrounding them. This reminds me that I as a Christian must first confess and repent of my sin, my culpability. My sin is a personal affront to God by me – one who actually knows Him. The body of Christ has a culpability and then the unbelievers. I must clean up my own house first.

    • Gema Muniz

      Amen! I have given a lot of thought to everything that is going on in our nation and I feel the same way you do. People have forgotten how to love one another. Is our time to step up church! Lets pray for those in need , let us extend our hands to those in need, and show the world what it looks like to love others. Hate can only be conquered with love. The darkest can only be conquered with light. Let’s be the salt and the light of this world brothers and sisters. God bless you all.

    • Lexi

      Amen, amen, amen!

  • Praying now, Christina D.

  • Christina D.

    Oh SRT friends, this is so unrelated but will you pray for me? I am almost 11 weeks pregnant and have come down with some kind of stomach virus. Something similar happened when I was pregnant with my daughter and I ended up in the hospital for a few days. This pregnancy has been so difficult so far. Extreme nausea, depression, and this illness just feels like it’s taking the life from me. Please pray that this will pass quickly and that the Lord will sustain me (and keep the rest of my family free from whatever it is!). Thank you so much ladies. Thankful for this community I can rely on for prayers when I’m so weak.

    • Kara

      Praying for health for you and your baby!

    • Stacy

      Praying for you today. May Jesus hold you close.

    • Diane Huntsman

      I’m so sorry! Miserable being sick and pregnant! Praying for you now!

    • churchmouse

      Adding my prayers for a quick recovery and protection for the rest of your family

    • Mari

      Of course Christina that’s what we’re here for praying for you that you will heal quickly.

    • Christina D.

      Thank you so much for your prayers. I think the worst is over and have been able to eat and drink and get out of bed a bit. I am humbled by your prayers and truly felt them lifting me up. I wish I had a better way to convey my gratitude to you wonderful women.

  • churchmouse

    I thought about just throwing my hands up in the air. Reading these minor prophets recounting Israel’s sins presents a truly hopeless situation. They would never get it right. They would never fully keep the Law. The cycle of sin was set on repeat. It’s enough to just make you give up and quit! Except… There’s this endless pursuit by God. His endless love for His rebellious children. His faithful discipling of them though they perceive it as punishment. God refuses to give up on them. And in light of their cycle of sin, that is amazing. And very good news for me. There is hope even when, especially when I don’t get it right, when I don’t follow Him as I should. He always pursues, extends grace and forgives. Because He knows what it’s like to be me. He became fully human. He gets me. And He loves me still. So.. I read these minor prophets with a profound gratitude for Jesus. Reading these minor prophets is so worth my time… Because I keep seeing Jesus.

  • ouwemedimo

    How great is our God!! How merciful He is! His wrath is uncovered only after so much dishonor, let us not forget. As believers, we have the tendency to be so quick to hurt others who disobey or hurt us and are so unskilled at looking at our I wn faults. We get to a place where we no longer see the things we should not do, because of how much he forgives us. Ladies, let’s not take His grace for granted. He is an amazing father, slow to wrath. Let our actions not bring you to this place of judgment

    • Maria Peters

      I agree. The importance of repentance has been on my heart lately. The timing of the message of today’s reading was timely in my own life. How often do I feel above the law because I am saved by grace? How easy is it for me to get comfortable in my own life instead of living for Him? How hard is it to move outside of myself to see the needy? Thank you for affirming the stirrings of my heart this morning.

  • I read the Bible chronologically last year and the prophets almost made me quit. Unrelenting doom – bad news every day. But I got a sense of two things: 1) That God really, really wants faithless people to turn to Him, and 2) That sin is so corrupting that we just can’t be righteous over any decent period of time. Thanks be to God for the marvelous gift of Jesus, who is our high priest who knows how feeble humans are and who enables us to seek and attain forgiveness. For that matter, he even allows us to seek repentance bc some days I don’t even want to repent! May this trip back through the prophets encourage me of the faithfulness of my God and give me courage to keep repenting, turning back, living, repenting, etc, knowing he is not annoyed with me but instead is delighted with each return. And as I get older and perhaps wiser, may I get a little closer to his standard. Just baby steps, but perhaps not the same sins over and over like the Israelites did.

  • Raise your hand if these minor prophet scriptures have baffled you for years and you generally avoid them? Yet, are now so thankful for SRT for making them understandle and using them to reach you! So thankful! Thanks ladies! Great stuff so far!

  • PursuedByHim

    “I often grow comfortable in my position as God’s child, adopted by the blood of Christ. But this does not set me above the rules; this sets me directly beneath the authority of Jesus, the King of kings. It is now His rule that I follow and not my own.”

    I pray I will follow His rule rather than my own, because I already know how often I follow my own…all the time. Anytime I say something I shouldn’t, every time the Spirit tells me to say something and I don’t, every time I do some thing I shouldn’t (let’s start with eating too many sweets), every time I don’t do some thing that I should have (go tho see a neighbor but I am too tired). All of these disappoint my loving God, and our of His love for me He will let me know and/or punish me for it (i.e. weight gain for the sweet tooth) so that I will learn, yet again, what He’s trying to teach me to do or not do.

    However, He always loves me and persists in trying to get me on the right path and keep me there…or get me back on the right path.

    Thank you Father, for loving me, all of us, enough to continually try to get us where you want us to be.

  • Alison MacFarland

    God has blessed me so much. I’m so grateful for my life and for my country that I call home (Canada). Thank you lord for your endless blessings. As today marks Canadian thanksgiving, my list of gratitudes are endless. Everyday day that I wake up healthy is a miracle. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU

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