A Call to Repentance
Open Your Bible
Amos 4:1-13, Hosea 6:1-3, Hosea 10:12, Hebrews 12:1-14
BY Liv Dooley
A call is meant to get our attention, but in order to understand how to answer the call, we must be able to discern the tone in which it was given.
Anyone who remembers being a child knows that a call on the playground while playing hide-and-seek only encouraged you to continue hiding in joyful suspense until the one who called you finally caught you. However, if you tried that with your parents once their stern voices started counting down, you would quickly realize that the consequences were quite different.
God’s call to repentance is no different from that of our parents, but the Israelites continued to treat it as if it were an inconsequential game of hide-and-seek.
The call to repentance God sent through the prophet Amos in chapter 4 demonstrates the power of relationship and the problem the Israelites had. The Israelites weren’t able to sense how to respond to God’s call because they had grown insensitive to His compassion. This chapter details the great lengths God had gone to in order to capture His people’s attention so that they could recognize their ways and turn back to Him, and it continues to show how necessary His discipline is.
Unfortunately, the Israelites treated God’s call of correction like it was the comedic amusement a child might find on a playground. So their consequences intensified.
Hosea 6:1–3 describes a circumstance where in their distress, the Israelites finally began to call on the Lord. But their cries were motivated by self-preservation instead of the sorrow the situation demanded and the sanctification the Lord required. The only appropriate response the Israelites could provide would be to cultivate righteousness and seek the Lord until He chose to send righteousness upon them like rain (Hosea 10:12). And God did—in His Son, Jesus. But not before He disciplined them. Why? Because the Lord disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Contrary to popular opinion, this discipline is compassionate because it is cultivated in love.
Prophecy is relational. We will sense the appropriate response to our Father’s call to repentance when we grow sensitive to His Spirit. Our great God is compassionate enough to require us to pursue righteousness so that we can enjoy being in relationship with Him. And when righteousness feels too hard to attain, we can remember that Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, already fulfilled it all.
40 thoughts on "A Call to Repentance"
@AMY EB: amen to what you said. I needed to hear that!
The verses in Hebrews made me think again about how I was interpreting God’s actions toward the Israelites. I was thinking about it as punishment – a bad consequence for bad behavior. But discipline to me implies more intention to teach and correct than punishment does. God wasn’t just punishing them, he was disciplining them. And not just disciplining them, but trying to save them. Before Christ, the covenant between God and his people was not based on grace and their sins were not yet forgiven. If they didn’t turn back to him, they were destined to be separated from him forever. God’s actions may seem severe but he was doing everything he could to bring them back to him and save them.
Thank you Beverly Berrus for such a sharp devotional. I love it, the sharp truths in this devotional is exposing and cutting through a lot of sentimental “almost-truths”/lies in nowadays society. I love this question she asked, “Are we pursuing good, establishing justice, and rejecting evil as God’s people?”. May God’s grace help us to say yes to all of the above, and when we slip and go astray, redirect us back to paths of righteousness. As children of Truth, don’t we have a responsibility to speak truth at the risk of suffering ridicule and offending the world? Let truth be spoken in love. This verse also caught my attention on when to speak, “the prudent shall keep silence in that time, for it is an evil time (Amos 5:13). Among the midst of many hidden and lurking injustice in modern society, I pray that righteousness rains down like a mighty stream, from the heart of the merciful God, who came down to pursue sinners, to enter in a new covenant of love, into a life-long commitment of being changed into the very image of the Most High, into renewing the mind/heart/spirit through being born again, walking in the flesh yet possessing the Spirit of the Most High on earth, proclaiming that Heaven’s kingdom comes and God’s will be done. What a beautiful plan of hope and expected end that the Lord has for us.
@CEE GEE: thank you for diving deeper into “Wormwood”. That caught my attention too. I used to read a short book called The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis, where an uncle named Screwtape wrote funny letters to his nephew named Wormwood, and I wonder where Wormwood came from. Bitterness it is!
@LISA CHAPEK: amen that sin happens first in the mind. Thanks for pointing this out. That’s why the act of catching/guarding our thoughts/casting down imaginations (even though seems vague), but is detrimental.
Wishing you all a lovely and restful weekend.
Be blessed dear sisters.
Amen Hope SPOT ON
@Michelle Patire praying for you and your sibling situation. I have been there with my one and only sibling so I understand your defeat and frustration. I don’t know what the answer in this case is what helped me was just praying for me to be the best version of myself for her because I couldn’t change what or how she did things. Praying it gets easier for you.
Heavenly Father, Consuming Fire, thank you for your discipline in love. I pray that I quickly recognize it’s you, repent from it and return to you. Thank you for the opportunity to share in your holiness. In Jesus Name, Amen.
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