Archive for May 18th, 2017

I do not think it is unfair to say that today’s passage can come across as somewhat damning. Amos’ message from God is not dissimilar to so many others of the years prior to Israel’s collapse at the hands of the Assyrian and Babylonian empires – Israel was not serving or representing God; they were worshipping idols and living in sin; they were greedy, corrupt and shrewd; and if they weren’t prepared work it out their land would fall. In short, things weren’t great.

However, the language used is interesting, as it gives us an insight to God’s perspective, which in turn gives us a perspective of sin that is less often thought of in the Old Testament. It is very easy to assume, from the various accusations against Israel, that God was angry at Israel; He says that He hates their show and pretence (v.21), and refuses to listen to their worship (v.23). Whilst this is almost certainly true, it is not the only emotion that God expresses.

At the very beginning of chapter 5, the passage is described as God’s funeral song. A song at a funeral is not angry; it does not sing of bitterness to criticise the deceased, nor express bitterness at their having died. It is a song borne of love, one that sings of grief, and of longing, and when we read this passage with that attitude it becomes a much more affirming read.

God despairs that Israel has fallen, longing to be the one to reach down and help them off the ground (v.2). As I was writing this I was reminded of the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11). When she was put in front of the crowd, Jesus knelt down in the dust with her and started writing in the sand (John 9:6). It was for this reason that God came to earth in Jesus – to be the one to lift Israel (and, by extension, us) out of the dust, and give them hope for new life and a fresh start.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Is there something you need a fresh start with today?

Father God, thank You for stepping into the dirt with us. Please give me a new heart and a new beginning today, and help me to be a good representative of Your love.

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