Monday, October 3, 2011

shock & awe

And he said: "The LORD roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers."
Amos 1:2

The first chapter of the book of Amos is all about the judgments pronounced against the nations around Israel and Judah. It might lead God's people to conclude that they were safe from God's actions against sin. The list starts with Damascus, the nation just north of Israel. It works its away geographically around the map, ending with Edom and Moab which are just south of Jewish territory. But that did not mean that God's people were free from answering to God. Really, the prophecies of Amos are like homing missiles. Or like artillery shells finding their range, they hone in on Israel. They find their target among God's people.

The effect of God's pronouncements against these nations is to instill the Jews with a sense of awe. The powerful prophecies go off like bombs in the capitals of the nations around them, eventually settling in with equally harsh judgments in the cities of Israel and Judah. God is getting the attention of His people by reminding them of His authority over all the nations. Then He gets to the issues with His people, Israel.

Part of the reason the prophets should still be read today is to instill us with the same sense of awe. God is powerful in His sovereign control over the world of humanity. And that control still extends into our lives at all levels. We should live with an awe-filled respect of His way and His judgments. We often sing of His love and His grace, but are we really worshipping God when we fail to sing of His judgments?

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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