Thursday, August 30, 2012

As Time Gets Shorter The Roaring Gets Louder

And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither.

Amos 1:2

After doing a long study and a series entitled, The Lion Roars, on the book of Amos, I was still drawn back to this book again during my personal devotions.  Immediately I was drawn to this verse.  There are three things that need noticing.  First, it is the Lord who is roaring from Jerusalem.  Next, He is addressing the land from North to South.  Finally, the land is mourning.  Let's briefly take a look at each and see if this might just apply to us today as well.

So why is it important to see that the LORD was shouting out to the people from Zion/Jerusalem?  Simply put, this was the place where the temple was and where the established seat of government was.  The problem was that the people of Israel were looking to Dan, Samaria, and Bethel for leadership and guidance rather than the one place God authorized.  They were seeking God in places easy for them to reach, but places where God did not wish for them to go.  The LORD was roaring from Jerusalem to remind an erring people that there was but one place to look--the throne God, Himself, establish and the temple that He allowed to be built in that one place.  It was/is Zion that represents the throne of Christ as the Priest and King.  It is Zion where He paid your debt of sin.  Look to the cross of Zion for salvation!
This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.
Acts 4:11-12

The Lord's shout was heard from North to South.   Amos was a sheepherder.  Volumes could be written on the word he used to described his job as he purposefully did not use the standard word for shepherd.  The word roughly translates to a "sheep raiser".  It was a job that ensured the flock was the best it could be and that the flock was without without spot or blemish.  It was the job of a common man.  This working man was called on by God to deliver his message about coming judgment, but he too suffers as he saw the drought brought on the land.  The pasture lands were said to be mourning.  Amos was from the pasture region of Tekoa which was about 12 miles south of Jerusalem.  Mt. Carmel was/is a lush region to the north of Isreal, but it too had dried up.  The whole land was agonizing from the roar of the LORD.  Everyone was suffering, including the prophet.  I wonder if he began to seek God with all of his heart to find out what was going on and in the process God called him?

Yes, the land was mourning.  So what?  Does land mourn?  Shouldn't the shepherds have been mourning?  Why were the people not mourning and crying out to God?  It does not say that the priests mourned, so it seems no one was seeking God at all.  This probably goes back to the first note, they all were too captivated with the idols of Dan and Bethel.  God roars through a crisis to get people's attention.  Maybe they were taking the easy worship route without the sacrifice of agonizing, repentant prayer?  They should have cried out to him, but their refusal to mourn, weep, cry, and repent only exacerbated an already bad situation.  Now God will make them mourn so that they will turn.  Sadly, few turned and within just a few decades the people of ten tribes were scattered worldwide until their regathering this century--a key sign that we are in the last days of the church age.  We need to read and heed!  We need to hear God's roar and take action!

The LORD is roaring worldwide!  Heaven is shouting that it alone has the right to rule and set the only parameters for truth.  That truth is Christ.  The offended God, offended by our sin, set the only available means to reach Him through the sacrifice of Christ the Son on Calvary's cross.  Sadly, men today wish to do things their way and ignore God.  As God allowed a 7.7 to 8.2 earthquake and a drought to strike Israel as warnings in Amos' day, God is doing the same today.  Fish and animals are mysteriously dying worldwide.  Earthquakes are intensifying. I read today that there have been 7,163 quakes in just the past 30 days.  Droughts are plaguing countries globally while cutting the amount of available food.  Middle Eastern countries could start the next war over the supply of water not oil.  What is not hit by drought is being destroyed by floods.  The wars and rumors of war are only more intense. Hurricane Isaac was a sure sign that God will not put up with rebellion as this storm affected the city where a wicked event was about to start exactly seven years after Katrina--which also hit the wicked event and shut it down.  Yes, God is roaring loud and He is not happy with those who will not turn to Christ.  His grace has limits, and the limit has just about been reached.

Where are the "shepherds" and "sheep" crying for the harvest.  The fields are rotting and mourning, and there is no one tending them.  Is it not time to share the word of hope and salvation that is inherent in the gospel of an old rugged cross?  What was the first message the Son of God preached?  It is one that seems lost to a church that is too busy with Dan and Bethel to notice.  Here is Christ's first message, 
From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 4:12)."  Don't be one of those who is looking to a man or a ministry for direction--seek God.  Don't look to worldly government to better your life--look to Christ.  Dan and Bethel are in ash heaps as this whole world will one day be.  Those who are Christ's, however, will  live forever!  Please do it quickly.  God's roaring will only get louder as a warning to all that time is short and Jesus Christ is Soon2Come!

Please Take Action!
Petition Calling for the Immediate Release and Safekeeping of Rimsha Misrak « Persecution of Christians & Persecuted Churches

Other Posts on Amos
Jesus Christ--Soon2Come: When the LION Roars
Jesus Christ--Soon2Come: The Lion Warns
Jesus Christ--Soon2Come: Understanding the Lion's Warnings

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Can You Take It? No More Warning

Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Hosea 4:4-6

What a conundrum!  Israel is ever nearer to the destruction that is about to be brought on them by the Assyrians.  Yet, they cannot see that this judgment is from the LORD for their sin.  Rather than hear, they argue about whether it is sinful in the first place--sound familiar?  They will not hear the message that they are erring from God, so they are destroyed for lack of knowledge.  God would love for them to have the knowledge of truth that leads to repentance, but rather than heed the word, they argue and fuss with those sent to warn them.  This is the message of the verses above.  Israel will not understand their undone condition before God.  The LORD commands that they are no longer challenged to repent because they will only debate with those who are sent (v.4).  Then we are told that this lack of knowledge, willfully ignored knowledge of what it will take to have a right relationship with GOD, leads to their destruction.  Hosea was the last prophet sent to Israel.  Soon their rejection of truth and inability to take a rebuke led to their demise.  Yes, what a conundrum!

The Spirit of the LORD will not always strive with man (see Genesis 6:3).  His word is clear enough on what is right and wrong, but when sin reigns and God is rejected in a society, out come the "experts" who wish to philosophize over what God's word "really says".  Just the other day I was reading a news article about a church that was using some fairly worldly means to draw numbers into the church.  The word was clear--their actions were an affront to God's holiness and a mockery of the sacrifice of Christ.  One person dared say that the actions of this congregation were wrong.  Out came the experts.  There were comments like, "It doesn't ever take too long for the Pharisees to show up."  "You are not our judge--God is!" "Take your old-fashioned ideas elsewhere."  This is exactly the message that is shared above.  When people will not hear the truth of the word and those anointed to share it, GOD quits warning and allows them to go along in their delusion.  He has to because they willfully reject His counsel. That is a scary place to be.

Let me say again that we need to understand what sin is so that we can take it to the cross and seek forgiveness and cleansing.  Think of the message of this verse. "If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8)."  Or what about this verse?  "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us ( 1 John 1:10)."   Sandwiched in between is the often quoted verse 1 John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."  Just reason with me a minute.  How can you confess if you argue with God about his valid claim that it is wrong?  You can't!

Hosea warned!  He was their last chance.  Hear God as He is shouting to turn to Him before it is too late.  Hear those who lovingly rebuke, reprove, and exhort even as they are commanded by scripture.  Hear Jesus as He calmly knocks on the door of your heart awaiting the permission to enter.  Don't delay when He corrects.  After all, He is Soon2Come!

I highly suggest this page:  Easy-Believism: Another False Gospel | Amos 3:7