I have found great blessing applying what I have learned through our series on prayer. My prayers seem to have new focus and direction. They are less focused on me and my family, although I still pray about our needs. They are becoming more focused on the bigger picture that Paul has taught me. Still, I must confess, it takes much discipline to pray like this!
Today we start a new series in a book of the Old Testament – Amos. It certainly is very different to what we have been studying and concentrating our thoughts on over the past year or so. I must confess that as I preach on Amos I do so with much fear and trepidation for the subject matter is tough and hard hitting. It is certainly a message that is not popular for today. After all, it is on the topic of judgement and justice and it hits at the heart of sin. In Amos we witness the Sovereign Lord God dealing with rebellious nations as well as a complacent and self-indulgent Jewish nation. Amos is a timely warning for us all. If we are to understand the prophecies of Amos, then we will need to be ready for it. We will need to lower our guard of pride and realize the perilous times in which we now live. We will need to take an honest look at the issues of life that take most of our time and interest. We must ask the question: are these consistent with the teaching of God’s word? The first six prophesies to the nations surrounding Judah and Israel may not be applicable to us. The charges laid against these nations are largely because of the brutality they perpetrated on others. God has a long memory and will punish those most severely for crimes against humanity.
As we take a close look at the charges laid against Judah and Israel however, we will see that there is some similarities to where we are at in our own history. Amos was a simple shepherd. Funny how the Sovereign Lord uses the humble shepherd to deliver His tough messages. Amos has a powerful message for us today. We often seek the wrong things, forgetting the One who is the only source of true life. Amos challenges us to think again.