Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people of Israel come! Go to Calneh and look at it; go from there to great Hamath, and then go down to Gath in Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms? Is their land larger than yours? You put off the evil day and bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile; your feasting and lounging will end.
A Warning—do you like them or hate them?
It’s a dreadful feeling. You’re cruising down the freeway, enjoying the countryside; up one hill and down the next…and then in your rearview mirror coming down the ramp with red and blue lights flashing—a police officer! Your heart sinks as your foot hits the brakes. Your eyes scan the speedometer to see that you were 14 over. As the officer pulls in behind you and you come to a stop, you’re hoping that you’ll just get a warning.
When it comes to warnings, there are some we like and some we don’t. When the officer graciously gives a warning, we’re relieved—mainly because we won’t have to pay a fine, or worry about points on our record, or have to appear in court. Yet that warning hopefully serves its main purpose: to get us to slow down and obey the laws of the land, for our safety and the safety of others.
Through the Prophet Amos, God gave a spiritual warning to his Old Testament people. They weren’t speeding; they were actually too slow, too lethargic, too complacent, too satisfied in the status quo of their faith-life. In the warning, Amos points out that these people were more concerned about their own lives, their own comfy couches, having fine meals and tasty wine to drink. “All is well,” they thought, but nothing could have been further from the truth. They—the descendants of Joseph—were in spiritual ruin and they would be exiled. What a strong warning and call to repent!
Amos’ words of warning must not fall on deaf ears today. We must take a close look at our lives. Are we feasting on the creature comforts of this world? Are we investing in things that only rot and decay, while the preaching and teaching ministry of God’s Word struggles? If we fail to heed the warning of the way sin and selfish living permeates our lives, we’re heading for much worse than a speeding ticket or traffic court. We desperately need to hear God’s warning and call to repent.
Do you see how we can be thankful for God’s warnings? These spiritual warnings come from our God who is merciful and doesn’t want anyone to perish. He wants all to repent and live. What is more, our God gives us a promise, that whoever believes in Jesus, his Son, as their Savior from sin will not perish but will have eternal life. May we heed God’s warning this day, and trust in his Son always!
Heavenly Father, thank you for warning me about my sin and its terrible consequences. I repent of my sin and I trust in Jesus. Help me to turn from sin and follow your holy, precious Word each day. In Jesus my Savior’s name I pray. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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