Yesterday we saw that the cross of Christ should be central to the life of a believer; everything passes through it, big or small, just like the main train station of a European city (if you didn’t read yesterday’s devotional, you can do here).
Today Amos continues his detail of the guilt and punishment of Israel, both of which are made worse due to the fact that they were God’s chosen people, they only had the Lord known of all the families of the earth.
Often when we read of the judgement of God against sin we think,
‘Well, didn’t they see it coming?
Didn’t they have a chance to repent?
That’s a bit harsh, isn’t it, just judging them without any warning…’.
Well, if we look at what Amos is saying, we see this is not the case;
7 “For the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared; who will not fear?
The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”
So people have had time and opportunity to turn back to God, He has spoken to His people through His prophets, the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.
In vv.9-10 we see nations gathered to witness what is going to happen, told to us in v.11,
Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
“An adversary shall surround the land and bring down your defenses from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered.”
So, because the wonderful ways that God had worked amongst them were not being held as central to the lives of these people, because they were oppressing others (v.10), and because they have had ample warning to turn and repent (vv.7-8), now there will be judgement (v.11). This did actually happen, David Guzik writes,
“This was fulfilled in the Assyrian invasion of Israel, less than 30 years after Amos made this prophecy. For ten years, Israel was a subject state in the Assyrian Empire.”
The point is this; the Exodus was supposed to be central to Israel as a time when they had seen God’s miraculous, marvellous, merciful abilities in action, but they had drifted away into living lives dictated by the flesh.
For us, the cross of Christ should be central and should we drift away into living lives governed by the flesh, how much worse will the judgement be for those of us who reject the ultimate sacrifice made by God Himself, if those who rejected His saving powers all those years ago were taken away into slavery?
Surely, then, all the more reason to keep the cross of Christ, the finished work accomplished there, the resurrection and ascension that followed, the promise of His coming again…all the more reason to keep the cross of Christ central to our lives.