Amos 6.8-14 – Can we escape?

I read a story about those escape rooms, the live action puzzles where you are locked inside a room and you need to follow clues to get out, like this one…

The story goes that a new escape room was opened and the staff left a complete walkthrough cheat-sheet in the room by mistake. It had all the details of where things were hidden, the significance of objects in the room, things to do, things not to do, and ultimately how to escape was written at the bottom. The players entered the room, found the paper, read it, but then didn’t do what was on it…and ultimately didn’t escape the room. 

Today in Amos we see something similar. God has given His people all they need to know, yet they still persist in their prideful, selfish ways (v.8). Pride is, simply, never good (1 Peter 5.5, James 4.6, Proverbs 3.34).

The people seem to think that they will be able to escape the coming judgement (a constant theme of the book), but we know that God has decreed that whether strong or weak, big or small, mighty or insignificant, all that transgresses His Word will be judged accordingly (vv.9-11). 

Amos then gives proof that no sinner has the right to think that they will escape the coming judgement of our Lord if they are not living the way they should be (vv.12-14). We can’t expect good results when we are living so contrary to the Word of God, in the same way a thoroughbred champion racehorse would not run as well on rocks, or in the same way oxen would not plow productively on those same rocks (v.12).


For us, we need to realise that no matter who we are, where we are from, we are only able to live right and only able to be in right relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus.


As Hebrews 2 tells us, we must not neglect this great and wonderful salvation, but we must live our lives based on it. The people Amos writes about knew what to do, had it all written down, but chose not to follow it and thought that it would work out well regardless.

Rather than trust in the misguided thought that, well, God is basically all good so we can do as we wish and then expect Him to bless us because He is good, and God is love, right? Rather than work to this way of thinking we need to follow the principle of Micah 6.8, and, if we do, we are more than able to escape the coming judgement.

He has told you,

O man, what is good;

and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice,

and to love kindness,

and to walk humbly with your God?

Revelation 21.1-8 – Replace don’t renew

1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.

2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,

“Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

5 And he who was seated on the throne said,

“Behold, I am making all things new.”

Also he said,

“Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

6 And he said to me,

“It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

We own a car that is pretty old and beat up, it’s done almost enough kilometres to get to the moon and it is falling apart, literally…there are pieces missing on the inside, there are pieces falling off the outside, and it usually takes two or three ‘encouragements’ to start. We have reached the point where this car is not going to sell for any real sum of money (plus, morally how can we sell a car we know is falling apart), so for now, it’s our big old tank. It’s still big and safe, and we can strap the boys in with a clear conscience. But, it will never sell, we can never renew it to be like it ever was because it is so old, so beat up, so broken (in parts) that when it drives its last KM we will need to find a new car rather than renew the old one.

This is exactly what we see here, or what John saw here and was commanded to write; it must have been pretty cool as he evidently was so overawed that he stopped writing, Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

We read of new heaven and a new earth, and the original language guides our understanding of this to mean something fresh, not a renewal of existing thing, or just the next in line. We are replacing old with new, not renovating or simply looking at the already-prepared next earth, no, this is a fresh, new thing! Bible commentator David Guzik puts it this way,

“The ancient Greek word translated new here means “new in character, ‘fresh’.” It doesn’t mean…new in time.” This isn’t just the next heaven and the next earth; this is the better heaven and better earth replacing the old.”

This new heaven and new earth are characterised by what is missing; death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”, and by what is now available; Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God…To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment…

So the first heaven and the first earth will pass away, making way for a fresh, new, better heaven and earth. If we choose self over Christ we will never experience this, shown by the list at the end of this passage in v.8, but if we choose Christ over self each and every day He tells us that we will.

Randy Alcorn puts it this way,

“Jesus Christ, the Son of God, loved us so much that he left the riches of heaven to become a man and deliver us from our sin.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3.16).”

So, decision time, are we going to experience the new heaven and new earth? Are we going to experience the special relationship of “I will be his God and he will be my son”? Are we going to experience the fresh, new, better life that Jesus died to provide?


Pause, think, and pray; is there anything in my life that needs to be replaced with the fresh, new, and better life that Jesus died to provide?

Is there anything in my life that is preventing me from having my eternal destination be as a child of God in His presence?

If there is, it is time to replace those things.

Revelation 20.7-10 – Over before it starts

When I was younger I played a lot of rugby and the team I follow, Castleford Tigers, were a bit of a yo-yo team for a few seasons. By this I mean that one year they were promoted, the next year relegated. This carried on for much of the mid-2000s and in 2007 they were cruising towards promotion as the season ended. The last game was away at Rochdale who, incidentally, had already been relegated.

So we had the league champions visiting the basement dwellers, both leaving the league next year; one via promotion and one via relegation. In rugby, unlike football (soccer), an unlikely result or upset is far less likely due to the physical nature of the game, and, as you may have guessed, the Tigers cantered to a 106-0 victory that day with my Dad and brother in attendance…can’t remember where I was. The point is, basically, the game was a foregone conclusion, over before it started as a contest.

REGULAR PATTERN ... Mark Leafa crashes over for Castleford Tigers during their record-breaking victory over Hornets at Spotland on Sunday.

Picture from the Manchester Evening News

Did that stop Rochdale turning up that day? No.

Did they approach the game with hope for a victory? Possibly.

Did the Rochdale fans still believe in their team and leaders? Yes.

Was the result ever in doubt? No.

We see the same here in Revelation 20.7-10,

7 And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. 9 And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, 10 and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

After a thousand years of a near-perfect environment, fallen mankind still rebels against God and His ways, and this is really a final demonstration of man’s rebellion and depravity. Satan is released and gathers a huge number of people (their number is like the sand of the sea), who go to surround the camp of the saints and the beloved city.

Then, it’s over before it starts, they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The fight never even gets going and the enemies of God are defeated (again), and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. Again, no annihilation, in the original language forever and ever is literal…the torment and punishment is forever and ever.

So, if we listen to the deception of the devil, the slander of Satan, we will find ourselves on a team that may well believe it is heading for victory but that in reality has no chance of victory.

This won’t be like a game of rugby; over after 80 minutes and everybody is friends and shares a meal together to chat…the consequences of being on the wrong team here are egregious and eternal.

Which team do we want to be on?

Revelation 19.19-21 – A no-go zone

When I was younger I used to walk to school. It took around 25-30 minutes, but this could be made considerably shorter by cutting through what we called a snicket, or a ginnel, or an alley, or whatever you call the narrow connecting passageway that joins two roads but is only wide enough for a person. If it was dark in the morning when I left (as it was for a few months a year), there were some snickets that I would not dare go through unless I was with my friends…peer pressure can really cut time off the walk to school…no, I’m not scared, are you, good, let’s go

Anyway, along with the snickets, there was also the possibility of garden-hopping. This involved, basically, cutting through someone’s garden to cut a big chunk off the walk. However, in my mind that was not a good thing to do, what if they came out and there I was strolling through their lovely manicured lawn? So the garden was a no-go zone, somewhere that was very real, it existed, but was out of bounds for me because I chose not to go there.

Today, we read of the ultimate no-go zone;

19 And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army.

20 And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

21 And the rest were slain by the sword that came from the mouth of him who was sitting on the horse, and all the birds were gorged with their flesh.

The Antichrist and the kings of the earth gather with their armies to make war on Jesus and the army of saints He has with Him. However, it doesn’t even get started, the beast was captured, also the false prophet. Then, the no-go zone – These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.

The Bible translates differen words as ‘hell’ (sheol, hades, tartaros, gehanna), but it is clear here that the Antichrist and the false prophet are sent to hell, the lake of fire that burns with sulphur. They are sent before the great judgement before the great white throne of 20.11-15, and they receive special treatment, so to speak, in that they are sent there before the judgement. They are joined in the next chapter by Satan, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. No annihilation, no disappearing, no “I’m dead and that’s the end of it”, that’s now how we are made.

Friends, we need to be doing everything we can to avoid this no-go zone. I once heard a wise man and good friend give a speech to around 300 young people and they asked him for his one golden piece of life advice. This is what he said, and this is where we need to begin and constantly circle back to in our earthly efforts to avoid the no-go zone that is the very real place of hell and eternal separation from God, he said;

25And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 26He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” 27And he answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

28And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Luke 10.25-28

Revelation 19.11-18 – Jesus and the fourth supper

Today, He’s back! There is no doubt that this white horse is carrying the King of kings and Lord of lords, unlike 6.1-2 which was not Jesus.

11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. 12 His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. 13 He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. 14 And the armies of heaven, arrayed in fine linen, white and pure, were following him on white horses. 15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. 16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

There is so much here that points to Jesus;

Faithful and True…His eyes are like a flame of fire, the insight Jesus has is unparalleled…

on his head are many diadems, the royalty and authority Jesus has is unprecedented…

He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God, takes you back to John’s Gospel, no?, In the beginning was the Word

From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down nations, the power of His Word is unrivaled…

We could go on and on, but the picture is clear;

this is Jesus, this is His coming again, He is back, His second coming, He is back to rule and reign.

Yesterday we talked about the four suppers we see in Scripture, you can read yesterday’s devotional here, and we said there is a fourth supper that we must avoid at all costs.

17 Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and with a loud voice he called to all the birds that fly directly overhead, “Come, gather for the great supper of God, 18 to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

Some would call this great supper of God Armageddon, but no matter how we describe it, it is going to happen. If we live in the flesh, we will die in the flesh, regardless of the station in life we hold, see;

“Come, gather for the great supper of God, to eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all men, both free and slave, both small and great.”

This fourth supper must be avoided, and to do that we must first partake of the first supper on offer, that of the salvation of Jesus (Luke 14.16-24).

So today let us take stock and evaluate

What in me is destined for the fourth supper?

What in me do I need to remove to make sure I am not present at the fourth supper, the great supper of God?

Have I truly partaken of the first supper, the salvation on offer through Jesus?

We can either be following him on white horses as part of His redeemed, or we can be at the fourth supper. Through His gracious, merciful lovingkindness, all we need to is accept the free gift on offer; our invitation to the first supper.

Revelation 18.15-20 – Sad for selfish wealth

Today, more of the same in that commercial Babylon aka worldly selfish living is being judged and more people are lamenting this.

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas,

for the great city that was clothed in fine linen,

in purple and scarlet,

adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!

17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas,

for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!

For in a single hour she has been laid waste.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,

and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”

The merchants of the non-essential luxuries are pretty sad today, to say the least, they weep and mourn aloud. They’re cut up because the luxuries they sell to the rich are never to be seen again, and because of this they lose their trade, they cease to make money from the rich.

Interestingly, in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste…how fickle and finite wealth is. My Grandmother used to say, rather morbidly, that “There are no pockets in shrouds, and you can’t take it with you.” What she means is that wealth accumulated in this life stays in this life. Wealth laid up in heaven is wealth laid up where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Jesus said that where our treasure is, so our heart is, and we see that here with the mourning and weeping of the merchants.

The shipmasters and seafaring men too are making money from transporting goods to and from money-minded places, and they too lament, Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!.

Then, the quesiton for us, should we rejoice over the judgement? For God has given judgement for you (you saints and apostles and prophets) against her.

So, should we rejoice when judgement comes, that others are being made to eat the cake of the ingredients they have been baking with, being made to lie in the bed they have made? Do we rejoice at this?

No, we shouldn’t. We should never rejoice to see others suffering.

However, we can rejoice in the righteousness of God, we should rejoice in the fact that He does what He will say He will do. That thinking extends to all the promises He has made because our God is a God of absolutes; He is absolute power, absolute knowledge, absolute wisdom, absolute love, He cannot change, He cannot lie…so when He says He will do something, He will do it. He says He will judge immorality, but He also says that there is everlasting eternal life for those who by faith believe in the name of Jesus.

What God says is true, tried, and tested…what we do with this is, through His grace and benevolence, up to us.

Revelation 18.4-8 – Remember no more

Today a warning and call for God’s people to, basically, get out of the self-indulgent, self-centered, self-aggrandizing way of life. This is not an uncommon thing for us to see in Scripture – the call to be holy and separate and different to those who are not believers in the Lord Jesus.

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,

“Come out of her, my people,

lest you take part in her sins,

lest you share in her plagues;

5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven,

and God has remembered her iniquities.

6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,

and repay her double for her deeds;

mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.

7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,

so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,

since in her heart she says,

‘I sit as a queen,

I am no widow,

and mourning I shall never see.’

8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,

death and mourning and famine,

and she will be burned up with fire;

for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

Isaiah 52.11, Jeremiah 50.8, 51.45, 2 Corinthians 6.14, and Ephesians 5.11 all call for the believer to get away from this kind of life, to turn and run from that which is immoral, that which is improper for a believer, that which is inappropriate for an adopted son or daughter of God, and that which brings about the fierce anger of a Holy, Righteous, and Just God.

The second half of v.5 is most interesting; God has remembered her iniquities.

Contrast this with Hebrews 8.12, For I will be merciful toward their iniquities, and I will remember their sins no more.”, and the difference is striking.

On the one hand we read that God will give to those in Babylon – the representation of the commercially focused, consumerist, money-loving, greedy life – what they deserve because He remembers how they have turned from His ways. But, on the other hand, for those who turn to Him He remembers their sins no more. Hebrews 8.12 talks of the new covenant believers now find themselves under, those who are lucky enough to live post-cross. The covenant is still made with God’s chosen people, the nation of Israel, but, by faith, we inherit the blessings and benefits of the covenant. God’s redemption is so sweet!

The choice seems simple, no? Turn away from God and have Him remember just how far you turned and ran…or, turn to God and have Him wipe the slate clean on account of the righteous payment of His Son and have Him remember no more.