OK, here's the plan (if God is willing):

1) Every day will be a new devotional. I have enough devotionals for every day for three years

2) Also as I can, I'll be posting on my new political blog (see bottom of page).

Some other housecleaning:

A) If you'd like to just get new postings sent to your email, just submit your address in the box on the left just below. There's just one possible downside, though. Occasionally I'll add a music video at the end that's relevant to the devotional, and you won't get them in the email sent to you. If I add a video though, I'll make sure to mention in the posting, so you'll know to come to the site to see it if you'd like.

B) I actually finished writing new blog posting for the TAWG at the end of 2016. So what I'm doing now is at the beginning of every month, I'll move the earliest month from 3 years ago ahead so that a "new" posting appears every day. That's why you won't find any postings for January 2014, for example.

C) When I started this Blog, I was using the 1984 edition of the NIV, and that’s what I linked to on the Biblegateway site. However, in 2011 Zondervan updated its edition and thus reworded a lot of the NIV translation. Therefore, all the links which went to the 1984 edition now redirect to the 2011 edition, which often has slightly different wording. Thus, part of my editing process has been to update my Scripture quotes in my postings. But I might have missed some, in which case you might see my quote in the posting as a little different from what comes up when you click on my citation link, since that redirects to the 2011 edition on the Biblegateway site. It's a good thing that we realize that the work of translation never ends, but it can be a kind of a pain on a site like this. If you see any difference in verbiage between my quote and what shows up as a link on the Biblegateway site, or if you hover over a link and it has "NIV1984" at the end of it, please notify me and I'll correct it.

D) I can't believe I have to say this, but here goes. At the end of every posting is a suggested short prayer that has to do with what we discussed. This is actually what I've prayed when I finished writing it. In no way am I asking you to pray the exact verbiage of my suggested prayer. It's just a springboard for your own prayer, nothing more. Quite frankly, I've never been a fan of praying rote prayers written by someone else. As with everything else I do here, to the degree it helps, great; to the degree it doesn't, chunk it.

As always, thank you so much for reading, even if it's to read one post. God bless.

[May 12]—Israel, Part Two

Amos 2:9-16

            I can just imagine the first audience of Amos’s sermon. They’re cheering as he condemns their enemies and predicts their destruction. But then he starts talking about Israel, pointing the finger at their sin. They hear vss. 6-8, then say “Whew, that’s pretty harsh! Well, I’m glad we’re done with that!” And Amos’s response to this might be “DONE?! I haven’t even started yet! I’m about to make a short-term career out of raking you guys over the coals!”
            I think today’s passage highlights a theme that’s repeated over and over and over in the Bible, especially in the Old Testament. Yes, the Israelites were sinning horribly. But there was a root to all this, an attitude that lay at the heart of their conduct. In a word: Ingratitude. As he’s done before and after in Scripture, the Lord recounts for them what he’s done for them, listing three great acts of redemption/blessing.
            First, he brought them out of Egypt. He sent the ten plagues, taking care that they didn’t harm his people. The world has not seen anything like this since: Incredible miracles which showed anyone with eyes that the Lord of the universe was behind all this. Most of the time he works mostly behind the scenes, but not here. And it was to redeem them out of land of slavery.
            Second, he led them for 40 years in the desert wilderness. He provided them food, water, protection from the heat by day and a light at night. Neither their clothing nor their sandals wore out. And please keep in mind—The only reason they spent 40 years in the desert instead of a few months was because of their screw-up.  
            And third he provided them an incredible blessing in the form of people. The Nazirites were people that he called to a period of asceticism: They were forbidden to drink any product of grapes, to cut their hair, and to touch dead bodies. In other words, they were a benefit to the people because the Nazirites provided a good example of whole-hearted devotion to the Lord. And of course he sent the prophets, his mouths to speak to his people, to warn the wicked of coming judgment and to comfort those who needed it.
Let me take a moment point something out about this. Have you noticed that the prophets tend to be repeating what Moses told them, or allude to his writings? That was their main job, remember? Their main purpose was not to predict the future like a lady in a carnival with a crystal ball. It was to bring them back to the lessons they'd been shirking. If the people had actually been obeying the Torah, there would’ve been little or no need for prophets.
            And what was their response as noted in today’s passage? They offered Nazirites wine to drink, which would destroy what they were attempting to accomplish. Apparently the people didn’t like other people making them look bad, so they tried to corrupt these called-out men to turn their backs on what God wanted them to do.
            And they ordered the prophets to shut up. The Lord sent his ambassadors in order to try to make peace, and they treated them with contempt at best, threats and violence at worst.
            On some of these studies, I have to search a bit for application. I don’t visit religious prostitutes, I don’t haul poor people into court and bribe judges, and I certainly haven’t been ripping open pregnant women, at least not so far. But today’s passage is pretty obvious to me, painfully so. Here are the questions I think the Spirit is asking me:
            First, do I show proper gratitude for what my Savior’s done for me? As wonderful as the Old Testament saints had it, my blessings make theirs look like a soggy sandwich. I need to reflect more often on what he saved me from, what he’s been doing lately, and what I have to look forward to.
            Second, I need to recognize the ones God has sent to provide me a good example. I ought to be grateful for them, and I certainly don’t need to bring them down to my level. Instead, I need to--with God’s help--reach up to theirs.
            And finally, how do I respond to rebukes from the Word? Do I tune out God’s prophetic word to me? Or worse, do I respond with hostility to those whom he’s sent to bring me back into line?

Ow!!! That really stings, Father! Please continue the work of your Spirit’s sword, cutting and healing. And may I never never never NEVER be the cause of someone backsliding in their walk with you. 

No comments:

Post a Comment