Focal Passage: Amos 4:1-13
In the 1929 Rose Bowl, the California Golden Bears squared off against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets and provided one of the most famous plays in college football history. In the second quarter, California player Roy Riegels recovered a fumble, but instead of advancing it, he got confused and began running backwards toward the opposite end zone. California barely lost and this mistake would prove the winning margin in the game.
Our direction determines our consequences. Many times believers make the mistake of thinking they can run in the wrong direction for a bit without adverse consequences. They justify that since they are not yet too close, they are fine. But in truth, the direction in which we are pointed tells the story of where we will end up.
Amos is a collection of sermons and poems and visions that express God’s judgment to the people. Like many of the prophetic books, warnings jump off the pages at a fast pace! Much injustice and neglect of the poor had been spreading and Amos sensed God’s call on his life to send the warning!
Good stewardship is a seriously biblical imperative. Chapter four highlights something specific: wealthy women. Their lifestyles have gone beyond living above their means. They care only about themselves and are oppressing the poor and vulnerable! God has strong words! I’m grateful we can enjoy God’s gift of creation and ordinary graces that even go beyond our providing for basic needs.
Your list might be different from mine, but you could come up with a list of comforts, hobbies and entertainment to enjoy. And I believe God delights when we enjoy them rightly and share them with others. But it’s easy to elevate the gifts above the giver.
I’ve heard it said that “when good things become god things, they become bad things.” The question of stewardship is not how much of my money should I give to God … but how much of God’s money should I keep for myself! It’s easy to choose comforts over our primary calling as Christians. But we do it so often.
God still seeks His people. It’s not natural for us to think that God would send what some call “covenant curses” out of love, but this is what God does. We have a God so committed to His covenant with us that He would go to the fullest measure to bring them back if it woke them out of their spiritual slumber! And because of Israel’s disobedience, he sent various disasters. Five times God sent a curse that consisted of famine, drought, blight and mildew, locusts, plagues, military defeat and acts of supernatural judgment (Amos 4:6-11). Each time, they would still not repent of their sin and turn back to Him.
When we turn to the pages of the New Testament, we see a man who obeyed perfectly. He sought after the sick, the poor, the vulnerable, the downcast and the oppressed. Though we too were disobedient, he shielded us from eternal judgment and took the blow Himself! But He was no ordinary man. He was God in the flesh who took our place in death, and rose victorious so we would know Amos 4:13 with a redemptive lens! He is God and He has won! B&R