Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sobering Message of Warning

In Amos 3, we are made privy to a very strong and stern warning of impending judgment on the chosen people of God. Not only are we made aware of this coming judgment we are told by God in a most point blank and matter of fact manner why the chosen people of God are being judged. “Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt: ‘You only have I know of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1 ESV) It was no surprise to read of the judgment on the nations that surrounded Israel. More than likely the Israelites shook their heads in agreement or made the normal signs and sounds for utter approval. I can hear them now, ‘yes, give it to them, or it’s about time, or finally, they had it coming for a long time.’ Oh, but how would the mood change and how quickly when Amos began what we know as chapter three and verse one? When you read verse one you get the idea that they are being punished because they are God’s chosen people. Listen, “You only have I chosen... therefore I will punish you...” It seems that being chosen by God gives a higher level of both expectation and obligation for holiness. It appears that because God has selected them as His own people and because of His dealings with them they would be judged more severely for their sin than even those pagan nations around them. This makes me think of my own election. I have been chosen by God, in Christ, prior to the creation of what we know as this universe. God has dealt with me graciously and mercifully. He has as we all know and are more than aware of, given me what I don’t deserve – a full pardon and inheritance in Christ and has not given to me what I do deserve – eternal separation and painful punishment. The lesson for me is that being one of the elect, one of God’s chosen (Eph 1:3-14), I have a greater responsibility and obligation concerning my election. I must forsake the sins of my youth, I must seek holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and I must expect God to chastise me, even severely, for failing in my obligation. I realize that though I have been delivered from both the penalty and power of sin, I have not yet been delivered from the presence of sin.
Therefore, sin I will. Thank God he has provided a remedy; I may confess my sin seeking full pardon, forgiveness, and release. Thank God I may confess my sin and forsake it and stave off the chastisement of God. So, what do I learn from this? What do I “journal” as my application? What do I wish to pass on to you today? I am glad you asked, for there are three things I have learned: --God’s people, whether they be Israel or the elect of this age can not sin without chastisement
--God’s people have a higher standard of expectation and obligation to holiness than is expected from those who do not know him. -- God’s people must live up to their responsibility of holiness and righteousness. Does this remind you of Jesus’ words in Luke 12:48? “...everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.” (ESV)
What do you think?

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