‘The Lord roars.’ ‘The Lord thunders’ (Amos 1:2).
We thank You, Lord, that Your Word comes to us from above – ‘The Lord will roar from on high.’ You speak to us from heaven – ‘He will thunder from His holy dwelling.’ We dare not ignore Your Word. Your Word comes to us as a Word of warning – ‘He will shout against all who live on the earth’ – and a Word of judgment – ‘He will bring judgment on all mankind.’ You’re calling for our attention: ‘Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth.’ You’re speaking to us about Your ‘fierce anger.’ You’re calling us to turn from our sin. Help us, Lord, to return to You and hear Your Word of salvation: ‘I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 25:30-32,37; 31:34).
‘You only have I chosen… therefore I will punish you for all your sins’ (Amos 3:2).
Along with the privilege of being ‘chosen’ to belong to You, Lord comes the responsibility of living as Your servants. Teach us not to take Your Word lightly – ‘The lion has roared – who will not fear?’ (Amos 3:8). You speak to us very directly about the way we are living – ‘You have not returned to Me’ (Amos 4:6,8-11). Help us to take You seriously: ‘Prepare to meet your God’ (Amos 4:12). You’re calling us to ‘seek You and live’: ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon’ (Amos 5:4; Isaiah 55:6-7).
‘Seek the Lord and live’. ‘Seek good, not evil…’ (Amos 5:6,14).
Those who truly seek You, Lord, are to live a godly life. You see right through hypocritical religion. You are not pleased with it: ‘I hate your show and pretence – your hypocrisy of ‘honouring’ Me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies… Away with your hymns of praise – they are mere noise to My ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is’ (Amos 5:21,23). You’re looking for true obedience: ‘a mighty flood of justice – a torrent of doing good’ – ‘Let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (Amos 5:24). You speak to us, Lord, about our sins – ‘Many and great are your sins. I know them so well’ – so that we might learn to ‘hate evil’ and ‘love good’ (Amos 5:5:12,15).
‘That’s enough, prophet! Go back to Judah and do your preaching there… Don’t prophesy here at Bethel any more’ (Amos 7:12-13).
We thank You, Lord, that Amos was a faithful preacher of Your Word. How sad, sinful and shameful it was that his hearers wanted to get rid of him! This was the beginning of a time of great darkness: ‘The days are coming when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it’ (Amos 8:11-12). There were dark times ahead – but You, Lord, were looking beyond them to a brighter future: ‘I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel’ (Amos 9:14). ‘Restore us again, O God of our salvation…’ (Psalm 85:4-7).
‘The Kingdom will be the Lord’s’ (Obadiah 21).
When, Lord, Your Kingdom comes, there will be both salvation – ‘The house of Jacob will possess its inheritance’ – and judgment – ‘There will be no survivors from the house of Esau’ (Obadiah 17-18). ‘Not by works but by Him who calls’ – This is the great contrast between ‘Jacob’ and ‘Esau’. We thank You that we have not been saved ‘because of any good deeds that we have done.’ We have been saved ‘by grace’. We can never be saved ‘by works.’ We can never receive Your grace ‘by works.’ Teach us, Lord, to receive Your grace ‘by faith.’ May we look away from ourselves to You, and say, ‘He saved us.’ ‘It is by grace that you have been saved through faith… not by works, so that no-one can boast’ (Romans 9:10-13, 30-32; 11:6; Titus 3:4-7; Ephesians 2:8-9).
‘Salvation comes from the Lord’ (Jonah 2:9).
We can never save ourselves. We can only be saved – by You, Lord. Left to our own devices, we ‘flee from Your presence.’ We ‘run away from You’ (Jonah 1:3). Sin – This is the story of our life. Salvation – This is the story of what You have done for us. We are sinners. We need to be saved. How can our life be turned around? How can we turn from the way of sin and seek the way of salvation? We cannot change ourselves. We need to be changed by You, Lord. We cannot forgive our own sins. We need to be forgiven by You. Where does the desire for forgiveness and change come from? Does it come from ourselves? No! It comes from You, Lord: ‘He drew me, and I followed on…’ (Mission Praise, 499).
The people of Nineveh ‘believed God’ and ‘turned from their evil ways.’ You, Lord, had shown Yourself to be ‘a gracious and compassionate God…’ How did Jonah react? Was he rejoicing in You? No! He was complaining – ‘Jonah was greatly displeased and became angry.’ Jonah was a proud Jew. He despised the Ninevites. He didn’t want them to be saved. That’s why he was ‘so quick to flee to Tarshish’ (Jonah 3:5,10; Jonah 4:1-2). What does Your Word say about Jonah’s attitude? – ‘You have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else.’ Teach us never to ‘show contempt for the riches of His kindness.’ May we never say, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men.’ May we always pray, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner’ (Romans 2:1,4; Luke 18:11-14).
We thank You, Lord, that Micah was a fearless preacher of Your Word. His message was not popular: ‘Let the Lord God be a witness against you.’ He was a forthright preacher of Your Word. He knew that the people wouldn’t want to hear what he had to say to them. He demanded that they listen to him. This wasn’t only Micah’s word. It was Your Word, Lord. That’s why Micah said, ‘Hear, O peoples, all of you. Listen, O earth and all who are in it’ (Micah 2:2). Teach us, Lord, that we cannot afford to ignore Your Word. Help us to listen to Your Word. You speak Your Word against us. You say to us, ‘You cannot save yourselves’ (Micah 2:3). You speak Your Word against us so that we might learn to rejoice in Your Word of salvation: ‘I will bring you together like sheep returning to the fold’ (Micah 2:12).
We thank You, Lord, for the words that Micah speaks to those ‘who hate good and love evil’ (Micah 3:2). He calls upon them to change their way of living. He calls upon them to worship You – ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord’ – and walk with You – ‘We will walk in the Name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.’ How do we learn to ‘walk in Your paths’? We come to Your ‘House’. We listen to Your ‘Word’. We pray that Your Word will come to us ‘with power.’ We ask You to ‘teach us Your ways.’ We pray that we will be ‘filled with the Spirit of the Lord’ (Micah 4:2,5; 3:8). We worship You, Lord. Gathered in Your House for worship, we ‘receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on us.’ Through Your power, we are equipped for witness: ‘you will be My witnesses…’ (Acts 1:8).
We thank You, Lord, for Micah’s words of prophecy concerning the birth of Jesus at ‘Bethlehem’ (Micah 5:2). This prophecy invites us to ‘go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ At ‘Bethlehem’, we see ‘shepherds, glorifying and praising God’ (Luke 2:15,20). We thank You that Jesus, Your Son, is, also, Jesus, our Shepherd. He is the One whom the shepherds worshipped. He is the One who ‘will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord…’. He is ‘the Good Shepherd’. He ‘laid down His life’ for us. He is ‘the Great Shepherd’. He ‘was raised from the dead’ for us. He is ‘the Chief Shepherd’. He will ‘come’ again for us (5:4; John 10:14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 5:4). We thank You, Lord, that Jesus our ‘Shepherd’ gives us ‘strength’ to ‘do justice, love kindness and walk humbly with our God’ (Micah 6:8).
‘Who is a God like You? You forgive sin… You love to be merciful. You will again have compassion on us… You will throw all our sins into the depths of the ocean!… You will bless us… You will set Your love upon us…’ (Micah 7:18-20).
When, Lord, we read these great words, we think of Jesus, our great Saviour – ‘I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene and wonder how He could love me, a sinner, condemned, unclean. He took my sins and my sorrows. He made them His very own. He bore the burden to Calvary, and suffered and died alone. When with the ransomed in glory His face I at last shall see, ‘twill be my joy through the ages to sing of His love for me. How marvellous, how wonderful, and my song shall ever be: How marvellous, how wonderful is my Saviour’s love for me!’ (Mission Praise, 296).
Keep on praying for our troubled world. Keep on thanking the Lord for his answers to prayer.
God bless you all.
4 thoughts on “In our own homes – Let us return to the Lord and hear His Word of salvation.”
Reblogged this on Daily Devotional Readings.
Thank you for a wonderful time spent with you and the Lord. The hymns bought refreshment to my soul
Thanks, Whispering Leaves, for your words of appreciation and encouragement. God bless you.
Thanks to all of you who liked this post. God bless you all.