Amos 5:1-3, 16-17
If you were in a position of great authority, and were presented the opportunity to save a life, by use of extreme punishment, or to refrain from executing discipline, so that the convicted could continue on a path to their eventual demise, which would you choose? It’s never a good feeling when bringing discipline upon others, because it hurts to see them suffer, especially when they could have chosen a better direction. Judges and jurors are met with this challenge on a daily basis. It’s not easy to condemn someone to punishment, because most people have a heart, but when your hand is forced to put someone away, because of their consistent unlawful behavior, there’s no choice left, except judgment. Parents also experience these feelings quite often, when they are forced to discipline their unruly children. It matters not how cute and precious those little rascals can be, when daddy and mommy lay down the law, those little ones are expected to obey. But, when they consistently refuse to adhere to the standard, parents are forced to execute plan “pow pow”.
The God of all creation has had His own share of similar instances, when the children of Israel forced His hand to bring judgment upon them, through their continual disobedience. God loved the nation of Israel unconditionally, and had amazing blessings in store for them, but they found more pleasure in their hypocrisy, than in remaining steadfast in His will.
Our text presents prophecy of future lamentations Israel will face, because they had fallen so far away from God’s standard, until there was “none to raise her up” (vs. 2b). After reminding the people of their blatant sins, God offered them one last chance to change their ways. In verses 14 and 15, God said, “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph”. After all the hypocrisy, sinning, and wicked things Israel were undoubtedly guilty of, God gave them another opportunity to clean up their ways. Are you generous and compassionate to others, when they wrong, or offend you? Do you give second, third, fourth, and fifth chances, so others can eventually get themselves together, and have time to ask your forgiveness? Or, do you bring down the hammer, the moment someone comes at you in an unacceptable manner?
God’s mercy is everlasting, and the truth of His Word, will endure through every generation, but there will come a time when those second, third, and tenth chances will be taken away, and God’s hand will be forced to bring judgment down on all who remain in sin, and refuse to correct the error of their ways.
Walk in love,