[Originally posted by pastorbarney on 26 November 2015]
Today’ s readings are Amos 4 and 1 Cor. 10:1-22.
This is the conclusion of the matter, “This is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12).
Question, “How did it come to this?”
Answer, as a result of indulgence, a self-focused life style and living in a world that is all about me.
Let me explain. The well fed cattle mentioned in Amos 4 were considered the best breed in ancient times and especially in the area surrounding Canaan. “Cows of Bashan” was a harsh but fitting symbol for Israel’s wealthy, pampered, self indulgent women who maintained their lifestyles while exploiting others, especially the poor.
Amos even called them to have more “sinful worship” at their illegitimate places of worship (vs. 4-5). Yes, he is being sarcastic and putting them down. He went further by stating in vs 6-11 that God himself brought a series of covenant curses upon the people because they and never truly met him in worship. Again and again he says, “yet you have not returned to me.” This was all going to result in the reality that they would soon meet their God!
Makes you think. Makes you think about our world today. What practices are we involved that are also self indulgent? How do we reach out to the poor? What does genuine worship look like in 2015?
Next time you gather with your brother and sisters, ask yourself the question, “how do I walk into church?”
In 2015, just like in Israel’s day, God is still looking for people who seek an encounter with him. To gather with a sense of his presence, an appreciation of his holiness, a sense of awe and heart of thanks and a willing spirit to praise his name. Remember all that we do, can also become just as repeated and mundane as those who have gone before us.
May we all walk in humble submission before our God. Genuine worship engages us in a living relationship with God based on his own revelations through his word which good deeds will always flow out of. Finally, ask yourself today, “have you returned to God?”
Blessings, Ian Barnett.