Chosen for a Purpose
Lord God, You are holy and ever to be worshiped. Glorious is Your name and power.
Consider: "For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight" (Eph. 1:4). What a challenging purpose for our life!
The problem with believing you are special is that you might assume you deserve special privileges. That seems to be what Israel thought. Since they were God's chosen people, God should punish their enemies but treat their failures with indulgence. Amos declared that they were wrong. Being special meant special responsibilities, and failure meant punishment, not indulgence (1-2). The same is true for Christians. "You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit," said Jesus (John 15:16, NIV), using the imagery of a vine. Branches that fail to bear fruit face being pruned--a painful experience (John 15:2,6).
No doubt Amos's hearers asked what right he had to say such things to them. He uses clever rhetorical questions to make his point. Five times he asks questions that put the effect before the cause (3-5), each drawing from the crowd the answer "No" and establishing that effects have causes.
Then he asks a question that puts cause before effect and demands the answer "Yes" (6a). When he comes to his climactic question, which puts effect before cause again (6b), the crowd can only agree that if disaster comes it is caused by the Lord. Amos then appeals to a belief about prophecy that they would accept (7) and declares that since God has spoken to him, he must proclaim his uncomfortable message (8).
To support his condemnation he calls on the Philistines and Egyptians to come and see what is going on in Israel. Instead of communal harmony there is "great unrest" (9) because of oppression. The powerful are exploiting others to amass wealth. Even those who do not know God's Law can condemn Israel by their limited sense of right and wrong. How humiliating for God's people! They are ready for pruning (11-15).
"From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded" (Luke 12:48). Ask God what he wants from you.
Lord Jesus, You are the vine and I am the branch. As painful as it can be, do Your pruning work on me. I want to be faithful to You.
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