Daily Thought for: 8th April
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
Amos 4. 10-13
Amos was originally a humble shepherd of Tekoa, a small town of Judah, but his prophetic ministry was mostly to Israel. God’s repeated requests to that nation had been ignored, so now, through Amos, He issued His final warning. The five-fold repetition of the Lord’s accusation, ‘yet have ye not returned unto me’, Amos 4. 6, 8, 9,10, 11, was quite justified, because in spite of all their calamities experienced so far, lack of bread and water, spoiled crops, defeat in battle, no-one had thought that this might be a warning from God, portending further and more severe judgement. They had even experienced the narrowest of escapes, when they were ‘as a firebrand plucked out of the burning’, v. 11, cf. Zech. 3. 2, but still no national repentance was forthcoming. Therefore, they were told to prepare for something far worse than they had ever experienced before - to meet their God. What an awful thought, a personal encounter with ‘The Lord, The God of hosts’, v. 13, in judgement; cf. Heb. 10. 31!
The divine title, ‘The Lord, The God of hosts’, is found just seven times in the Old Testament, five times in Amos and the occurrence we are now dealing with is the first. This is a most powerful description of the majesty of the Lord, the God of the armies of the mighty angelic beings.
The only way of avoiding this inevitable preparation to meet God in judgement was to prepare one’s heart in repentance. In his day Samuel told the people to ‘put away the strange gods and Ashtaroth from among you, and prepare your hearts unto the Lord, and serve him only: and he will deliver you’, 1 Sam. 7. 3. Jehoshaphat was told ‘[thou] hast prepared thine heart to seek God’, 2 Chron. 19. 3; cf. 2. Chron. 30. 19, Ezra 7. 10. On the other hand, Rehoboam ‘did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord’, 2 Chron. 12. 14; cf. 2 Chron. 20. 33.
We have to meet the Son of God at His judgement seat, Rom. 14. 10; 2 Cor. 5. 10, not with a view to punishment but for reward. It is either reward given with the ‘well done’, or else it is reward withheld. Our present preparation for this meeting should be a reappraisal of our lives in the light of scripture.