Do God’s people really need reminding to return to Him? Yes. Apparently they do as we see in Amos chapter 4.
The opening verse is used five times in this chapter and every instance He is talking to the children of God, Israel, God’s chosen people.
If we are not careful to watch and pray to stay close to God, we will stray or drift away just as Israel did.
Let’s take a look at the offenses God’s children committed that are recorded for our benefit.
- They oppressed the poor
- They crush the needy
- They got drunk
- They bring sacrifices every morning and tithes every three years
- They offer thanksgiving sacrifices with leaven
- They proclaim and announce their freewill offerings
The Hebrew word for “oppress” is “asaq” meaning to press upon, for example to defraud, violate or overflow. Further definition includes get deceitfully, deceive, defraud, drink up, oppress, use oppression, oppressor, do violence, an do wrong.
The Hebrew word for “crush” is “rasas” meaning to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively, break, bruise, crush, discourage, oppress, and struggle together.
God cares for the poor and needy. In what ways do we find ourselves oppressing or crushing the poor? Remember, to not think about the poor is just as bad. God wants us to care for the poor and needy. Deuteronomy 15:11 says “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”
How often do we drink our problems away? Proverbs 31:5 tells us drinking makes us forget the law and pervert justice for all the afflicted.
What about sacrifices? How often do we ask forgiveness from God? God would rather we obey Him from the beginning than continue asking forgiveness. 1 Samuel 15:21-23 says “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”
What about the good we do? Are we quick to brag about it? Proverbs 20:6 says most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? Psalm 5:5 says the boastful shall not stand in Your sight, you hate all workers of iniquity.
As we read God’s Word and study how the people responded, we can learn much about our self. With God’s Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth, we can know how to take an accurate assessment of our self. Once we recognize sin in our life, we confess it to God and knowing Jesus’ work on the cross has already forgiven our sin, we can ask for His power to avoid the same sin in the future. God is faithful an just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But we have to be willing to turn to Him. Are you?
Father, thank you for your Word, your Spirit, your desire to do what is pleasing to you. Thank you for so many second chances. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.
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