When a child is headed for the outlet with fork in his hand, we shout stop, “Don’t do it, that will hurt you!” But they look at you with stubborn, determined eyes, turn around and do it anyway. With quickened hands, the deed is done. The hurtful, shocking burn is felt by the perpetrator. You are hurt by watching them get hurt. Maybe the lights go out from the electric shock, tripping the safety switch. Now the deed has affected more that the one who did it. Dangerous deeds like this one sometimes leads to death—all because of doing something that would hurt them just to see what would happen or to just be in control. So, how’s that working for us?
God is telling his people that what they are doing is definitely not right. God is detailed in his descriptions of what “living only for today while grabbing all you can for yourself” looks like and where it will lead. He tells them of the hurt, pain and agony that will follow their actions. What they are doing hurts themselves and all those around them. But His people have turned their face away from Him, with that same stubborn look in their eyes that a toddler gets when disobeying their parents. Do we do that?
God says, “It’s time to wake up!” Look around, get off your arrogant pedestal of pride! “You are headed for disaster!”
Amos 6, The Message
Those Who Live Only for Today
1-2 Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion,
who think Mount Samaria is the good life.
You assume you’re at the top of the heap,
voted the number-one best place to live.
Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal.
Take a look at Calneh.
Go and visit Great Hamath.
Look in on Gath of the Philistines.
Doesn’t that take you off your high horse?
Compared to them, you’re not much, are you?
3-6 Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster!
Catastrophe is just around the corner!
Woe to those who live in luxury
and expect everyone else to serve them!
Woe to those who live only for today,
indifferent to the fate of others!
Woe to the playboys, the playgirls,
who think life is a party held just for them!
Woe to those addicted to feeling good—life without pain!
those obsessed with looking good—life without wrinkles!
They could not care less
about their country going to ruin.
7 But here’s what’s really coming:
a forced march into exile.
They’ll leave the country whining,
a rag-tag bunch of good-for-nothings.
You’ve Made a Shambles of Justice
8 God, the Master, has sworn, and solemnly stands by his Word.
The God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks:
“I hate the arrogance of Jacob.
I have nothing but contempt for his forts.
I’m about to hand over the city
and everyone in it.”
9-10 Ten men are in a house, all dead. A relative comes and gets the bodies to prepare them for a decent burial. He discovers a survivor huddled in a closet and asks, “Are there any more?” The answer: “Not a soul. But hush! God must not be mentioned in this desecrated place.”
11 Note well: God issues the orders.
He’ll knock large houses to smithereens.
He’ll smash little houses to bits.
12-13 Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks?
Do you plow the sea with oxen?
You’d cripple the horses
and drown the oxen.
And yet you’ve made a shambles of justice,
a bloated corpse of righteousness,
Bragging of your trivial pursuits,
beating up on the weak and crowing, “Look what I’ve done!”
14 “Enjoy it while you can, you Israelites.
I’ve got a pagan army on the move against you”
—this is your God speaking, God-of-the-Angel-Armies—
“And they’ll make hash of you,
from one end of the country to the other.”
WHAT DO WE LEARN—HOW DO WE RESPOND?
No one likes to be confronted with resulting discipline. But it is we who have made discipline a “bad word”. Discipline is a time of learning, growing and discovering that God cares enough, to come close to us, bringing us back to Him if we allow our hearts on the inside to be changed. Coming closer to the Teacher who loves us most for compassion words of course corrections, along with His power and wisdom that will save our lives forever, is a great thing.
We shouldn’t turn our backs on discipline for it is a time when we are closest to God!
We change our lives by changing our hearts! I know we do not like being disciplined. Yet, it is often through this discomfort of being awakened and confronted that we return to the right path. (Recalculating, rerouting…)
Let’s make our lives easier. How? Repent of our sins before God must bring discipline. If we are being disciplined, correct the wrong and the attitude quickly. And know this about God…He immediately forgives AND forgets! You won’t be reminded of your past sins but encouraged to live life to the full with Him again!
Stop looking for love in all the wrong places. The shock and awe for a moment does not compare with a love that last forever!
How many times do head for the “outlets” of danger and you beckon us back to your protection? Too many for me personally to count! Thank you for your discipline that transforms my thinking and resulting behaviors. I’m not there yet, I have not arrived, but you are always there to teach me and put me back on the right path. Thank you, Lord! I ask for your wisdom, insight and understanding that goes so far beyond human reasoning, so that I might know you more and live for you by Your Spirit living in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen