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The only way left

Scripture Union http://www.wordlive.org

Text: Prepare

Hebrews 12:7 talks about embracing God's discipline; Romans 5:1-5 talks about suffering growing our characters. How is God growing and challenging you at the moment?

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Bible passage: Bible passage: Amos 9:1-10

 

Israel to Be Destroyed

9 I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and he said:"Strike the tops of the pillars

    so that the thresholds shake.

Bring them down on the heads(A)  of all the people;

    those who are left I will kill with the sword.

Not one will get away,

    none will escape.(B)

2  Though they dig down to the depths below,(C)

    from there my hand will take them.

Though they climb up to the heavens above,(D)

    from there I will bring them down.(E)

3  Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,(F)

    there I will hunt them down and seize them.(G) Though they hide from my eyes at the bottom of the sea,(H)

    there I will command the serpent(I)  to bite them.(J)

4  Though they are driven into exile by their enemies,

    there I will command the sword(K)  to slay them."I will keep my eye on them

    for harm(L)  and not for good.(M) "(N)  5  The Lord, the Lord Almighty- he touches the earth and it melts,(O)

    and all who live in it mourn;

the whole land rises like the Nile,

    then sinks like the river of Egypt;(P)

6  he builds his lofty palace[a] (Q)  in the heavens

    and sets its foundation[b]  on the earth; he calls for the waters of the sea

    and pours them out over the face of the land-

    the Lord is his name.(R)  7  "Are not you Israelites

    the same to me as the Cushites[c] ?"(S) declares the Lord.

"Did I not bring Israel up from Egypt,

    the Philistines(T)  from Caphtor[d] (U)

    and the Arameans from Kir?(V)  8  "Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord

    are on the sinful kingdom.

I will destroy(W)  it

    from the face of the earth.

Yet I will not totally destroy

    the descendants of Jacob,"

declares the Lord.(X)

9  "For I will give the command,

    and I will shake the people of Israel

    among all the nations

as grain(Y)  is shaken in a sieve,(Z)

    and not a pebble will reach the ground.(AA)

10  All the sinners among my people

    will die by the sword,(AB)

all those who say,

    'Disaster will not overtake or meet us.'(AC)

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Text: Explore the Bible

 

Glory of the Lord

The glory of the Lord God Almighty is revealed in many ways: in the beauty, provision and wisdom of creation (v 6), in his loving kindness and patience, in his faithfulness to his covenant, and in his many deliverances of his people (v 7). Here God's glory and holiness are to be revealed in judgement (v 5). 

Such has been his people's proud contempt for the Lord, for his Law, for the poor and the vulnerable, and for God's holiness itself, there is no way back. They have refused all previous overtures (4:6-12; 7:10-17). Judgement is the only holy response, the only way left for God to be faithful to the covenant that has been so utterly broken by his people.  

No escape 

Judgement will begin with their corrupt and idolatrous Temple (v 1) - the very heart of the corruption of the nation - and will spread out from there. There is no escape to be had (vs 2-4).  

They have rejected all the escape routes God had previously given them. God's love is inexhaustible, but his judgement is implacable. It is only God's mercy and loving kindness that ever stay his hand (Romans 11:22-24). 

 

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Text: Respond

 

When we spend so much time reading about judgement, we can forget what a difference Jesus makes. Read Romans 8:31-39 and thank God that in Jesus we no longer stand condemned. 

Mike Archer

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Text: Deeper Bible study

'Prepare to meet your God,' said Amos (Amos 4:12). The meeting might be anticipated with pleasure or fear, depending on your relationship with God. We have seen that the Israelites anticipated it with pleasure. They were God's chosen people, upholding the covenant with lavish, exuberant and enjoyable (to them) worship. God must be blessing them because the nation was prospering materially (except for the poor). When they met God he would destroy their enemies and reward them. Amos turned that expectation upside down. Far from keeping the covenant, they had flouted it. They were now God's enemies and ripe for destruction. Meeting their God meant destruction. This final judgement oracle sums it all up. It expands on the threat to the sanctuaries and nation in 7:9. There judgement is declared inevitable. Now it is declared inescapable. There is no place to hide and escape from the Lord, who is Creator of the cosmos.  The Lord is not just God of Israel. He is sovereign over the history of all nations, whether it be the Cushites living on the edge of Israel's known world or their traditional enemies, the Philistines and Arameans. In that sense the Exodus did not make Israel special. They could not complacently rely on that historical event. What mattered was the covenant relationship to which it led. They had twisted its meaning and violated it. God was not an indulgent national protector to be kept sweet by lavish worship, but the almighty Creator and Lord of history who had graciously delivered them from slavery and given them his laws to live by. As his chosen people they were especially morally accountable to him (Amos 3:1,2).  There is a glimmer of hope. Destruction of the nation need not mean total destruction. Disaster would be a sieving process. A remnant covenant people of God might survive it.  Ernest Lucas

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Text: Bible in a year

Read the Bible in a year. Today's readings are:

 

Isaiah 37,38

 

Hebrews 4

 

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Text: Most merciful judge

We are told that 'it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God' (Hebrews 10:31, ESV), and descriptions of judgement sound horrific. Are we afraid of God? It is true that we should hold him in awe and treat him with respect, but we also need to remember that 'perfect love casts out fear' (1 John 4:18, ESV).

 

A judgement will be made over us all when Jesus returns. However, our guilt has already been declared and our punishment endured - by Jesus (see 2 Corinthians 5:15,21). So there is no fear for us in judgement.

 

Our attitude is so often different to that of God. We can find it almost impossible to forgive ourselves and we tend to project this on to God. However, we can be assured about the extent of his forgiveness following true repentance:

 

'For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us' (Psalms 103:11,12).

 

Hold onto this promise and let God's mercy flow over you.

 

Sarah Bingham

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