Amos 5:18-24 - Woe to you who desire the Day of the LORD! Why would you have the Day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the Day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? "I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer Me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."
This is a really weird passage. Apparently in Amos' day there were people talking about how much they wanted the Day of the Lord to come—what we would refer to as Judgment Day, the end of the world, the day of God's final overwhelming victory. They looked forward to that day because of all the prophecies surrounding it—Israel's enemies would be destroyed; there would be no more war; there would be plenty of food and drink for all God's people; God would wipe away every tear from their eyes. What's not to like?
But Amos saw what they were not paying attention to—that the Day of the Lord comes with judgment. And what will happen to those who think themselves safe but who have not examined their own lives? As Amos says, "They sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals—those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted; ... and in the house of their God they drink the wine of those who have been fined" (Amos 2:6b-7a, 8b).
And Jesus described it this way: "I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me. ... Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me" (Matthew 25:42-43, 45b).
These are strong words of judgment. What can we do? None of us has lived perfectly. All of us can recall some case where we did not behave like children of God—some time when we showed hate, not love; fear, not trust; did harm, not good; or ignored the plight of the people God sent to us for care. How can we be saved?
Only through Jesus Christ, our merciful Savior. He is the One who saw us when we were hungry and thirsty and poor and sick and lonely and downtrodden—enemies of God, slaves to sin—and He did not turn away from us. Because of His great love, and not for anything we had done, He came down to us. He became one of us, a man born of a woman, a man who would serve and suffer and die on a cross, all to set us free from the power of evil. And then He rose from the dead, breaking the power of death over us, and bringing us into the life and freedom of the children of God.
Jesus looked on us, and He had compassion on us. Let us do likewise for those who suffer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, live through me and use me to bless those who suffer and are in need. In Your Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Name one specific thing Jesus has set you free from.
2. Can you think of a person who needs Jesus' love shown through you?
3. What could you do to help this person in need?
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