Amos 5:6-7, 10-11a, 12-15 - Seek the LORD and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth! ... They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them ... For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins—you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the LORD, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
I wrote this devotion just days after the assault on the Capitol in Washington, D.C. We had been warned of more violence at state capitols across the country, including one five minutes away from where my son is studying. I got on the phone to warn him to stay on campus and avoid going anywhere or getting into political discussions. And the verse from today's reading came up: "Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time."
This is not a safe time to be alive. It's a time when friends and neighbors are at odds, and where people you would normally consider trustworthy turn out to be the exact opposite. Say the wrong thing to the wrong person, and who knows what could happen? There is too much evil out there. I want him to keep his head down, to go unnoticed. I want him to keep silent—at least for now.
And yet I can't help noticing that Jesus did exactly the opposite. He, too, lived in an evil, dangerous time—a man of a conquered people, subject to kings and rulers who had few limits on their powers. He grew up among neighbors who tried to throw Him over a cliff as an adult. And He carried out His adult ministry with His betrayer at His elbow, waiting for a chance to hand Him over to death.
Why didn't Jesus stay silent? The times were surely evil enough.
We know the answer. He did it for us.
Jesus came as the Word of God, speaking into our darkness, giving us life and light. He meant to be seen and heard—noticed by as many people as possible, in the hopes that some would believe in Him and be saved. Jesus could not stay silent, because He loved us. When He began to preach and teach, He knew that death would follow. He accepted that for our sakes—because His life, death, and resurrection would be our salvation.
I'm glad Jesus didn't stay silent. If He had, He might have saved Himself. But He would never have saved us. And for Him, that was the most important thing—because He loves us.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You that You spoke up, took the consequences, and saved us to be Your people. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. When do you tend to stay silent?
2. What particular words of Jesus do you cling to when your life is troubled?
3. Why do you think Scripture calls Jesus "the Word of God"?
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