by Ruth Olsen
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I will restore the fortunes of my people (Amos 9:14a).
Have you ever considered that the Lord gets frustrated with his people? And with you and me when we blithely go our own way, not listening to his Spirit’s nudges and promptings and not taking his word to heart and acting on it?
In Amos 4:6–11, we hear a recurring theme: ‘“yet you have not returned to me,” declares the Lord’. Then again in Amos 5: ‘Seek me and live’ (verse 4), ‘Seek the Lord and live’ (verse 6), ‘Seek good, not evil, that you may live’ (verse 14), ‘Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts’ (verse 15), ‘I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies’ (verse 21), ‘but let justice roll on like a river’ (verse 24); ‘you have [done your own thing]. Therefore I will send you into exile’ (verses 26,27).
As one continues through the book of Amos, one can hear the Lord’s heart of yearning for his people Israel. Amos interceded for the people, and the Lord relented (7:1–6). Yet injustice and complacency continued, and so the Lord lifted his hand of protection from over Israel, and destruction was allowed in. But not completely, ‘in that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins’ (9:11), followed by the verses of our reading.
What do you hear the Spirit whisper to you through Amos? Do you hear the Lord’s longing to draw you into a closer personal relationship with him? He generously desires for any who trust him to plant and prosper, for the new wine of joy, gladness and fruitfulness to overflow. His blessing is not to be hoarded but passed on to others so that they can receive his patient love, compassion, encouragement and strengthening through us, his people.
Lord, increase in us your Spirit of wisdom and give us a revelation that we may grow in knowing you and trusting you [Ephesians 1:17]. In your mercy, forgive our unbelief. Soften our hearts and enable us to notice and follow through on your Spirit’s nudges and promptings so that Jesus may give glory to the Father through us also. Amen.