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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Daily Devotion for August 19, 2014

<i>Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel and Daniel</i>, frieze in the Boston Public Library by John Singer Sargent ca. 1895
Amos, Nahum, Ezekiel and Daniel, frieze in the Boston Public Library by John Singer Sargent ca. 1895.



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Lord's Prayer

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.


Pay attention to the video accompanying this wonderful song. It's clever and quite funny in places. Notice the painting of Elijah in the fiery chariot, while they sing, “Why walk when you can fly.”

Prayer for the Morning

Holy Father, who watches over your children by night and by day; blessed Jesus, my food and my strength; sweet Holy Spirit, the light and guide of my soul; I thank you for this new day and pray that you will watch over me. May my thoughts, my words and actions reflect the Spirit that dwells within me. And may every minute of my life celebrate the gift of grace, earned by the blood of Christ, in whose name I pray.


Dwell with Me

Alone with none but thee, my God,
I journey on my way.
What need I fear, when thou art near O king of night and day?
More safe am I within thy hand
Than if a host did round me stand.
So dwell in me, I pray to thee, 'til breath shall pass away.



[Being alone with God.]


Oh God Almighty, send me Your light and truth, to keep this day and all the days of my life. And may Your mighty hand protect me, and all my brothers and sisters who have joined me in prayer this day, blessing our homes and our lives.


Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.

<i>At Eternity’s Gate</i>, Vincent van Gogh, ca. 1890.
At Eternity’s Gate, Vincent van Gogh, ca. 1890. “In my painting At Eternity’s Gate, I have tried to express what seems to me one of the strongest proofs of the existence of God and eternity — There is something precious, something noble, which cannot be destined for the worms.” (See full-size.)


Amos belonged to that circle of prophets who received a commission to prophesy the ruin which was impending over the Covenant-people, before any human probability existed for it.

~ Ernst Hengstenberg (ca. 1840)

Blue Latin Cross

Amos 2:6-8; Amos 4:1-2, 12 (ESV)

For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because 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;
a man and his father go in to the same girl,
so that my holy name is profaned;

They lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge,
and in the house of their God they drink
the wine of those who have been fined.

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
who are on the mountain of Samaria,
who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’

The Lord God has sworn by his holiness
that, behold, the days are coming upon you,
when they shall take you away with hooks,
even the last of you with fishhooks.

Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

Notes on the Scripture

Israel after Solomon (17): Amos

Amos is the oldest of the prophetic books in the Bible.

Nothing is known about Amos except what we read in the Bible book that bears his name. He was an agricultural worker, uneducated and undistinguished, who herded cattle and sheep and dressed sycamore trees. Like David or Simon Peter, God simply plucked him out of obscure day labor and filled him with the Spirit, to become his spokesman.

He is the first of the group of prophets to come, who will voice God's anger and warn the Hebrews of the wrath that will result if they do not reform. This early group of written prophets were a “final warning” from God. They had abandoned His covenant for centuries and He would punish them with destruction.

Amos’ prophecy came at a time of prosperity, a temporary high point in Israel's fortunes under Jeroboam II in 750 B.C., characterized by luxurious excesses of the rich combined with lack of godliness. It's difficult to understand, today, just how radical his message was, for the ruling class was accustomed to deference, not invective.

Amos' denunciation of wrongdoing is scorching. He begins (in Chapter 1) by predicting dire futures for the nations surrounding Palestine, Israel's enemies; one can imagine the Hebrews saying, “This guy is great,” because he was prophesying such a terrible future for the enemies of Israel and Judah.

But then, he turns his attention to Judah, and finally to Israel, and one sees that the prophesies against Damascus (Babylon), Edom, et al., were just a warm-up. Even Judah only gets a few verses: It is the Kingdom of Israel that he truly excoriates, at length and with the most dire predictions, slanderous name-calling, and florid imagery possible.

He catalogs all sorts of common sins against the law of Moses. We see a small sample in today's Scripture. Abuse of the poor and helpless by the rich and powerful is especially emphasized. For example, people sleeping beside alters on “garments taken in pledge” violates a specific law. A person who lent money, which was secured by the borrower's cloak, was required to return the cloak to him at night. The poor slept out in the open, and a cloak might be a person’s only protection against the elements. (Deuteronomy 24:12-13)

He compares rich women on the mountain of Samaria — the nice neighborhood in the capital city — to cows. He depicts them ordering their husbands to bring them wine — which has been stolen from people paying fines — having a party while the poor sleep in the cold and starve; and predicts for them the colorful and gruesome fate of being dragged away with fishhooks.

endless knot

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Memory Verse

2 Corinthians 12:9: Your grace is sufficient for me, for Your power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

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