Prepare to Meet Your God

Today’s reading:

Joel 2:28-Amos 4:13

My Selection:

“I overthrew some of you,
as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
yet you did not return to me,”
declares the Lord.

 “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
because I will do this to you,
prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”  Amos 4:11-12

Contrary to logic, people who are placed under God’s discipline and judgment do not always respond positively.  God sent a series of plagues and trials on Israel.  Did they return to the Lord?  No!  So Amos tells them to prepare to meet their God.

It is not always easy to understand if trials and difficulties we experience are God’s way of disciplining us or if they are merely the result of living in a fallen world.  It is important to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5).  Pray for the ability to respond to whatever discipline that God may send with an open heart eager to learn and grow in Him.  Israel failed to do that and suffered for it.

[For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

[Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.]

 

 

 

Hopeful but not Presumptuous

Today’s reading:

Hosea 12:1- Joel 2:27

My Selection:

I will restore to you the years
that the swarming locust has eaten,
the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,
my great army, which I sent among you.  (Joel 2:25)

This quotation from the prophet Joel exudes the greatness of God’s grace and power.  He sent an invasion of locusts on His people, but He also promised that in the end He would restore to them the losses of that devastation.   God is able to replace what we lost through the consequences of our sin.  It’s never too late to come to the Lord.  We are never beyond His power to save.

A Warning against Two Dangers

Grace and mercy should not lead us to a presumptuous attitude toward God’s commands to holiness.  We must not say, “My sin doesn’t matter.  God can restore the years that the locust has eaten.”  I recently asked the students in my Sunday school class, “which is liable to be more dangerous to your spiritual life: presumption or hopelessness?”  After some discussion, the consensus seemed to be “both are dangerous.”

Beware of hopelessness and of presumption. Both are dangerous to our walk with the Lord.

[For more reflections on today’s reading, see the corresponding reading in my book Cover to Cover: Through the Bible in 365 days].

[Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.]

 

 

The Day of the Lord

On the day of the Lord, those who know Him will worship and take refuge in Him, but those who refused Him will find Him terrifying.

Today’s reading: Joel 1-3; Revelation 4

16 The Lord roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the Lord is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel. Joel 3:16

They cast their crowns before the throne, saying,

11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created.” Revelation 4:10b, 11

Joel mentions or alludes to the “day of the Lord” repeatedly (1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:1, 14, 18). He says it is near. It is great and very awesome. “Who can endure it?” the prophet asks. It is a day in which the heavens and earth quake. Should we be terrified at the thought of this day?

It depends. Joel says “the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.” Those who are His people will find Him a refuge to run to, not a terrifying figure to run from. He is the only safe place for those who trust Him.

John is given a vision of what is to come. The door of heaven is opened and he looks inside. What does he see? He sees the One who is seated on the throne. He sees creatures and elders worshiping Him. These twenty four elders cast their crowns before His throne in an act of worship which signifies that they have nothing which He has not given them. Nothing they have can be withheld from Him. He is worthy of every possible honor. They cry out to Him of His worthiness. They are enthralled with His presence. They find Him majestic, glorious, honorable, and powerful.

Think about it. The day of the Lord is coming. Do you long for it or dread it? It depends on whether you will meet Him as your Refuge and Creator or your Judge. Be ready.

 

Prepare to Meet Your God

Today’s reading: Joel 2:28-Amos 4:13

My selection: Amos 4:11-12

11 “ I overthrew some of you,

as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,

and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;

yet you did not return to me,”

declares the Lord.

12 “ Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;

because I will do this to you,

prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

My reflections: Israel did not respond to the series of plagues and trials that God sent their way. They did not return to the Lord even when they saw Him overthrowing some of their people. Those God spared were like brands plucked out of the fire but, in their presumption, they did not come to Him. Now God tells them they will meet Him but on His terms, not their own.

My challenge: A final meeting with God is inevitable for every human being throughout history. You cannot avoid it. Nor can I (Hebrews 9:27,28).  How will you meet God? Will you come to Him in faith and repentance now and receive forgiveness and salvation or will you resist to the end and defiantly face Him as your judge? Prepare to meet your God, my friend. The day will come sooner than you imagine.

Tomorrow’s reading: Amos 5:1-9:10

Restoring the Lost Years

Today’s reading: Hosea 12:1-Joel 2:27

My selection: Joel 2:25

25  I will restore to you the years

that the swarming locust has eaten,

the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter,

my great army, which I sent among you.

My reflections: The same God who sent the locust plague on His people also promised to reverse the impact of that plague if His people would repent and turn back to Him. God is not time-bound as is man. He can restore what was lost.

My challenge: Never say, “I have sinned beyond restoration. There is no hope for me.” God is able to restore the years that the locusts ate. It is always best to repent, believe in Him, and to return to His ways. He is able to restore the most wasted life. It is never too late for God to redeem you and give you back the lost years.

Tomorrow’s reading: Joel 2:28-Amos 4:13