December 14 | Daily Devotion

Lectio Continua: a continuous reading of every verse

Lectio Semi-continua: shorter reading selections from the passages

Lectio Divina

“This is what the Lord says: ‘For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent. They sell the innocent for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals.’” ~Amos 2:6

OLD TESTAMENT

Amos was from Tekoah, a small town south of Jerusalem. Unlike Isaiah or Jeremiah, he was not a court prophet, which would have made him a member of the upper class. He was more like a country parson. However, his writing reveals that he received a good education and so was well versed in geography, history, current affairs, and literature. Based on the internal evidence, Amos lived in the northern kingdom sometime before the fall of Israel (722 BCE).

There is ample archaeological evidence that Israel (and surrounding nations) enjoyed many luxury items during this period. Wealth was counted in things like expensive wines, Persian rugs, Egyptian garments, ample diets of choice meats, and well-built homes decorated with wood paneling and ivory carvings and furnished with camel couches (see also Haggai 1:4). In fact, many Israelites were so well to do that they owned both a summer home and a winter home (Amos 3:15).

The prophet does not condemn these marks of wealth, but rather the people’s attitude. God satisfied them with so much, but they gradually turned away from Him! They neglect the poor, exploit their neighbors, and ignore the law. They celebrate with their blessings but never acknowledge the God who gave them everything! This opulent arrogance that so incites God’s anger is shared by surrounding nations like Edom, Tyre, Moab, and Aram.

Heed Amos’ call and worship the Giver rather than the gifts. Delight in creation, but delight even more in the Creator. Right now, pause to think about everything you have. Your clothing, your food, your house or apartment, your furnishings, your clothing, your other blessings! Absolutely EVERYTHING you have is from Him. Praise Him daily! Make habits like worship, generosity, and hearing His Word high priorities in your life.

NEW TESTAMENT

John is taken up into heaven and allowed a glimpse backstage. Some of what he sees is symbolic representation like what we might see in a dream. But symbols represent something real. For example, the seven-horned Lamb with seven eyes standing in the center of the throne represents Christ. He sees everything, and His ministering spirits are present in all the earth (the seven horns).

The scroll represents the written story of the future, a story of judgment and triumph. Clearly, the Lamb is sovereign over these events as He is the only one who can open the scroll. Revelation 6 recounts the opening of the seals and the events that coincide with each. While some argue that these events are in the past and others that they are in the future, a growing number of biblical scholars believe there is a mediating position (I am among them). Some of the events, like war and famine and persecution, started as soon as Christ left the earth while others are yet to be fulfilled (see Mark 13 and cf.)

What is clear is that Christ is sovereign over our future! Our response to this truth, and to this Lord, should be both trust and worship! We can face the future with confidence and awe because the Lamb who was slain holds the future in His hands.


Lectio Divina is written by F. Lionel Young III, who serves as the senior pastor of Calvary Church in Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the author of A New Kind of Missionary, a popular introduction to global Christianity.