Responding to God

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD. “I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD.  “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the LORD.  “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!” For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!
Amos 4:6–13
Responding to God
Too often in our lives when pain and struggles come, we shake our fists at God. Blaming Him for all our woes, we distance ourselves from Him in a childish way so as to try and punish God for what He has allowed to happen to us. What we should do instead is to see these times as opportunities to draw closer to our loving Father and seek protection and forgiveness in His arms. Amos punctuates vivid descriptions of divine judgment with the divine lament “yet you did not return to Me.” God’s reasons for allowing calamities to enter our lives are ultimately good, but we nonetheless refuse to respond in humility and faith. True repentance is always God’s work, brought about through His Law. Forgiveness is His greatest work. Therefore, we praise God that all sins, including our sluggishness to repent, are fully cleansed in the blood of the Lamb. We thank God for sending our advocate with Him through His Son. Because we are often obstinately sinful, we are all the more grateful that Jesus pleads unceasingly for us in heaven. May the Holy Spirit lead us to believe in and ever hold fast to the forgiveness Christ won for us on His cross.
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