"Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness and not light, as if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall and a serpent bit him. Shall the day of the LORD not be darkness rather than light, even very dark and no brightness in it?" Amos 5:18-20 (read v. 18-24)
Are you ready for the Day of the Lord? Most have little fear of that day or of its consequences for them. Most assume that all is well with their souls and God's judgments are far from their minds.
It is much like the days of ancient Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. Israel became strong again and defeated its enemies. It was a time of prosperity. Yet Jeroboam II continued in the sinful ways of Jeroboam, the son of Nebat. Instead of it being a time of repentance and returning to the LORD God who had shown mercy upon His people, they continued in idolatry and disregard for God's commandments. cf. 2 Kings 14:23ff.
So, today, our people -- even our churches -- live in prosperity and are secure in their sinful ways. They disregard the Bible's teaching and worship and serve gods fashioned after their own image and manner of thinking. Our nation's laws are made to protect abortion, euthanasia, immorality, sexual perversion, robbery and theft. People assume all is well and that they are ready for the Day of the Lord but don't see the judgment of the Almighty which is about to come upon them.
The words of Amos the prophet surely apply (Amos 5:18-24): "Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness and not light, as if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall and a serpent bit him. Shall the day of the LORD not be darkness rather than light, even very dark and no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your feast days and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though you offer me burnt-offerings and your food-offerings, I will not accept them, neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts. Take away from me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your harps. But let judgment run down as waters and righteousness as a mighty stream."
The Day of the Lord for our nation and people will not bring vindication; it will bring judgment and death! Our idolatry and sins will be exposed for what they are, and our people will find that their worship and service to God were shams. God did not accept them because their hearts were far from Him and they paid little regard to His Word (cf. Matt. 15:8-9; Isa. 29:13-14).
And, what about us? Are we ready for the Day of the Lord? Will we be vindicated in God's judgment? As Amos prophesied, it's not enough to say all the right words and to offer up all the right forms of praise. God desires the fruits of true faith! God desires that we trust in His mercy and forgiveness in Christ Jesus and then also live just and righteous lives in accord with His Word. Cf. Isaiah 1:1-20.
What does this prophecy call upon us to do? To examine our ways, to repent of our sins, to turn to the LORD God for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of Christ Jesus our Savior, and then to amend our lives and live for the LORD God in obedience to His Word.
Going through the right motions, saying the right words and singing the right hymns are not enough! God calls upon us -- each and every one of us -- to examine our ways and repent, looking to Him for mercy in Christ Jesus and for His help and strength to amend our sinful ways in accord with His perfect Word. Cf. Psalm 139:23-24; 2 Cor. 13:5; 1 John 1:7 -- 2:6; Micah 6:8; Deut. 10:12-13.
O just and merciful God, we know that the day of Your judgment is coming and that we too are deserving of Your wrath and punishment. Have mercy upon us for Jesus' sake and forgive our sins, and lead us to walk in Your ways and to live in accord with Your perfect Word. Amen.
[Scripture is quoted from the Revised Common Version of the Bible. Devotion is by Randy Moll. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] More of Moll's devotional writings may be freely read at https://goodshepherdonline.org. Opinions expressed are those of the author.]