The Moral Compass

Danger Is the Message we read in Amos 6:1-4. Throughout human history, we have been in danger of being overrun with sin. In fact, Amos’ message could not be any more timely for us. Though spoken almost 2800 years ago, Amos is speaking directly to us. This danger was brought on by the sinfulness of a nation. Israel had 20 kings, and all were evil in the sight of the Lord. Understand a nation often has leaders who are like the people, a representation of the state, leading it towards wickedness or righteousness, as they attempt to put the nation at ease.

Amos 6:1~Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria…(ESV) Our nation has been in a very precarious position. We have forgotten what it means to think for ourselves and many struggle with acting as an individual, rather than a herd. Instead of praying and seeking God for wisdom many, like sheep, have been led astray. Trusting man-made understanding, instead of God. So, God sends a prophet to remind them there is no fortress, but Him.

You do realize Samaria is the same city Jesus visits as He sits and asks a half-breed Jewish woman for a drink from the well in John 4:5 & 9. Psalm 18:2~The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (NIV) The only place we ought to trust in the Lord. Not in what we create, or in the science of our world, only God. Amos 6:3~ O you who put far away the day of disaster and bring near the seat of violence? (ESV)They wrongly believed, like our world today, judgment is so far away. Saying, not in my lifetime, and thus, they continued in sin and violence doing whatever they wanted. 

Amos 6:2~Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory, (ESV) God says because conceit is often the companion of arrogance, trouble is truly brewing. How can we avert God’s impending judgement? James 4:6~And he gives grace generously…God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. (NIV) The prophet says come back to God. Pride goes before destruction. (Proverbs 16:18) 

Destruction is already knocking for Israel and in about two decades the nation will fall. The arrogant believe they deserve every pleasure, comfort, or satisfaction known to man. During Amos’ day, Israel slept in beds made of ivory and laid on couches gorging themselves. Amos 6:6~who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! (ESV) Remember Lil Jo’s story? A son was sold into slavery for 20 pieces of silver. Remind me again, who sold him? His brothers in Genesis 37. 

Amos says it is happening all over again. Destruction is approaching. I am here to tell you that our nation is in a perilous place. I don’t know who the Assyrians are, but destruction is at our door. Through Amos, God warns the people that sin brings devastating consequences, like captivity. (Amos 6:7) If we persist on our stubborn path of sinfulness as a nation, then get ready. When Israel falls, the affluent, the priests, the leaders, these are the first to go. Jesus is the only way to avert judgment. 

Before you head out into the wide world about you, are you praying for our nation? It’s time to take ownership of where we are as an individual, as a nation collectively to seek God. This means adjusting our who lives to proclaim the only message of hope, Jesus, to a world in need. 1 Corinthians 9:22~To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. (NIV) Will you partner with me and Mt. Gallant to help us let our world know, Jesus is at the door and we are here to help reveal His mercy.

God & Injustice

Do you have a sin problem? The truth is that we all do if we are human. For Christians, the Biblical vocabulary surrounding the Greek word (ἱλασμός hilasmos) points to a difference in our view of Justice. Whether expiation or propitiation, God is a God of justice. His holiness and righteousness demand justice. Remember, the prophet Micah said God does not change. (Micah 3:6) 1 John 4:10~This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (NIV) Grasp how great a love God has for us. He sent prophet after prophet to call us back to Himself and to fidelity.

It was God’s great love that propelled Christ to come to take care of our sin problem. His enormous love kept him on the rock bearing our griefs and sorrows as He was afflicted and pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed beneath the weight of our iniquities and chastised that we might have His peace. Those painfully beautiful strips were laid for our healing. (Isaiah 53:4-7) The atonement is about so much more than just a little white lie. God was angry over sin and it was Jesus who stood for us in our sted as the propitiation of sin. 

The atonement was violent, and violence still fills our sin-cursed and fallen world today. Sure, it can be masked in an attempt to hide its ugly face behind racism, bigotry, heritage, or piercing words that wound. It participates in whispers shared in secret and has even stopped up the ears of those who can no longer listen to reason. Do you believe that our world is capable of possessing fairness? 

No, it does not, it cannot, and yet we as believers are to share mercy, even in the face of great adversity. Are things right the way they are? No, they are not. However, swinging the pendulum to the other extreme is not going to work either. What is needed, is a revival. Our world needs the only one who can fully render a change in our hearts and lives, and His name is Jesus. He who made the heart can works wonders in it. 

I would be willing to be that there is someone you have been praying for a good long while. You may have dropped off in your fervency and need to renew your efforts. I want to encourage you to share this need with another who will join you in praying for them, asking God to move and work in their life. And, if by some chance you don’t have someone, then it is time to make a list of some people the Lord is laying on your heart to begin praying for. As always, you can pray for me.

The Meaningless & Mundane — Is God Fair? — Ecclesiastes 3:16-4:16…Handout

While we can’t understand everything in life, Soly shares we can know that there is nothing better than to be joyful and to do good as long as we live (3:12) This means we don’t let problems rob us of our joy. Do you let problems rod your joy? Yes / No. Think of this life as a dress rehearsal for eternity. Matthew 6:34~don’t worry about tomorrow…(NIV) So, Is God Fair? Yes / No. The answer is God is______. Are you one who loves to play the fairness game? Yes / No. Is God Fair? No, He is Just: Injustice, Oppression, ______, and Not Everyone.

1) Because of_________ (3:16-22) Oftentimes justice is not found where we might expect it. (Ecclesiastes 3:16) Here on earth, the wicked do sometimes prosper and the righteous suffer for their integrity. Would like to live in a world where noses grew, tongues rotted, and words were appeared on our foreheads revealing mistakes? Yes / No. So, why doesn’t our loving God punish sin immediately? 1 Corinthians 13:4a~Love is patient, love is kind. (NIV) There will be a day when our patient God deals with injustice and evil. (Daniel 12:2) Are humans different from animals? Yes / No. How? _____________ Ecclesiastes 3:11~…he (God) has put eternity into man’s heart…(ESV) We were made in God’s image. (Genesis 1:27) Thus animals are not the same as humans. Jesus ate both lamb and fish (Mark 14:12-16 & John 21:9-13) Don’t let injustice rob you of your joy (Job 21:25)

2) Because of__________(4:1-3) Oppression is a plight of humanity. Ecclesiastes 4:1~Again I saw all oppressions done under the sun…(ESV) God’s word teaches we should do everything we can to seek justice, but know that in our world, there are evil people. Tyrants may seem invincible, and wicked often seem to perpetually prosper. Thus the psalmist warns us not to be envious of them. (Psalm 73:3) Do you any the wicked? Yes / No. Why?________________________________________

3 Because of the_____ Race (4:4-12) Many work hard trying to appear successful wanting others to admire and envy them. Do you like to see others fly the flag of the green-eyed lady? Yes / No. Understand, Soly is not suggesting we shouldn’t work hard or do our work well. He’s talking about the person obsessed with one-upping the Joneses. (4:5) To not work hard is to become lazy or foolish. (4:6) The good life is about having__________. Some things, such as relationships, are more important than winning the Rat Race. The truth is we only need___ things in life to be truly happy: someone to love, to be loved, and to have a purpose for living. Did you notice what’s missing? Yes / No. It’s money or stuff! Ecclesiastes 4:9 ~Two are better than one…(ESV) Remember, even the Lone Ranger wasn’t really a lone ranger. He had a____! Who is your Tonto?___________ Ecclesiastes 4:12~though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken. (ESV) Yep, ___are better!

4) Because Not Everyone Will________ You (4:13-16) When you click like on photos, do you feel mounting pressure? Yes / No. Life isn’t about money, possessions, success,  it really is about relationships. Oftentimes the throne of our success can become a prison of foolishness. Saint of God, Seek the Lord.