ODJ: two questions

August 6, 2015 

READ: Amos 5:1-20 

Come back to the LORD and live! (v.6).

Adam had eaten of the forbidden fruit and it was now time for him to face the music. God walked through the garden and “called to the man, ‘Where are you?’ ” (Genesis 3:9). Later, when God came to confront Cain for killing Abel, He asked, “Where is your brother?” (4:9). This reminds us that those who reject God are apt to wound others.

Open any of the books of the Old Testament prophets and it won’t be long until you read warnings about idolatry, injustice and the day of the Lord that will call everyone to account. Consider Amos, who begins by lamenting that God’s people “have rejected the instruction of the LORD, refusing to obey his decrees” (Amos 2:4). Such rebellion turns them against each other, and “they trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way” (v.7). This abuse won’t last forever, however, because the “day of the LORD” will come suddenly and there will be no escape (5:18-20). Their only hope is to repent. “Come back to [the LORD] and live!” (vv.4-6).

The prophets repeat this message because it’s exactly what we need to hear. For we often try to ‘play God’, which prompts us to hurt the people who get in our way. Instead, when we submit to God we find it easier to serve others joyfully. Jesus noted this connection between God and others and pointed us to the twofold love command that very rule in Scripture can be reduced to: Love God with all your heart and your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22:37-40).

Scripture’s first sins brought two essential questions. God still asks both questions of us today. Where are you? Where is your brother? God has provided all we need to love and follow Him—may we do so without question!

—Mike Wittmer

365-day-plan: Luke 12:22-48

Read 1 John 4:7-21 to learn the connection between loving God and loving others. 
Think of a recent time when you were unkind to someone. How might your actions indicate that something is amiss between you and God? What does love require that you do?