Week 37: The Love Behind the Warning

The Love Behind the Warning

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 37

Scripture Readings: Amos 1-4

Key Scripture Verse: Amos 3:7

“Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.” (NIV, Life Application Study Bible)

Amos was a shepherd whom God sent to Israel (the Northern Kingdom) to prophesy of his judgment and to warn them that they would be held accountable for their sins at a time when they were worshiping false gods, taking advantage of the poor, indulging their lustful natures, and were unjust and greedy.

God has given them ample opportunity to change their ways, but the Israelites ignore him. These chapters in Amos reflect their sinful behaviors, but Amos eventually offers them hope in the end of the book (Amos 9) when he promises the faithful remnant that they will “never again be uprooted from the land I have given them.”

Although God wants to warn them of the consequences of their behavior, he is yet again giving them warning, giving them another chance to repent, another chance to be forgiven. He tells them in advance, this is coming—you will not escape judgment. All will come face-to-face with God to account for their actions.

Sometimes we are given chance after chance to do the right thing, but we still don’t do it. So, we should consider ourselves warned of what is to come if we don’t, because just as Amos was sent specifically to warn the Israelites of God’s judgment, throughout the scriptures we are also warned that our sin has consequences and that we need to repent.

It is through that repentence that God can forgive us and offer us redemption, the redemption of God’s grace through Jesus Christ. It’s the message of the gospels—if we have faith and believe that Jesus is the Christ, confess our sins, allow Him to do his will in our lives, we are forgiven and the slate is wiped clean by his grace. He warns us so that we don’t miss that grace.

And when we accept that gift, we no longer separate ourselves from God’s purity, his perfect love that cannot reconcile with our sin. He provided the way to that reconciliation so that we can enter his presence, commune with him, and to be in relationship with him.

It is God’s main desire that we love him, that we choose to be in relationship with him. It’s why he created us to begin with. He gave us free will to choose or not to choose that relationship with him.

Why would we choose not to accept the purest love of all, the most special of relationships, the abundance of his love? Why?

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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