Week 38 Ignore Him at Your Own Risk

By Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell (Guest Blogger)

Week 38

Scripture Readings: Amos 5-9

Key Scriptures: Amos 5:14-15, Amos 8-11-12 (NIV, Life Application Bible)

–“’Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.’”

–“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land—not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.’ People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”

As you might recall from my post last week, Amos was sent by God to tell the people of Israel that God was unhappy with their sinful disobedience and that he would not spare them his wrath. Only the remnant of Israel—the faithful ones—would survive his wrath when he would decide to implement his judgment. The people had become complacent, were ignoring God’s commands, were making unlawful judgments in the courts in their own favor, ignoring and oppressing the poor, indulging in lustful behavior. God was mad and sent them Amos to warn them that they were bringing down judgment on themselves.

Per the commentary in my Bible, the people had so separated themselves from what was good and pure that they did not have any desire for his word, did not seek the truth, but just did whatever suited them. So, God was going to make himself so scarce that they would not be able to find him, even when they did decide they needed him—then he would withdraw his favor and allow them to receive the consequences of their sin which would be very hard on them.

At this point, the people didn’t even think of God. They just went through the motions, kept the Sabbath only out of habit and even wished it away, waiting for it to end so that they could sell their grain, market their wares, and reap as much money as they could while cheating their neighbors with dishonest measurements.

I have to wonder when the shoe will drop for us! Only an occasional business today would even think of not being open on Sunday. Most young adults in our culture have never even heard of “blue laws” that required businesses to be closed on Sunday so that workers and their families could attend church services and have a day of Sabbath. People do whatever they want in our society today. Politicians change policy without following the law, some of them perform criminal acts only to get a slap on the wrist. People follow their lusts without any thought to their consequences.

God is no fool. Everyone can do as they please, but God is really the one in control and when he’s ready, all will bow down to him. Best to seek his word now, before it’s too late!

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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