Monday, October 26, 2009

Pressed Down

Amos 2:13-16
(13) "Behold, I will press you down in your place, as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
(14) Flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not retain his strength, nor shall the mighty save his life;
(15) he who handles the bow shall not stand, and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself, nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
(16) and he who is stout of heart among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," declares the LORD.

We went to a local pumpkin patch and corn maze yesterday, so this passage kind of jumped out at me. There is a big difference between the way an empty cart rides and when the hayride is full of parents and kids. The ground certainly shows the difference too.

That's the image used here to describe how the Lord will press down His rebellious people. It's not a pretty sight, is it? This view of God is a little different than the one typically peddled here in the United States. We want our God to make things better for us. We interpret grace to mean that it doesn't matter if we transgress His laws because He is like some kind of cosmic grandfather who winks at sin.

We see a different view here. This is not to say that God delights in pressing down the disobedient. However, He will do so if that is what they need to repent. A subsequent passage makes it clear that a remnant would survive, but it won't be pretty:

Amos 3:11-12
(11) Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: "An adversary shall surround the land and bring down your defenses from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered."
(12) Thus says the LORD: "As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.

I am not saying that God will beat us down if we are disobedient, though that might happen. My point is simply to show God's character. The gospel is necessary because apart from the atoning work of Christ we are destined for His just wrath. It may not be popular to discuss God's wrath these days, but I think that meditating upon that aspect of His nature makes grace seem that much more amazing.

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