Saturday, April 16, 2011

When Will It Be Over?

This evening I read the book of Amos. I honestly don't remember the last time I read it, but it has been quite a while. It's not really a book you generally go to for joy and encouragement, but it is inspired by God and profitable! I am saddened by the parallels that I see between the people of Israel as described in Amos and the modern day church. This is not by any means true across the board... but I think we do ourselves great harm not to take responsibility, as men like Nehemiah did, for the unfaithfulness of our nation to God. These words stuck out to me from chapter 8, verses 5-6.
When will the new moon be over, so that we may sell grain? And the sabbath, that we may open the wheat market, to make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger, and to cheat with dishonest scales, so as to buy the helpless for money and the needy for a pair of sandals, and that we may sell the refuse of the wheat?
I think if we are honest with ourselves before the Lord, we all have done more than our share of living life our own way. While we wouldn't sit in church and say, "When is it going to be over?", we live that way at times. The church as a whole has lost its focus on the treasure of Christ. We seek the next new thing to bring people in the doors so they too can "make their shekel bigger". The fellowship of God's people exhorting one another is no longer the reason we meet, but rather for social interaction that can be found outside the body of Christ. We seek the comfort and encouragement from the Word of God and despise the things that convict us of sin. We have trained our pastors to preach the Word how we like to hear it rather than how the Lord speaks it. We love the Lord as long as He doesn't call us to give up anything for His sake.

God, forgive us for the many ways in which we have forsaken You. Cleanse Your people. Turn our hearts back to You. Don't let our sin go unseen before You, for we desperately need Your shepherding. It is your gentleness that makes us great. Do not grant any peace when we are not fully committed to You. Cause us to turn from sin to serve You, the Living God. Bring Your people together for true fellowship... for speaking to one another with songs, hymns and spiritual songs, for exhorting one another to live for Christ. God, we don't need more social interaction. We need true Spirit-led fellowship with men and women that are passionate about living for You. Put a guard over the lips of our church leaders to proclaim nothing but Your truth. Free them from the fear of man. Give them a passion for You that no longer cares what people might think of their preaching, but only cares to please You, Lord. Bring up godly men and women that will no longer listen to false doctrine. Give them courage. Strengthen their hearts. Use them for Your Name's sake in our churches. Use them amongst Your people. Do whatever it takes to be glorified here once again.

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