the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Our present lesson consists of another portion of the prophecies of Amos.
You boast of his being with you, but if you wish him to be really so, you must seek him and follow his ways. To boast of our religious privileges, as though God was certainly with us because we go to a place of worship is mere vain glory; God dwells only with the contrite in heart.
Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate where courts of justice were held
If men have only a may be, they ought to be earnest in seeking salvation; how much more should we be eager for eternal life when we have sure promises and divine shalls and wills.
The husbandman shall be so disappointed in his harvest that he shall lament as those do who bury the dead. Harvest home shall be mournful as a funeral.
In the place where joy was most manifest shall be most sorrow.
Bitterly will they lament that they said, “Where is the promise of his coming?” They will find the day of which they spoke so jestingly to be overwhelmingly terrible to them.
It shall be to the wicked a going from bad to worse, from danger to destruction.
No gleams of mercy shall light up the day of visitation; justice shall reign alone, and spread unmingled terror through the ranks of the rebellious.
Formal worship where sin is loved is detestable to God; he is insulted by the outward homage of those who love the wages of iniquity.
Costly offerings and the charms of melody are not the things which God desires: holiness is his music, and a broken heart his chosen sacrifice.
This he demands, and this he will have; and all short of this is a mockery of him.
Even at the first they were idolaters: at the outset they could not hold on in the right way for a single generation: idolatry was rooted in them, nothing could wean them from it.
Even Moloch, the most bloody of the idols, they adored; no worship was too vile for them.
Idolatry, injustice, and uncleanness provoke the Lord, and he will not suffer such evils to go unpunished. O Lord God of hosts, wash us in the blood of Jesus; renew us by thy Spirit, and keep us true to thee all our days.
Alone upon the means of grace
Our souls must not depend;
Theirs simply is the handmaid’s place
Of means unto an end.
Nor must we only for a while
Put off the sins we mourn,
To flatter conscience, and beguile
The hours till they return;
But low in penitence must lie,
In deed as well as word;
And then must turn to Calvary,
And trust our bleeding Lord.
“Make full proof of thy ministry.”
Amos had many visions, and he told them to the people boldly.
Amos 7:1 , Amos 7:2
Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers or locusts
A famine was threatened by means of locusts, but the prophet’s intercession turned aside the evil. We cannot set too much store by the earnest prayers of holy men.
The fire indicated devouring judgments, but the prophet again pleaded, urging the low estate of Israel, and a second time he prevailed. The prayers of the righteous are the shields of the nation.
He would judge the nation as a builder tests a wall to see. if it is upright, and after that he would break down all that was out of line and unfit to stand. The sinful house of Jehu had now ruled for four generations, there would be but one more king, and then like the dynasty of Ahab, it would be swept away. This prophecy was delivered at Bethel, in the very centre of idolatrous worship.
Amos 7:10 , Amos 7:11
This was only in part true: Amos had not said that Jeroboam would be slain. We can never hope to have our case fairly stated; our enemies will exaggerate.
As muck as to say, “You are not wanted here. Judah is the place for those of your way of thinking; and besides, your rough manners are not fit for this courtly shrine.” Little did the false priest dream of the rejoinder he would receive.
Amos 7:14 , Amos 7:15
He spoke not out of any wilful ambition, but by divine commission, and was not therefore at all likely to be silenced by the threats of men.
In a few years these words came true. Woe unto those who stand up against the Lord and oppose his servants.
O Lord, thy chosen servants bless,
That they may faithful be;
Thy truth upon the conscience press,
And sinners win to thee!
In holy watchfulness and prayer,
O keep them near thy side;
May they with loving zeal declare,
A Saviour crucified.
Great God! to thee I’ll make
My griefs and sorrows known;
And with a humble hope
Approach thine awful throne;
Though by my sins deserving hell,
I’ll not despair; for, “Who can tell?”
Vile unbelief, begone;
Ye doubts, fly swift away;
God hath an ear to hear,
While I’ve a heart to pray;
If he be mine, all will be well
For ever so; and, “Who can tell?”
Then let us not despond,
Inquiring “Who can tell?”
For in the sacred word
The question’s answer’d well:
That all who come to Christ shall be
Saved now, and through eternity.
Since from our faith thou dost withhold
No blessing of thy grace,
Make us in confidence most bold
Thy promise to embrace.
Full many an arrow may we aim
With faith’s most mighty bow,
Strengthened by thine all-conquering name,
Our sins to overthrow.
At twice or thrice let us not stay,
But the full number dare;
Since thou dost not a limit lay,
Why should our hands forbear?
Is there ambition in my heart?
Search, gracious God, and see:
Or do I act a haughty part?
Lord, I appeal to thee.
I charge my thoughts, be humble still,
And all my carriage mild,
Content, my Father, with thy will,
And quiet as a. child.
The patient soul, the lowly mind,
Shall have a large reward:
Let saints be humble and resigned;
And ne’er provoke the Lord.
Jehovah hath spoken!
The nations shall hear;
From the east to the west
Shall his glory appear;
With thunders and tempest
To judgment he’ll come;
And all men before him
Shall wait for their doom.
Woe, woe to the sinners!
To what shall they trust?
In the day of God’s vengeance,
The holy and just!
How meet all the terrors
That flame in his path,
When the mountains shall melt
At the glance of his wrath!
O God, ere the day
Of thy mercy be past,
With trembling our souls
On that mercy we cast:
O guide us in wisdom;
For aid we implore;
Till, saved with thy people,
Thy grace we adore.
Long hath the night of sorrow reign’d;
The dawn shall bring us light:
God shall appear, and we shall rise
With gladness in his sight.
Our hearts, if God we seek to know,
Shall know him, and rejoice;
His coming like the morn shall be,
Like morning songs his voice.
So shall his presence bless our souls,
And shed a joyful light;
That hallow’d morn shall chase away
The sorrows of the night.
With broken heart and contrite sigh,
A trembling sinner, Lord, I cry;
Thy pardoning grace is rich and free;
O God! be merciful to me.
I smite upon my troubled breast,
With deep and conscious guilt oppress’d:
Christ and his cross my only plea;
O God! be merciful to me.