Return to God
For lo, He that formeth the mountains, and created the wind (spirit), and declareth unto man what is His thoughts, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, the Lord, The God of hosts, is His name – Amos 4:13
No matter how God warned the people through famine, drought, diseases of crops, locusts or war, they still ignored Him. Because they didn’t get the message, they would have to meet Him face to face in judgment. No longer would they ignore God; they would have to face the One they had rejected, the One they had refused to obey.
God has no pleasure in disciplining His people, but like any father, when their children are going in paths that are destructive or detrimental to their well-being, the father corrects them, and this is what our heavenly Father does for His children when they reject the written word of God. The Hebrews were chosen by God to be His people, but they would serve Him for awhile then they would have to return to worshipping and serving other gods that were forbidden to worship.
Ignoring God’s desires, the Israelites did what they wanted. They loved feasting that went with the festivals of sacrifice, but not God’s call to justice. God had sent five calamities that God had already sent upon the Israelites in effort to drive them to repentance. God’s emphatic claim that the Israelites had brought these disasters on themselves. Each stanza ends with the tragic refrain, “Yet you have not returned to Me”.
The first calamity was famine indicated the exhaustion of all food supplies. The second calamity was drought, the lack of rain with still months to the harvest, meant the total ruin of the grain crops. The third calamity was crop disease and locusts. The fourth calamity was plague and warfare. The fifth calamity was the destruction of Israelite cities. Because Israel had not returned to God through these five calamities, they would have to meet God Himself. To be confronted inescapably by the God it had scorned and rejected. Israel served other gods, and had been warned after their deliverance from Egypt not to serve any of the gods of the surrounding nations.
Israel was to be set apart from the other nations to serve a holy God (For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy – Leviticus 11:45). His purpose in bringing them out of Egypt was to be their God and because of God’s holy nature, they too had to be holy. The world is a type of Egypt, it has God’s people in bondage, but Jesus came to set His people free from their sin (And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shall call His name Jesus: for He shall save His people from their sins – Matthew 1:21).
Salvation is free to all who will accept it, but with salvation, sanctification should be accompanied with it. Indicating we’re people that has been set apart from the world, we don’t think or act like the world. There is a difference in our behavior and character than that of the world’s beliefs and actions. This is why the Apostle Paul, admonished the believer to be a living sacrifice (I Beseech you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service – Romans 12:1). The body has been an instrument of sin, now it should be presented to God as a channel that God is manifested. Jesus didn’t die for us to continue in sin, if that was the case, He never would have had to die to reconcile us back to God. We are the spiritual Jew, and we have to conform ourselves to God’s written word (But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter, whose praise is not of men, but of God – Romans 2:29).
Our righteousness is not comparing ourselves to others who is professing to be Christians, our righteousness is comparing ourselves to the written instructions of God’s word and coming subject to it. God is warning His people to return to Him and reject what the world is offering. We can’t serve God and the world (Whosoever transgresseth and abide not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son – 2nd John V.9). We have to read the word of God and apply the written word of God to our life daily. The wrath of God is coming. Will we be a people that will escape the wrath or will we be in the judgment?