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July 10 – Cause and effect

A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy? – Amos 3:8

Scripture reading: Amos 3:3-8

Amos poses seven questions to Israel. The first five questions (vs.3-5) expect the answer “no” and the last two (vs.6) expect the answer “yes”. The questions are simple to answer and assume the basic law of cause and effect. At first, the questions seem to have no point to them until we come to the last two. Then we notice that Amos is getting close to home: If a trumpet sounds a warning blast, will not people be afraid? He is talking about Israel.

Israel can readily see and live by the law of cause and effect in worldly things, but they have ignored God’s principles of cause and effect that govern spiritual life. They do not see that sin leads to judgment. They think that they can live like they are and that disaster will not strike. Amos drives his point home in vs.8: “A lion has roared, who will not fear? The LORD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” God doesn’t act arbitrarily. If He roars through His prophet, then Israel should be doing something about it!

God is sovereign and free. We cannot put Him in a box. But He has revealed to us in Scripture what we can expect of Him and how we ought to respond to Him. He is faithful in judgment and salvation. When He roars, we ought to fear because He will judge. When we persist in sin, we know that His anger will rest upon us. But His promise is just as true and dependable: the one who comes to Jesus, He will by no means cast out (Jn.6:37).

Suggestions for prayer

Pray for faith to believe the truth of the warnings and promises of God’s Word. Pray also for faith to respond obediently.

Rev. Gary Zekveld is the pastor of New Westminster United Reformed Church in British Columbia, This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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