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July 19 – God’s mercy

“O Lord GOD, forgive, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, for he is small!” – Amos 7:2b

Scripture reading: Amos 7:1-6

Amos has been readily announcing the judgment of God on His sinful people, but at the sight of the locusts and fire he pleads with the Lord to relent. What is it that moves Amos to intercede on behalf of Israel? Perhaps this was the first time he had actually seen with his eyes the judgments of God and it overwhelmed him. Or maybe he saw that the poor and weak would bear the brunt of these judgments. The locust swarm at the crops “after the king’s mowings” which probably means that the king and his friends would be well-fed while the poor farmers starved.

We don’t know what exactly it was that Amos saw that moved him to pray for God to relent. What we do know is that Amos’s prayer reveals the merciful heart of God. It was in His mercy for stubborn sinners that God sent Amos to preach to Israel and pray for them. And when Amos pleaded, God relented because it had been His will all along to show mercy through the intercession of His prophet.

The interceding Amos directs our faith to our eternal High Priest who ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb.7:25). In Jesus we see the heart of God perfectly revealed and all those who trust in Christ will never be excluded from His mercy. “Since it has pleased God to give us His Son as our Intercessor, let us not leave Him for another…For when God gave Him to us He knew well that we were sinners” (Belgic Confession, Art.26).

Suggestions for prayer

Give thankful praise for God’s indescribable gift of His Son. Thank Him for His patience and ask for humble confidence in the perfect High Priesthood of Jesus.

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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