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July 2 – The roar of the lion

And he said: “The LORD roars from Zion, and utters His voice from Jerusalem.” – Amos 1:2a

Scripture reading: Amos 1:2; Rev. 5:1-10

The LORD is described as a roaring lion, like a king of beasts announcing its intention to attack. Thus God’s voice thunders from Zion, the temple in Jerusalem that represented His heavenly throne. This is the main point of God’s message for Israel through the prophet Amos: the King of heaven and earth approaches and will soon fall upon you in judgment.

Amos was not what we would call a motivational speaker. His words were hard, his message devastating. Indeed, the prophet’s description almost seems inappropriately severe. Should we compare God to a lion that is ready to seize its prey? How does one reconcile this terrible image of a lion with the God of love and mercy?

The truth is: God is terrible. He is terrible not in the sense of bad or evil, but in terms of His awesome holiness and majestic power. He roars against sin. His wrath is “revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom.1:18). We are sinners living in the presence of a holy God. Tremble before Him with godly fear!

But remember that this does not exhaust the unsearchable depths of God. His love is as infinite as His holiness; His mercy is as wide as His justice. He “so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The Son of God is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. He is also the Lamb that was slain.

Suggestions for prayer

Praise God for His awesome majesty and His great love. Pray for growth in godly fear.

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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