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July 6 – Pathway to apostasy

For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, Lies which their fathers followed. – Amos 2:4

Scripture Reading: Amos 2:4-5; Deut. 30:11-20

The nations surrounding Israel and Judah were without excuse for their transgressions. How much more so the people of Judah who had the benefit of His Word! “For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required” (Luke 12:48).

Judah had tremendous spiritual blessings: the royal house of David, the temple of the Lord, the priesthood, and the law of God. But they had exchanged these gifts of God’s covenant love for vanity. Amos describes Judah’s descent into apostasy in three steps: despising the law, not keeping His commandments, and following after lies. It began as a heart attitude towards the law, became a settled habit of disobedience, and ended in the embrace of idols.

Apostasy doesn’t happen overnight. It begins unseen in the heart. The heart is the battleground for faithful endurance. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life” (Prov.4:23). How do we keep our heart? The Spirit has given us a toolbox for keeping our hearts. These include corporate worship, Bible study, and prayer. There simply are no substitutes for these means. But as we use them, we must not make them ends in themselves, as simply another set of duties to maintain.

Keep your eyes fixed on the goal: knowing God. “Love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days.”

Suggestions for prayer

Ask the Father to guard your heart and the hearts of your loved ones. Pray for the Spirit to revive and bless your communion with God through the means of grace.

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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