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July 9 – You only

You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. – Amos 3:2

Scripture reading: Amos 3:1-2; Deuteronomy 7:1-11

The LORD had exposed the ugliness of Israel’s transgressions (2:6-8), but they displayed no conviction of sin. He reminded them of His redeeming grace (2:9-11), yet their hearts remained hard. The most tenacious of us would have written off Israel long ago. But God persistently pursues His beloved and here He speaks to her in terms of covenant love: You only.

Israel (along with the kingdom of Judah) is His family that He brought up from Egypt and settled in the Promised Land. Out of all the families of the earth He chose Israel. They were no better than any other nation. There was nothing about Israel that merited His love. In free and sovereign grace He had made Israel His treasured possession, set apart from the rest. His covenant of grace was exclusively for Israel.

And then come God’s shocking words: “Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.” They expected to hear “therefore I will bless you.” Instead, God says that Israel’s special status is the very reason for their judgment. They have taken His grace for granted and defiled His holy love with their iniquities. Therefore, the covenant relationship will testify against them if they do not repent. The promises of God are received only in the way of faith and obedience.

Anyone who thinks that it is possible to be forgiven and live in willful disobedience is living in a dream world. All of God’s saving blessings are found in Christ alone. And it is impossible to be in Christ without walking with Christ in the way of faith and repentance. “Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.”

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Father for His immeasurable love for you in His Son. Ask the Spirit to lead you and your loved ones into thankful obedience.

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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