When my kids were younger, I had a lot of fun on their birthdays arranging treasure hunts for them and their friends. Later, it also became a Christmas tradition. When we have an extra special gift for someone, we love to draw out the excitement of giving by having them follow clues and search it out. What fun it is to see the looks on their faces when they finally reach their prize! It’s every bit as thrilling for the givers of the gifts as it is for the receivers.
As we’ve explored the message of Amos, I hope you’re beginning to see how God loves to hide treasures for us in His Word. He uses physical things to help us understand the things of the spirit. He uses the things that are seen to help us “see” the unseen.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.“ Proverbs 25:2
What a wonderful God we serve! Let’s dig some more.
In Amos 4:9, God compares His people to a garden.
“‘I blasted you with blight and mildew.
When your gardens increased,
Your fig trees,
And your olive trees,
The locust devoured them;
Yet you have not returned to Me,’
Says the Lord.”
Like gardens, churches should be fertile ground, where the seeds of The Gospel sprout, take root, grow, and produce fruit that is filling and nutritious to The Body, and inviting to the hungry.
Vineyards are a symbol of joy, figs trees of sweetness, and olive trees of richness and anointing. All of these are gifts from The Lord and are to be found in The Church. But do they have staying power? Are they accomplishing their purpose in The Body?
I was raised by wheat farmers, so imagine my shock when my increasing health problems were attributed to a wheat allergy! I wasn’t born with a wheat allergy. It came when man decided God’s creation wasn’t quite good enough. Man in all his wisdom decided to make all our grains “better.” As a result, they are no longer digestible, and can actually make us very sick.
The same thing can happen when man takes control of God’s Church.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it;” Psalm 127:1
Regardless of intentions, No man (or woman) can run God’s Church like God! And He sent His Holy Spirit to do just that. Amos 4 tells us how God will try to get our attention back on Him so that He can restore life and fertility to His dying garden.
In The Interlinear Bible verse 9 reads, “I have struck you with scorching and with mildew.”
We are tried and refined by fire.
“Now if anyone builds on this foundation [The Gospel] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
In Haggai 2:17 we are told what is being targeted:
“I struck you with blight and mildew and hail in all the labors of your hands; yet you did not turn to Me,’ says the Lord.” (emphasis mine)
The works of our hands are not the works of The Spirit. God burns away that which is not of Him—no matter how precious it is to us—because it is not fruitful. And what does not bear fruit must be consumed to make room for new construction and growth.
If you notice in the recent surge of Christian persecution in the U.S. it’s not the churches who openly embrace homosexual marriage that are being tried. They have sealed their fate. It is those who stand against it who are being persecuted. Those who seem to be doing right. Many attribute the firestorm to the enemy, but God makes it very clear who is responsible. “I have struck you with scorching.” (emphasis mine)
Why? Because for all we think we are doing right, we have missed the mark.
“For whom the Lord loves He chastens,
And scourges every son whom He receives.” Hebrews 12:6
This is a call to repentance to each one of us and the church as a whole. The question is, do we submit to or rebel against the burning? The spirit of pride will cause some to take offense at this message.
“Then His disciples came and said to Him, ‘Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?’
“But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.'” Matthew 15:12-14
Others will receive this truth with a spirit of humility. It is they who will repent, get into alignment with The Holy Spirit, and receive His glorious outpouring.
“And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” Matthew 11:6
The hope of our nation and world lies in the prayers of such as these.
God’s grace and peace be yours,