Prepare to meet your God.
“Prepare to meet your God.”
It is a privilege to be asked to write devotions. The passage that you are assigned is always a pleasant surprise. You add a layer of another surprise while discovering the topic assigned to you. So now you have a surprise passage and a surprise topic — a double surprise!
The joy in digging deep into a passage finding out what God has to say can be described as a backpacking trip. You can hitch a ride at the mercy of the discoveries that come your way. You also have to follow intuition, as there are a million ways to reach your destination. Often times you are tired by the time you get there. Some times you get a rare ride that gets you all the way ( a key word that illuminates the passage, for example!). The most common experience is that you end up inundated in a sea of illuminating thoughts all of whom wage a war to be included in the 320 words you are allotted. It is, most times, fun, I tell you.
The joy in digging deep into a passage finding out what God has to say can be described as a backpacking trip.
Until you come across a passage like Amos 4:4–13:( Do go read the passage by clicking here)
The passage shook me up. The more I read it the lesser hope I found. In fact, I was afraid like a child who knew his father was coming to beat him up for the wrongs he did. He thought he had a way out, but this time, there simply was none. No mercy. No hope. No wriggling out. It’s coming. Your punishment is grave and there is nothing stopping it.
God tolerated the bluff of Israelites for a long time and finally, he said, he was done. “Prepare to meet your God,” he thunders (v.12). Scary stuff! However much I try, the only way I could read that verse was “PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD!”
God is surely shouting at that point. Or, perhaps, sounding like the Marlon Brando inGodfather, who so confidently gave an offer people could not refuse.
Almost every devotion I had written till then had a point of hope. But this statement ended with God restating who he was : The Lord God of the host of Armies is his name (direct translation of Lord God Almighty — Yhwh elohe saba’oth).
I am scared. It brings me to look at God differently. A side of my God, revealed in Jesus, that I don’t like to see — the fact that he does not tolerate sin, evil and injustice; the fact that I have been shirking my responsibilities and taking his grace in vain. I would rather have a comfortable God who nestles me close to his bosom, telling me everything is okay. Niether do I like, nor have I the guts to face a God who cannot tolerate the sin in me. I am scared, because I am not fully without sin and tend to fall back in.
I would rather have a comfortable God who nestles me close to his bosom, telling me everything is okay. Niether do I like, nor have I the guts to face a God who cannot tolerate the sin in me.
I can’t ever be prepared to meet this angry sounding God who is fed up of my prolonging the insidious effects of sin. I thought I would see terrible dreams last night, that I might wake up panting.
This led me to make a phone call to one of my Old Testament Professors at seminary, Rev. Prakash K. George. I described to him my dilemma, my fears even.
He told me that the passage described that judgment was imminent and that the message of Amos was a call to return, just as it was in the book of Hosea. While, Hosea is a fountain of love, portraying a mad-lover God, Amos paints another side of God who is serious about the business of holiness and consequent righteousness. It shakes one up out of his complacency and urges one to act immediately — confess, repent, and return.
There is hope. But before that I have the choice to return. Not choosing to return is a path down to disaster. It is in that path that you would meet the God described in Amos 4. My struggle with the devotion was that the passage ended with that chapter, leaving no hope. It confounded me.
Some times we needed to be woken up from our complacent comfort zones, shaken up out of our reticence and perhaps slapped into walking on the path of God, which is the true the path of salvation, the path of love, the path of fulness and fulfilment.
Still, what a slap that was!
Originally published at Matbook.