Friday, May 17, 2013

Scratching the Surface of Amos

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Scratching the Surface of Amos


    Though I'm not a historian, I've lived long enough to think America is more divided now than since the Civil War or during our foray into Vietnam.

    Two old songs that came out about the same time come to mind as a metaphor for these days: Carole King's "It's Too Late" from Tapestry (1971) and Steppenwolf's "It's Never Too Late" from At Your Birthday Party (1969).

    She says it's too late and they say it's never too late.

    She says,

        And it's too late, baby, now it's too late
        Though we really did try to make it
        Something inside has died and I can't hide it
        And I just can't fake it

    They say,

        It's never too late to start all over again
        To love the people you caused the pain
        And help them learn your name
        Oh, no, not too late, it's never too late to
            start all over again

    Which is it?

    It's too late?

    It's never too late?

    Biblically, the answer is yes.

    It's too late if we don't turn back to God.

    It's never too late if we turn back to God.

    That's the basic message of every prophet of the Bible.

    That's the basic message of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

    It's repeated over and over and over because we're very thick-skinned, willful, self-reliant, self-righteous, and diseased from the garden with the instinct that we can paddle our own canoes.

    Only God can save us from our inclinations to continue dividing and damning ourselves.

    Amos continues that witness.

    Essentially, he was like that contemporary bumper sticker, "God's Coming Back and He's really..."

    The word thrilled is not appropriate to complete that thought.

    Using fresh symbols and metaphors to reinforce prophets who preceded and will follow him, Amos rails against the bad guys and then rails against the good guys for acting like the bad guys and says they're all gonna get it sooner or later and usually sooner than later and definitely in the end if they don't wise up and turn back to God: "I will send down fire...I will burn down all the fortresses..."

    He's especially angry with the good guys for acting like the bad guys: "You told the prophets, 'Don't you dare prophesy!'"

    Parenthetically, I can think of all of the times in my four decades of undershepherding when I've been told to tone down and water down and, essentially, lie about the truth for those who can't or won't deal, handle, and humble themselves before it/Him; which, of course, is why Jesus later said of people like me who have done that too much for anybody's good, "You make people twice as fit for hell as you are yourselves."

    Amos, again, like the rest of the Bible's communicating God's mind and will and expectations and warnings and graces if we heed His warnings, is very hard on the wealthy who don't help the poor enough: "You have climbed to success on the backs of the poor."

    God doesn't like rich people who forget to care for the poor.

    It's one of the most consistent messages of the Bible; and it's a warning.  God says it's hard for rich people to get into heaven because of their control needs, greed, and sense of entitlement.

    He warns rich people over and over and over again that they can't take it with 'em and it won't be waiting for 'em in hell if they don't do some heaven good with it while on earth.

    Amos reminds us of what He has done for us and the gratitude in the form of obedience to His expressed will in the Bible warrants: "I brought you up from Egypt...I knew and chose you for a relationship with Me..."

    Amos reminds us of the consequences of not turning back to God in His own words: "I will punish you for the wrong you have done."

    Amos reminds us that we can avoid the deserving consequences of our previous disobedience: "Turn back to Me and you will live.  There is still time...Search for good and not for evil so that you may live..."

    Amos also cautions, "If you don't, He will flame up like fire..."

    It's our choice.

    It's America's choice. 

    It's every country's choice.

    It's every church's choice.

    It's every family's choice.

    It's every person's choice.

    It's too late if we don't turn back to God.

    It's never too late if we turn back to God.


@#$% be continued...


Blessings and Love!


Howard said...

Good morning "Brother", you really "scratched deep" in Amos.
I'm in tune.

Jim said...


When is/will it be too late? Only the Father knows. Yet there are those instructions to "shake off the dust..." and to "go out from their midst and be separate from them." Yet, does cleaning one's sandals off or creating some distance, mean "too late" has come? Or is it another way to try and get His message through to those who have eyes yet do not see and ears but do not hear?

Though I am six years separated from the PC(USA) He hasn't released me from praying for them/you.