Smeagol is Free!
A hermitudinal view of...stuff...


Q & A

Amos 5:21 - 24
"I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; and I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream."

Chriyus called me at about midnight. When he asked me how I was doing, I had to think about it for a while. I told him that the Lord has me looking at my sin in a manner that brings about deep, penitent sorrow. I had been reading through the first half of Amos last night (which reminds me, I have to finish the second half), and it became very clear how the Lord abhors the sins of His people, and how he holds those who know His instructions more accountable than those who do not. Amos begins by calling out the sins of the Gentile nations surrounding Judah and Israel. The list is long and varied, and in no way are they surprising; these nations are, in the eyes of the Jews, undeniably guilty. Yet, God's prophet has something special in store for His chosen people. After listing the sins of the Gentiles, Amos details the sins of Judah and Israel. What's different about these sins is that they are not simply listed as actions that are offensive, but they are shown to be sins that directly ignore the laws of the Lord. God's chosen people were not sinning in ignorance! They knew better, yet they hardened their hearts and stubbornly chose to act sinfully. As Dr. Draper is ever so fond of reminding us, the 8th century BC seemed a glorious time for Israel and Judah, but like a harlot under the bedsheets, sin crawled rampantly just below the surface.

So...back to that deep, penitent sorrow. I told Chriyus that reading Amos echoed with what the Lord had been doing in my heart. Do I look at my sin and acknowledge it as sin? Do I mourn over sin for the sake of its being sin? Or do I pass over it, trying instead to claim the sweetness of Christ's resurrection without the bitterness of His death? Thomas Watson, in The Doctrine of Repentance, reminds us that the Passover meal was eaten with bitter herbs, so as to remind those who partook of the meal of the bitterness of sin. By God's grace, He is allowing me to partake of the bitter herbs of life, the better to be reminded that my sin is bitter, and it is costly, and that the price was paid by an unblemished Lamb whose blood was spilt on my behalf. Does this mean that my life is horrible? Hardly! For my soul is not numb, and it is able to discern between the cheap grace of lukewarm faith and the costly, heart-rending, soul-satisfying grace that comes with a deeper recognition and penitence over sin. The Passover meal was eaten as a reminder that their sins were indeed being passed over; we, as did the Israelites, have a worthy sacrifice, our very own Passover Lamb! Though the herbs are bitter, the bitterness is a reminder of the sting of death that is not ours. What is ours, then? Life! And such a life is sweet indeed, for it is life in Christ. It is in this life that we are able to truly let justice flow down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

You know, it's kind of strange to me that Chriyus' inquiry would elicit such an answer. I don't think I answered his question. At least, not directly. Yet when I was done answering, he thanked me for preaching to him. Hehe...I didn't realize I was preaching...if anything, I felt like I was preaching to myself...I guess that sometimes, preaching unto ourselves is the most effective preaching we can do. If anyone else is listening, so much the better :)

posted by Bolo | 6:35 AM
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