Prepare to Meet God
The Bible tells us that one day we will all stand before God.
In truth we will all kneel before God.
10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
But everyone will give an account for what they have done with their life they have been given.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Here in Amos chapter 4, verse 12 Amos warns Israel to “Prepare to meet thy God.”
Israel is God’s chosen people.
They are loved by God.
When they followed after Him, they prospered and were protected.
When they followed after false gods, God, just like any loving father chastised them to get their attention, and bring them back to the right way.
Before God every sent any kind of chastisement, however, he always sent to them a prophet to warn them and to tell them they needed to change.
He always sent Men of God to warn them.
7 Surely the Lord God will do nothing, But he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
But Israel continued in their path away from God.
Here in Amos 4, we see the second oracle given by Amos to try to get the attention of the people of Israel.
In this prophetic message, there is a message for us today!
Are you prepared to meet your God?
I’m not speaking of your eternal home, those who do not know Christ will stand before Him at the Great White Throne Judgment.
There the books will be opened and if your name is not foudn in the Lamb’s Book of Life, you will be sent to Hell.
The only way to get your name int he Lamb’s Book of Life is to accept Christ as your savior.
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
But when I speak of being prepared to meet your God, I am talking about our appointed time before the Judgment Seat of Christ, where we will give an answer for our life.
Are you prepared to Meet Your God?
I see within this message of warning to Israel four things that God was very interested in.
Four failures of Israel, but four things that we can do to help us be prepared to Meet our God.
We can be prepared to Meet our God by:
I. Being Compassionate
I. Being Compassionate
1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, Which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, Which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.
2 The Lord God hath sworn by his holiness, That, lo, the days shall come upon you, That he will take you away with hooks, And your posterity with fishhooks.
3 And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; And ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the Lord.
in verse 1 we see three wrongs they were committing.
Oppressing the Poor
Crushing the Needy
He begins by speaking directly to the kind of Bashan.
Bashan known as being a very fruitful part of the land.
Full of cattle, that grew fat on the rich vegetation of the area.
Most commentators, and Bible students, believe that Amos is specifically speaking to the wealthy wives of the area.
I know in our culture it is insulting to think of any woman as a heifer, which is the meaning of kine.
But this isn’t an anti-woman statement, but rather a statement on the selfish luxury that was built on oppression of the poor.
The verbs that are used here in verse 1 are participles suggesting habitual activity.
This wasn’t a one time lack of compassion, but a way of life that is being condemned.
Their lack of compassion for those around them was habitual.
This is shown as one of many reasons why they were not prepared to meet their God.
God in response to this swears by His holiness, by His very nature.
Because He is holy, He will act.
And Act He will!
He says that these spoiled, uncompassionate women will be taken away with hooks.
The Assyrian army were well known for leading their captives away by placing hooks through their noses, or their lips and leading them like cattle to their new home.
Verse three talks about them being led out through the breaches - the holes in the walls where their defenses were torn down.
And they will be cast into the palace, that doesn’t sound too bad, until we realize that the word translated palace, is harmon, a foreign palace where they were kept.
Historically, Most do not view this as a luxurious, comfortable location.
Why is compassion so important to God?
Compassion is a show of the very nature of God - Mercy and Graciousness.
6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,
We are built in God’s image, and as such we are expected to reflect His nature in our life and in our actions.
In Greek the word that is used for Compassion is oiktermos,
One of the places we see this word is in:
12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
Here the word is translated in the King James as bowels of mercies, or an inner intensity of mercy.
How is our heart affected when we see the plight of the poor around us, are we moved with compassion, or do we just ignore it.
How are we affected when we see the abandoned and hurting?
Does it move us to action to help them?
William Booth was greatly stirred by the needs of the poor of London, and realized that most churches were doing nothing to reach the “undesirables”—drunkards, morphine addicts, prostitutes, and the poor. He set out to reach them with what he called the 3 S’s: soup, soap and salvation. Thousands were saved among those that most churches had no interest in reaching. Booth gave his life for the cause of reaching others.
In his 80s, Booth’s work began to be hindered by blindness. He briefly lost his sight and then recovered it, but later he lost his vision permanently. His son Bramwell came to bring him the bad news that he would never see again. Booth replied, “God must know best, Bramwell. I have done what I could for God and the people with my eyes. Now I shall do what I can for God and the people without my eyes.”
Are we allowing the suffering to continue around us and continue to benefit from it?
It recently came to my attention by way of the news that a popular sales app, TEMU, is strongly connected to forced labor.
The app is selling products that are being made by slaves in other countries.
I had previously bought a couple of products from this app, knowing it probably wasn’t the best quality, but just wanted to see about it.
But when I read this news article, and realized that many of Christian brothers and sisters who are arrested for serving the Lord in this part of the world, they are forced to labor for their captives.
When we partake in products that we are told have strong links to this kind of thing, we are part of the problem!
I deleted the app from my phone, and I will never use it again!
This is just one area, but when we hear about things like this are we more concerned about the comfort, and the good deals, or are we more concerned about having justice prevail, having compassion in our hearts and actions?
God is concerned about our compassion - having compassion is one way we can be more prepared to meet our God.
The Second thing I see in this chapter that we can be prepared is by:
II. Pure Worship
II. Pure Worship
4 Come to Beth-el, and transgress; At Gilgal multiply transgression; And bring your sacrifices every morning, And your tithes after three years:
5 And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, And proclaim and publish the free offerings: For this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God.
The focus now switches to the religious practices of Israel.
The people were faithful to their worship - they came and brought their sacrifices to Bethel and Gilgal, two famous places of worship and sacrifice in Israel.
But notice a few things, Pure Worship Is
A. Not Self-Applauding
A. Not Self-Applauding
They came often, and regularly to worship, but the focus of their worship was on themselves.
They were bragging about their own contributions, “and proclaim and publish the free offerings...”
They brought the offering, but made sure everyone knew what they brought.
When your worship is focused on yourself more than your God, you are not ready to meet your God.
He will be angry about this hypocrisy!
When we come to church to be heard and seen, more than to hear and see…our heart is wrong and our Worship is tainted!
Secondly we see that their worship was...
Their worship ignored God’s Word, and focused on how they wanted to offer to God.
Verse 5 tells us that they were offering “a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven.”
11 No meat offering, which ye shall bring unto the Lord, shall be made with leaven: for ye shall burn no leaven, nor any honey, in any offering of the Lord made by fire.
Leaven is a symbol of permeation throughout the Bible, whether for good or bad…but is often a sign of sin.
The image here is that their selfishness and self-indulgence has permeated even to their worship and offerings to God.
I wonder if our worship, our offerings to God are done our way, or God’s Way.
God has every right to tell us how to worship Him!
Is your focus more on your feelings, how it makes you feel, or on how it makes God feel?
The sin was self-focus, but then we see that their worship was also...
It was focused on what they wanted and what htey loved.
The last part of Verse 5 says...
For this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God.
This phrase speaks of doing what you like, doing what you love, rather than doing what is God-glorifying.
There is no humility, no sense of awe at being in the presence of God.
It’s just for show, just something to make them feel better.
If this doesn’t describe the average Christian and their church attendance…I don’t know what does!
Most Christians today choose their church based upon worship style or personality of the preacher rather than truly seeking God’s will for their family, where they will be fed, and grow.
People pick all kinds of reasons to stop attending a church.
You want to hear 12 reasons why I don't go to sporting events anymore?
see if you recognize any...
1. Every time I went, they asked me for money. 2. The people sitting in my row didn’t seem very friendly. 3. The seats were very hard. 4. The coach never came to visit me. 5. The referees made a decision I didn’t agree with. 6. I was sitting with hypocrites—they only came to see what others were wearing! 7. Some games went into overtime and I was late getting home. 8. The band played some songs I had never heard before. 9. The games are scheduled on my only day to sleep in and run errands. 10. My parents took me to too many games when I was growing up. 11. Since I read a book on sports, I feel that I know more than the coaches, anyway. 12. I don’t want to take my children because I want them to choose for themselves what sport they like best.
but we need to determine where God wants us and worship Him in humility, and focused upon Him and what He wants.
Worship is not about me…it’s about God!
How can we be prepared to meet God?
By Being Compassionate
By having Pure Worship
We can be prepared to Meet God by...
Amos begins to list the times that God has reached out to them through chastisement, and they would not hear.
Now He is going to have to up the chastisement to get their attention.
6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, And want of bread in all your places: Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
7 And also I have withholden the rain from you, When there were yet three months to the harvest: And I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: One piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.
8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; But they were not satisfied: Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: When your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, The palmerworm devoured them: Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
10 I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: Your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; And I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.
God has been at work among His people.
He begins to tell them eight different times in the first person God claims to be responsible for the things that have happened to them.
How he worked in their lives to get their attention.
1. Cleanness of teeth, and want of bread - No need to wash their teeth, they are clean because there’s nothing to eat.
2. Withheld rain from them.
3. Caused it to rain on one city and withheld it from another…causing them to wander from city to city to get a drink.
4. Caused their lands to be scorched, or water logged and mildewy.
5. When they did have figs and olives begin to grow He sent the palmer worm, a kind of locust that devoured the plants.
6. He used plagues, like they saw in Egypt to get their attention.
7. He caused them to lose battle, and they saw the loss of their sons, and their horses in battle.
8. Cities were overthrown by God’s own hand.
And yet the same statement is made over and over again.... “Yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord.”
I have done all of this to get your attention, to get you to return to me…but you chose not to obey.
They refuse to remember and learn from the past.
It has been said that “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Paul Harvey told the story of the Old man and the Gulls...
It is gratitude that prompted an old man to visit an old broken pier on the eastern seacoast of Florida. Every Friday night, until his death in 1973, he would return, walking slowly and slightly stooped with a large bucket of shrimp. The sea gulls would flock to this old man, and he would feed them from his bucket.
Many years before, in October, 1942, Captain Eddie Rickenbacker was on a mission in a B-17 to deliver an important message to General Douglas MacArthur in New Guinea. But there was an unexpected detour which would hurl Captain Eddie into the most harrowing adventure of his life. Somewhere over the South Pacific the Flying Fortress became lost beyond the reach of radio. Fuel ran dangerously low, so the men ditched their plane in the ocean. For nearly a month Captain Eddie and his companions would fight the water, and the weather, and the scorching sun. They spent many sleepless nights recoiling as giant harks rammed their rafts. The largest raft was nine by five. The biggest shark…ten feet long. But of all their enemies at sea, one proved most formidable: starvation. Eight days out, their rations were long gone or destroyed by the salt water. It would take a miracle to sustain them. And a miracle occurred.
In Captain Eddie’s own words, “Cherry,” that was the B-17 pilot, Captain William Cherry, “read the service that afternoon, and we finished with a prayer for deliverance and a hymn of praise. There was some talk, but it tapered off in the oppressive heat. With my hat pulled down over my eyes to keep out some of the glare, I dozed off.” Now this is still Captain Rickenbacker talking…” Something landed on my head. I knew that it was a sea gull. I don’t know how I knew, I just knew. Everyone else knew too. No one said a word, but peering out from under my hat brim without moving my head, I could see the expression on their faces. They were staring at that gull. The gull meant food…if I could catch it.” And the rest, as they say, is history. Captain Eddie caught the gull. Its flesh was eaten. Its intestines were used for bait to catch fish. The survivors were sustained and their hopes renewed because a lone sea gull, uncharacteristically hundreds of miles from land, offered itself as a sacrifice. You know that Captain Eddie made it. And now you also know…that he never forgot. Because every Friday evening, about sunset…on a lonely stretch along the eastern Florida seacoast…you could see an old man walking…white-haired, bushy-eyebrowed, slightly bent. His bucket filled with shrimp was to feed the gulls…to remember that one which, on a day long past, gave itself without a struggle…like manna in the wilderness.
Here a man remembers the sacrifice of a bird.
And yet how does our life show forth our remembrance of the sacrifice of someone far dearer than a seagull.
Someone who gave His all for us.
Are we living in remembrance?
Remembrance of What He has done for us?
Remembrance of the past challenges we have faced to get our attention and pull us back
Remembrance of the Grace that has come during times of trial.
Remembrance of the importance of returning unto Him!
How can we be ready to meet our God?
By Being Compassionate - living outside of ourselves and seeing the hurting around us, and acting to do something about it.
By Pure Worship - Not how we want to worship, but How He wants us to worship. Not focused on ourselves, but focused on Him!
By Remembering - The challenges we faced, the grace we received and the good things that He has done!
We can prepare to meet our God by
IV. Bowing in Humility
IV. Bowing in Humility
12 Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: And because I will do this unto thee, Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
13 For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, And declareth unto man what is his thought, That maketh the morning darkness, And treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The Lord, The God of hosts, is his name.
A failure to do these preparations will result in the chastisement of God, the same as Isreal faced.
Because you have ignored these things, this is what I will do unto thee, O Israel…prepare to meet thy God…The Lion is Roaring…Judgement is coming.
He then begins to show forth his resume, and says This is Who I AM that brings this judgement.
The result should be our bowing in humility.
We learn from history that this was not the response of Israel.
Will humility be your response?
He that formed the mountains…and by the way can move them… He is the one that is warning!
He that created the wind that we so often fear…He is the one that is speaking!
He that can tell you your very thoughts...
I cannot read your thoughts
and you cannot read mine
We often deny our own thoughts
But God can tell us every one of them!
This is He who is talking!
He that makes the morning into darkness
He that has the power to keep the earth rotating on its axis, and keeps the sunrise and sunset coming.
He is the one Who is trying to get our attention.
The Lord of hosts is His name!
Yaweh, Elohim Saba
The God of the hosts of heaven
The one who controls the army of God.
Mighty, Victorious, Powerful and who always wins....This Is He, who speaks....Are you prepared to meet your God?
Do you know 100% sure that if you died today that you would go to heaven?
If you do not know 100% sure you need to make sure today!
The God the King of Glory, the Almighty Judge will judge every man.
The Great White Throne Judgement will show the one thing that matters…Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?
Your name will only be there, if you have accepted Jesus as your Savior.
We have all sinned!
10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
There is a penalty for that sin!
23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
God offers that free gift of eternal life through Christ if we put our faith in what He has done for us!
But God has paid the penalty for us
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
He has paid the price, we only need to call upon Him!
If you do not know Him as your savior, pray right now, in your own words tell Him that you are a sinner…that you believe He died to pay for your sin…that you are trusting Him and calling on Him right now as your savior.
13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
If you do know 100% sure that Jesus is your Savior…You are a child of God.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
As God’s child, if we disobey…and live in sin…we are not ready to meet our Father.
The sins of Israel are the sins of many Christians today!
Ask the Lord for forgiveness if you have failed Him in these areas.
And pray for Him to help you
Worship Him with Purity
Remember the Lessons from your History
and Bow in Humility before Him
Are you prepared to meet your God
If not, let’s get prepared today!