Seeing It As It Is

Pastor Mike will be speaking on Seeing It As It Is. He will be reading out of Amos 7:1-17.

God is calling you and I to be intercessors not only for one another as we’re praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ but he is calling us to intercede for our nation and there’s nothing wrong with loving this nation because I’m tired of hearing the narrative that there’s something wrong with loving our nation.

Broadcasting all the way from Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. This is Hope Worth Having Radio. This is Pastor Mike Sanders. Thank you for tuning in today and we’re excited to be back in the book of Amos.

We’re in chapter 7 and we’re gonna talk about seeing it as it is. The Bible says we see dimly so we don’t always see clearly but it’s important for us to see clearly what God is saying to us and we can allow things in this world different priorities or even sin in our life to cloud our judgment and our ability to see it as it is.

So let’s get into the Bible and learn more about that. Well if you have your Bible I want you to join me in the book of Amos this morning as we’re continuing our study in this great book and we are in chapter 7 this morning.

Just another recap if you will in the book of Amos. The book of Amos is found in the minor prophet section of the Old Testament. It does not mean that in any way that Amos was some sort of a minor prophet in value or that he was lesser than any of the other prophets it’s just really an indication of the length of the book or the letter that he prophesied to the nation of Israel.

The setting is about 760 BC and of course Israel has fallen out of line with God so God gives a number of messages to Amos and he tells him to share it with the people. Now in chapters 1 through 6 those messages of judgment from Amos were given to the people.

Now we come to chapter 7, and from chapter 7 all the way to chapter 9, verse 10, we are going to be reviewing and looking at Amos’s five visions that he received from God. Then in the final section of chapter 9, we’ll see the five promises that God has.

Now don’t worry, we’re not going to try to cover all that today. We’re just covering chapter 7 this morning, but I want you to understand the big picture as you are tracking through the book of Amos.

I hope maybe some of you are even doing your own personal study, and you’re adding more to what you’re learning as you gather together as God’s people to hear the Word of God taught. What I want you to note about the man Amos is that he was a true patriot who loved God and he loved his nation.

And that’s why I want to say there is nothing wrong with loving this nation. And we live in times where people want to belittle this nation. And I’m not saying this nation has always been perfect and this nation hasn’t had her issues, but I’m thankful that we live in a nation that has been willing to own that and correct that and make the proper changes to that.

We understand our founding fathers had a desire to live in a nation where people could live in freedom. Does that mean that every founding father was a righteous person or that every founding father had a faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

Absolutely not. We know Ben Franklin was a man who was a deist and he believed in a God. He grew up in a very strong Christian home. He wrote letters to his sister acknowledging the Christian training that he received as a child.

She was a strong believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But Ben Franklin just believed that there was a God, but he had no involvement in the affairs of what was happening in this world. He certainly believed that the teachings of Christ were good moral teachings and in many times in his writings, he encouraged them and he emulated them in his writings.

But that does not take away our responsibility to be a person who loves God and loves our nation. And just because every person wasn’t perfect and everything at the outset of the nation wasn’t perfect doesn’t mean that you and I cannot be those who have a great concern for our nation.

What brings Amos to where he is in that he has been called of God to deliver this message from God to the people of God is that he has been grieved in his heart about the spiritual condition of the nation of Israel.

That he has been touched by the hand of God with a burden the nation is going in the wrong direction. Amos, being a prophet of God, was not ashamed or afraid to tell the people of God that judgment was coming and that this judgment was imminent and that the only thing that could hold back the judgment of God is if the people would respond in repentance and faith towards God.

So as we examine this chapter this morning we really just divide it into two sections and the first section we say this is where the real action is. Who is pulling the strings? We ultimately know that it is God but in verses 1 through 9 that’s what we need to understand that it is God who is at work and it is God who is trying to bring to His people The understanding that they need to change directions in their spiritual lives.

The Book of Amos is a book of warnings. It is a book of eminent judgment. It’s not a book of great encouragement. Like when we did a study in 2 Corinthians. That was encouraging every time. But as we come to the Book of Amos, it stands as a warning for all of us.

Individually, personally, where are we at spiritually in our life? But also it stands as a message of warning to our nation. Not that in any way that we believe that America is a replacement of Israel.

But we can learn from the failures of others. And we can see that here is a nation chosen of God. That God would use so uniquely in bringing the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to each of our hearts.

That if that nation would reject God and that if that nation would disobey God. And if that nation would embrace indulgence and forget those who are in need. And God would judge them how much more in a nation like America.

That if we forget God, if that in our prosperity all we do is indulge in what we have. And we don’t think about the needs of others. And we forget the poor. And we do not let justice reign. Not only in our hearts, but in our actions.

How much more would God judge us? How much more would God bring the hammer down on us and say, You must repent and turn. And if you don’t, these things are imminent. Now when we come to Amos chapter 7, we see at the outset that this message again is a vision from God.

And it is a message from God. Look at chapter 7 verse 1. God showed me. Jump down to verse four. Thus the Lord God showed me. Look at verse seven. Thus he showed me. So in the Old Testament, God had revealed to his prophets what his intentions, his plans were, apart from the people repenting, apart from the people turning away from their sin.

So the first thing that we see is the locusts. And we’re gonna see that in verse one through three. And as we read verse one through three, we’re gonna see that God is at work in creation, that God uses all that he has created to bring about his purposes.

Look again at verse one. Thus the Lord God showed me. Behold, he formed locusts swarms at the beginning of the late crop. Indeed, it was the late crop after the king’s mowings. And so it was when they had finished.

eating the grass of the land that I said,” now this is Amos responding to the vision. “‘O Lord God, forgive, I pray. “‘O that Jacob may stand, for he is small.’ “‘So the Lord relented concerning this.

“‘It shall not be,’ said the Lord.” So the vision that Amos receives at the outset is one of locusts, and these were insects that would travel in swarms and they would just take over the crops and they would devastate the crops as they would eat the crops.

Now he refers here too, that it would be in the late crop after the king’s mowing, so it’s simply this, the farmers would harvest the first fruits of their crops and that was dedicated to the king, meaning that it was taxes that they had to pay and that’s what the leftover crops were for the farmers to use, that they could sell in the market or they could use for their own personal benefit.

And here he’s saying is that after what they’ve already given to the king, after what they’ve already harvested to take to the king to pay their taxes, that this is what’s left, this is all that they have, and this is their means of surviving, that God was going to send locusts to destroy the crops.

Now what I want you to note, that the Bible says in verse one, behold he, referring to the Lord God, which is the sovereign God, that he formed the locust swarms. We don’t like to think that somehow natural disasters could be a work of God in creation.

We don’t like to think that somehow that something so devastating and destructive would be at theā€¦ hand of God. But it is. It is. And when we see all that’s taking place, sometimes a lot of people push back and they don’t like us thinking in these terms, but I want you to know that God is always at work in everything that is happening in this world.

And even if it is a creation where he is using nature, he’s using the insects to bring about something, to bring a judgment upon the nation. And the purpose is to wake up. That there are many who have hit the snooze button in their spiritual life.

There are many who are asleep and they are not alert nor aware of where they are at spiritually in their life. And they do not sense that they’re drifting and God is sending through his creation, wake up calls.

More importantly, wake up calls to his people. Jesus said in John 5 17 that my father is working until now and I am working and the implication in the New Testament Greek is simply this that he is continually working that the father through the son is continuing working and for us to be of the Mindset that somehow this just happened or that just happened and and really there’s no message behind it And let’s just be apathetic towards it my friends.

You are missing out On what God is trying to communicate You and I have seen our nation go through tragedy after tragedy after tragedy and within a few months Everybody’s back to their apathetic careless life Do what I want?

No focus on Christ No focus on his ministry or his message What we are experiencing in our nation is a call to wake up It is a call for us to turn to God now in Amos’s vision the judgment of God is expressed in the plague of locust and When Amos sees this vision he is overwhelmed by the vision Come back with me in verse 2 and notice that this is his prayer.

Oh Lord God now stop there Again, he is saying Oh Sovereign God the one who works through creation God who is in control and God who is in charge. He doesn’t blame God He doesn’t get angry at God He doesn’t say that somehow God you missed out on this and you didn’t see this coming But Lord we understand no he he recognized God as being sovereign.

Oh Lord God Forgive I pray. Oh He is small what we see here is the tenderness of Amos’s heart as he pleads with God for his nation. He is pleading, he is interceding on behalf of the nation. He is interceding on behalf of the people of God, and he is trying to communicate to God that he has a tenderness towards them, and he is calling on God to forgive them.

I want you to look at verse five. Again, we see Amos interceding on behalf of the nation. He says, oh Lord, God, seeth, I pray. God is calling you and I to be intercessors, not only for one another, as we’re praying for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but he is calling us to intercede for our nation.

And if ever there was a time that there needs to be a mighty army of prayer warriors, who will rise up and they will pray out of love for God and love for this nation. And there’s nothing wrong with loving this nation.

And I keep saying it to you because I’m tired of hearing the narrative that there’s something wrong with loving our nation. There’s not. You can love God. He is supreme. He is number one. God is in charge.

He is control. He is trying to awaken this nation. But as we see all that is happening within, we pray that God would bless our nation with forgiveness. Not that we are worthy of forgiveness, but we are praying for God to bring forgiveness and not just on a national level, but we are even praying for our families, aren’t we?

We are praying that God would intercede and that he would step in and he would awaken the hearts of our children and the hearts of our grandchildren and the hearts of our parents and the hearts of our family members.

And we desire that God would grant them forgiveness in their hearts. This should be where we are at. This tenderness, this compassion that Amos has. The psalmist said, and for their sake he remembered his covenant and relented according to the multitude of his mercies.

Look at verse three. The Bible says the Lord relented concerning this. He heard the prayer of his prophet. He heard the prayer of this intercessor. He heard the prayer of this man of God who reached out to the heavens with his prayers and he beseeched the throne of grace and he pleaded for the mercy of God and the forgiveness of God.

And the Bible says that the Lord relented. Now the King James translation says he repented. Doesn’t mean that God ever had to repent of any sin, certainly not, but the Hebrew root has the idea is not that God changed his mind, but he changed course.

He changed courses and God does. not ever change his mind because he is the same today as he is yesterday. He is the same today as he will be tomorrow. The scriptures teach us that God is immutable, meaning that he never changes.

He never changes in who he is. He is always a holy God. He is always a loving God. He is a God who has compassion. He is a God who brings righteousness and justice into our lives. He is a God in his character, in his nature, in his attributes.

He will never change. But when he sees the people of God or he sees an individual willing to repent and turn to him, he will change course. He will relent. The imminent judgment of God is upon a person’s life.

The Bible teaches us that when we do not believe in Christ as our Lord and Savior, that the condemnation of God hangs over our life. But when we give our life to the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bible teaches us that we are no longer under his condemnation, but we are under the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Can God’s people say amen? And that is something that we can be thrilled and excited about? That we have the privilege to experience? What I want you to note in this passage is that God relented concerning this, and he said to Amos, it shall not be.

Praise the Lord. This is why the Apostle Paul said that he had the ministry of reconciliation, and that he spent his time trying to persuade others to come to Christ, to leave the world, to leave their sin, and to leave their selfishness, and to turn towards the Lord Jesus Christ for true salvation.

This should be our heart, that we know that we have a merciful and compassionate God, and the Bible teaches us that if anyone knocks out that door, that he will open that door, he will allow them to come in into fellowship with him, and he will have sweet fellowship with them, and they with him, and they can have a wonderful relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible tells us that whoever calls in the name of the Lord shall be saved. The Bible tells us that whoever believes on him shall have everlasting life. I’m thankful for a whosoever gospel. I’m thankful for any person can come to the Lord Jesus Christ.

They can find true salvation, and that though they are under the condemnation of God, at the moment that their heart is humbled before God, then they receive Christ as their savior, that he remembers his covenant, and he relents according to the multitude of his mercies.

You say, well pastor, what kind of a covenant do we have with God? the covenant of the Lord extends beyond the nation of Israel. The covenant of the Lord was confirmed and sealed at the cross in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

And though we were not worthy or trustworthy to even be a part of this deal, Jesus Christ sacrificed his very life and gave it for us and he made a covenant with God and that covenant is simply this, Christ paid the price for our sins and if you believe in Jesus Christ that what he accomplished on the cross for you and I, it’ll be applied to our life and we are now in the family of God and we are a part of the forever family of God because not of what we have done, not what we kind of list we keep or don’t keep, but because of everything that Jesus Christ did on the cross can God’s people say amen.

So where is the real action? It is in the work of creation. God is at work. The second thing we see, and I’ve gotta hustle, is the fire. In verses four through six, Amos has a vision of the fire. But I want you to know that God is at work in the fire.

Thus the Lord God showed me. Behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire, and it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory. Then I said, oh Lord God, cease, I pray. Oh that Jacob may stand, for he is small.

The leaders of Israel and Judah thought of themselves as mighty and strong. The prophet knew that as he prayed, that there’s no way they could handle the judgment of God. They could not handle the locusts.

They could not handle the judgment of the fire upon their land. What in essence this is teaching us is that God was gonna bring a devastating drought. He was gonna cause the water supplies to dry up, and there was gonna be fire everywhere that would devour the land.

You and I know that there are times that there are fires in our land. We write them off as mistakes of human behavior. But many times I wonder if God is not at work in the fire. If he is not trying to send a message to this nation.

We have a God who is sovereign 11 times, from chapter seven through chapter nine, the phrase Lord God is used, which refers to the sovereign God. It is used 11 times to help us note that even in the judgment, even in the application of judgment, even in God consuming the land with fire, that he is still in control and he is still in charge.

But listen to me my friends, God is always at work. He is working behind the scenes. He is either causing or he is allowing. And whatever God caused and whatever God allows, it is for his purposes. It is for his justice.

It is for him. his cause that he would bring about these things and the ultimate purpose is that we as a nation and we as a people and we as a church would turn to God and be fully devoted followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Think about this my friends. God is in total charge of all of nature and he desires that even though things may happen in his judgments that we would bring praise and glory to him that we would always lift him up as the one who is in control.

If we would quit writing off all these tragedies that are happening in our nation and just chalk them up to this or that and we would start recognizing that the mighty hand of God is behind this, how many lives would turn to God.

Rather than jumping on conspiracy theories and jumping into conversations about political debate. Why not bring the conversation to a spiritual conversation that says that behind no matter whatever has happened and whoever might be up to whatever they might be up to that we have an Almighty God who is the Lord God who is the sovereign God who is in charge of all and he is either Allowing or causing all things that are happening and that he is the one who is calling us back to him You and I have a great opportunity.

We are called to be a light in a perverse generation We are called to stand up for Christ We are called to speak up for the Lord Jesus Christ and what we need to do is to use these Conversations that everybody’s all been out of shape about and we need to keep pointing people to the Lord Jesus Christ We need to keep pointing them that God is calling us not just those who are outside the church or those who do not believe But he’s calling those within the church those who are believers Who maybe have embraced immaturity and they have embraced apathy and they’ve decided that they will be a slackard for the Lord and that they’ll just kind of coast into heaven and make it by the skin of their teeth that God is Desiring that our hearts would be renewed and that we would be revived and that we would be passionate for the Lord Jesus Christ Now what I note about Amos is that he was an intercessor Abraham of old was an intercessor when God said that he was going to bring judgment upon Sodom and Gomorrah Abraham started praying to God They said Lord if I could just find 50 and he kept negotiating with the Lord and the Lord said man If you could find 10 in this nation if you could find 10 people in Sodom and Gomorrah We remember God was going to judge Israel as they were stubborn and stiff -necked the Bible says After God had delivered them out of of slavery, and he had brought them across the Red Sea.

The people complained because the food wasn’t cooked right. It came down from heaven. It was a little chilly maybe. It maybe wasn’t exactly the way they wanted, and they were complaining, and Moses about had it with these people.

And God said, I’ll just wipe them out. And the compassion of the Lord moved upon the heart of Moses, and the Bible says he interceded for the people. You and I have many examples in the We have examples even here today in the life of Amos.

What I want you to note that many times through the result of those praying that God withholds his wrath and his anger. He pulls back and goes a different direction on his judgment. I’m challenging you to be an intercessor for your family today.

I’m challenging you to be an intercessor for our nation. Who knows what the Lord might do? Amos prayed for forgiveness. Amos prayed that God would cease. Notice verse six, the Bible says the Lord relented concerning this.

This also shall not be said, the Lord God. The scriptures teach us in James 5, 16 that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man, and we could put person there as well, but the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, which simply means this, it accomplishes a lot.

You say, well, I don’t always see. It may not be that God is answering your prayer by what you see, but what you don’t see. It may be that the hand of God was getting ready to be swift in his judgment, but because of your prayers interceding for your child or for your family, that the Lord relented.

And the Lord chose a path of grace and compassion and mercy because of your prayers. You say, pastor, I’ve been praying forever. That’s no reason to stop. We keep praying for our loved ones, don’t we?

We keep praying for people we have a burden for. We’re still praying for that coworker we wanna see come to Christ. We’re still praying for that family member. We’re still praying that somehow God will work effectively, and we know that he can.

The third vision that Amos sees in verse seven through nine is what is referred to as the plumb line. We saw that God was at work in creation through the locust. We saw that God was at work in the fire.

Now we see that God is at work in history. In verses seven through nine, it’s a little bit different scenario in this vision. The Bible says, thus he showed me, behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line with a plumb line in his hand.

And the Lord said to me, Amos, what do you see? God was not asking questions, but now he is. Amos said, and I said a plumb line. Then the Lord said, behold, I am setting. a plumb line in the midst of my people, Israel.

I will not pass by them anymore. The high places of Isaac shall be desolate and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.” A plumb line is used to measure how straight walls were to be. And so what he is using this as a metaphor and as an example, and he’s saying, what do you see Amos in this vision that I am showing you?

And he says, I see a wall, I see a plumb line, and he is saying, look, here is what I’m going to do, is that I am putting a measuring stick, I am putting a standard upon the nation of Israel, and my expectation is that they will live up to that standard.

You say, what is the plumb line for me? As a believer, it is God’s standard, it is his word, it is his commands, it is his will, it is his purpose for his people. Seeing it as it is, be careful that you don’t get caught up or distracted with the different voices of the world, but that you are clearly hearing what Jesus is saying to you through His word and that you are focused like a laser and being committed to His cause, His purpose.

That’s what matters most. All this other stuff is just a sideshow by the devil. We are called to advance the kingdom of Christ by sharing the gospel and encouraging our brothers and sisters in Christ.

So see it as it is and don’t be afraid to be bold and strong in your faith. This is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth having.

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