Amos 5: 6-7, 10-15 (NIV)
6 Seek the Lord and live,
or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire;
it will devour them,
and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness
and cast righteousness to the ground.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court
and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor
and impose a tax on their grain.
Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,
you will not live in them;
though you have planted lush vineyards,
you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses
and how great your sins.
There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times,
for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph.
Whenever I’m upset with something, or God has really got me angry, I force myself to go back to one of my first house group memories that I ever attended as a young Christian. There were four of us, all boys, and it was hosted by a lovely older man and woman, faithful to Christ alone, who made us soup and fresh bread, and pancakes, sweet tea, and cold Irn Bru.
And we discussed a lot of stuff that went on in the lives of young teenage men. Looking back sometimes it was raw and honest. I’m not sure I’d say those things again but I’m glad I did. Yet during all the talk, what that couple were doing was discipling us. Helping us draw from the deep waters of the well of God. Pulling on his goodness by the bucket-load, quenching our thirst for answers.
“He will have compassion on whom he has compassion, he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy,” they’d say, quoting Romans 9 before they’d take us to the throne in prayer.
What they really meant was that despite everything we saw in the world: the sweeping injustices, the political inequity, the offences of our sins, the disgrace of our bitterness, God himself had bestowed — by his own design — his mercy and compassion on us.
And I tell you, my chains were gone, and my heart was free.
it seems all we are and do
is designed to test your love to the limit
And yet you go on loving
in your breath-taking
I hear your voice
carrying crystal clear over all the worldly noise
reaffirming life and presence
A focal point in infinity
specially designed for us all.