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The prophet Amos interceded for the nation with these words:
“O Lord God, forgive, I beg you!
How can Jacob stand?
He is so small!” (Amos 7.2 and 5)
An arrogant, rebellious nation was under the punishment of God and Amos feared for the future. With great love for God’s people, he appealed to God’s mercy and spoke of the people as “small.”
Like little foolish children, God’s people had turned away from him. Amos begged for forgiveness and mercy.
In Amos’ case, God forgave the people but told Amos that he was placing a plumb line amid the people.
Out of love God gave the world Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Deuteronomy 5) to help us fulfill his two great commands to love God with our whole heart and our neighbors as ourselves.
Like a carpenter’s plumb line God used the Ten Commandments to demonstrate whether his people lived according to his prescriptions or not.
Isaiah’s Plumb Line
Isaiah dropped the plumb line of God’s principles before the people. His measurement revealed a serious foundational issue between God’s will and the people’s behavior.
Isaiah listed ways that God’s people were out of alignment with his principles.
Their feet run to evil,
and they rush to shed innocent blood;
their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity,
desolation and destruction are in their highways.
The way of peace they do not know,
and there is no justice in their paths.
Their roads they have made crooked;
no one who walks in them knows peace. (Isaiah 59.7-8)
Like a leaning block wall, when society is so far out of line with God’s purposes, it is bound to suffer ruin.
Please evaluate American society by holding Isaiah’s message alongside today’s news.
Please imitate Amos and ask for mercy. Our nation is filled with grown, but small-minded children who need God’s correction and guidance. We can join together to ask God for his mercy and grace.
Groping in the Dark
President Lyndon Johnson once said, “Anyone can point out the problems of America. The problem is with finding solutions.”
What Johnson said in the 1960s is even more applicable to the age in which we live.
Even the best thinkers of our generation seem to grope like blind men for answers.
Therefore justice is far from us,
and righteousness does not reach us;
we wait for light, and lo! there is darkness;
and for brightness, but we walk in gloom.
We grope like the blind along a wall,
groping like those who have no eyes;
we stumble at noon as in the twilight,
among the vigorous as though we were dead. (Isaiah 59.9-10)
Over 150 million people voted in the last election. Facing the inconvenience of a long voting line, someone could easily say, “Why vote? What is one vote among so many?”
A reader of my blog article may be tempted to say, “Why pray? What difference can my prayer make with so many problems that seem beyond hope?”
Far more than the tabulation of your vote is the importance of your prayer. History is filled with answers to prayer by a few people for the correction of nations.
Before the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, a band of intercessors walked through Lenin’s tomb and prayed one simple prayer. They prayed about Communism with this intercessory declaration, “May no fruit ever grow from you again.”
Not long after that prayer experience, the Berlin Wall fell.
We may not know the answers to the nation’s problems, but we know the God who does. Again, let’s imitate Amos and ask for mercy on God’s small and self-blinded children.
The Root Problem
Injustice and oppression are the results of humans assuming a role that is reserved for God alone. Instead of trusting their lives to the guidance of a loving Lord, they exert their self-interest over the concerns of others.
A broken relationship with God is revealed by transgression, the belief that God’s guide-rails don’t apply to us.
When we believe that our self-interest is more important than God’s direction, we will deny him and turn away from following him.
When we ignore God’s plumb line of direction, society’s “wall” will lean toward dishonesty, oppression, and revolt. If not corrected, the “wall” will fall to our destruction.
For our transgressions before you are many,
and our sins testify against us.
Our transgressions indeed are with us,
and we know our iniquities:
Transgressing, and denying the Lord,
and turning away from following our God,
talking oppression and revolt,
conceiving lying words and uttering them from the heart. (Isaiah 59.12-13)
When God lowered his plumb line to measure a nation against his revealed will, he did so out of love. The desired effect of the prophet’s message was for correction and not destruction.
God’s answer to the prayer for mercy by Amos was that God graciously dropped his plumb line amid the nation.
The plumb line allowed humans to see how far they were from living according to his principles that brought life to the nation.
Readers of my blog can both pray and return to God’s direction. Your response to God will make a difference.
Join me in repeating the words of Amos for America.
“O Lord God, forgive, I beg you!
How can we stand?
We are so small!”
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I have a video that accompanies this blog article. You can see it on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.