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Our Ever-flowing Stream

August 17, 2017

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Our Ever-flowing Stream

The Bible is filled  with the preaching  of many different prophets,  who were not listened to.     God commanded them  to keep right on preaching  —  because there might be a few  who would listen  and repent.     God let each  of those prophets know  about an upcoming judgment  from the LORD,  and wanted all the people  to have a fair warning.

Amos was one  of those prophets.     Amos had been a shepherd  in Judah,  but God commanded him  to go through all  of the northern kingdom of Israel  and warn them  about the judgment  they would get  for their sinful lives  and hypocritical worship.

Israel had been taking part  in all  of the religious festivals  commanded by God  and they went through the rituals  of making sacrifices,  but God was not pleased  with them  because they refused  to live  in a God-pleasing manner.     Here is what God said  in Amos 5:21-27,

“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.

Did you present Me  with sacrifices  and grain offerings  in the wilderness  for forty years,  O house of Israel?     You also carried along  Sikkuth your king  and Kiyyum,  your images,  the star  of your gods  which you made  for yourselves.

Therefore,  I will make you go  into exile  beyond Damascus,”  says the LORD,  whose name is  the God  of hosts.

It soon happened  that the Assyrians came  and defeated Israel,  taking most of them  into exile.     The word of God preached  through the shepherd, Amos,  came true.

In this warning,  God hated  and rejected all  of their festivals  and worship services.     All their pretentiously joyful songs  of worship  were worthless efforts  because the people  also continued  to live in sexual sins,  cheating,  bribery,  enslaving their fellow countrymen,  abusing the poor,  and making a mockery  of God  through their idolatry.

The Israelites  would have been pleasing  in God’s sight  if they had,  “let justice roll down  like waters  and righteousness  like an ever-flowing stream.”

The justice God wanted them  to live out  would have made life pleasant  for everyone  in Israel.     With justice  the poor  would not have been enslaved,  sexual sins  would not have created  unnecessary problems,  honesty  would have replaced  cheating and bribery  —  justice  would have brought peace  and happiness  to all.

God also wanted righteousness  to be like an ever-flowing stream.     What did He mean by that?     God has a very special way  of defining  and reckoning  righteousness.     Paul describes  God’s righteousness  in Romans 4:3-8,

For what does the Scripture say?     “And Abraham believed God,  and it was reckoned  to him  as righteousness.”

Now  to the one  who works,  his wage  is not reckoned  as a favor  but as what is due.     But  to the one  who does not work,  but believes  in Him  who justifies the ungodlyhis faith  is reckoned  as righteousness,   just as David also speaks  of the blessing  upon the man  to whom God reckons  righteousness apart  from works:

Blessed are those  whose lawless deeds  have been forgiven,  and whose sins  have been covered.     Blessed is the man  whose sin  the LORD will not take  into account.

So,  what God wants  from each of us  is “an ever-flowing stream  of faith  in Him  to justify us  through the forgiveness  Jesus has earned  for us  on the cross.

When we realize  the love  God has for us  in Jesus Christ,  and put our faith  in the LORD’s promises  —  because He has proven Himself  to be faithful  —  we will have “an ever-flowing stream”  of righteousness  from God.

Not only will we be forgiven  of all our sins,  but our love  for God  will lead us  to practice  the kind of justice  that is pleasing  to our LORD.

When God reminded the Israelites  of their hypocrisy  in Amos 5:21-27  above,  He shows  how there is no honest spirituality  in worshiping many gods,  and yet,  claiming  to also worship  the one and only true God.     Because the Israelites had actually experienced  many miracles  from God  in their rescue  from slavery  in Egypt,  they should have had the decency  to let that truth  lead them  in living  God-pleasing lives.

Living in truth  is uppermost  in true spirituality.     That is what God desires  from each of us  today.

As we study all  of God’s word  and see how faithful  He has been  down through the ages,  we will say,  “Hallelujah!     The LORD’s faithfulness  makes us really live.”

Love,
Margaret

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A Christian devotional  to glorify  the LORD of lords  and GOD of gods.

Pray for our country.

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The LORD  made this day, let us rejoice  and be glad  in Him.

Psalm 118:24

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The word of the LORD is tried;

He is a shield  to all  who take refuge  in Him.

Psalm 18:30

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Sing for joy  in the LORD,  O you righteous ones;

Praise is becoming  to the upright.

Psalm 33:1

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How blessed are those  who dwell  in Thy house!

They are ever praising Thee.

Psalm 84:4

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Just as a father  has compassion  on his children,

So the LORD  has compassion  on those who fear Him.

Psalm 103:13

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O give thanks  to the LORD,  for He is good;

For His lovingkindness  is everlasting.

Psalm 107:1

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Glory in His holy name;

Let the heart  of those who seek the LORD  be glad.

Psalm 105:3

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Not that I have already obtained it,  or have already  become perfect,   but I press on  in order that  I may  lay hold  of that  for which also  I was laid hold of  by Christ Jesus.

Philippians 3:12

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