May 12, 2015
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 12 May 2015
The words of the prophet Amos communicate an important truth. Amos stated several times in his prophecy that the words he spoke were the very words of God who chose him to proclaim the message. You and I will not be inspired by God (as Amos was); however, through diligent and prayerful preparation, we need to be certain that our actions and thoughts are in obedience to the revealed and living Word of God, and not simply our own perspectives on the issues of the day or whatever we may experience in life. The truth of this statement is especially true with regard to those that God installs providentially as leaders (cf. Prov 8:15; Dan 2:21; 4:17; John 19:11; Rom 13:1).
At his first inauguration on 30 April 1789, our nation’s first President, George Washington, placed his right hand upon the Holy Bible. Following his acceptance of the oath of office, he added, “So help me God.” In his inaugural address, Washington confessed his fervent prayers to God, “who presides in the Councils of Nations, and whose providential aids can supply every human defect, [and] his benediction [consecrates] the liberties and happiness of the People of the United States. . . .” We are wise to acknowledge the providence of God, and therefore, to obey his will, to be grateful for his provisions, and to seek his blessing with humility.
Crucial it is for us to understand that God’s divine commands are always met with God’s divine provisions. God’s provision is declared in 1 Timothy 2:4 (“who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”). God’s desire is not only salvation but also “knowledge of the truth.” According to Psalm 19, God has provided general revelation in creation and special revelation through his inspired Word (cf. Ps 138:2; John 14:6). “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Ps 46:1), and thus it is not an understatement to say that our lives depend upon the Lord (Amos 5:4, 6).
God’s Word is readily available in our nation today to nourish us “on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine” (1 Tim 4:6). “But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim 1:5). Scripture reminds God’s people that their minds are renewed through its revealed truths. Sanctification is the result of systematic study of Scripture and the application of its truths to our lives.
The vision of the Lord speaking “beside the altar” (Amos 9:1) reveals that God’s judgment is entirely consistent with his character. God has power to accomplish all that He desires. The biblical doctrines of creation and providence are not abstract theories. The positive truth of these doctrines is that God’s people may truth their lives to Him, knowing that the Lord will guide them throughout their lives and complete the good work He has begun (Rom 8:28; Phil 1:6). The negative truth of these doctrines is that God is the Creator and Lord of History, who will punish those who disobey and despise his Word.
The concluding verses of Amos’ prophecy are splendid. The contrast to the warning of judgment is consistent with Amos’ emphasis upon the faithfulness of God and the hope that belongs to those who trust in Him (Amos 4:12; 5:14-15, 24; 7:2, 5). The Lord who roars from Zion is emphasized at the beginning and the end of the message (1:2; 9:5-6). The point is that God is faithful to his promises (cf. Isa 11—12; 24; 35; Ezek 40—48; Zeph 3:14-20; Zech 14). The message is consistent with God’s own nature. The God whose words are recorded in Scripture is the Lord of creation and history.
The Lord has spoken; it is our responsibility and benefit to understand and heed that message. History will not climax into nothingness; rather, it will become the continual relationship of God with his people in the new heaven and new earth (Rev 21—22). The Lord is faithful to complete his purposes in history (Amos 9:11-12) and to restore his people and creation (9:13-15). God is faithful to restore, which will not only affect Israel but also all nations. Hope is always a possibility, but it is for those whose confession is “so help me God,” and then live by God’s grace and for his glory.
Your Missionary to Georgia's Leaders,
Ron J. Bigalke, Ph.D.
Capitol Commission Georgia