When am I closest to God – during good times or during bad times? The prophet Amos speaks during a period of prosperity for Israel and Judah. He delivers an angry message of coming judgment because in the midst of growing affluence the people have moved further from God and how God wants them to live. Wouldn’t you think the greater the comfort the closer they would come to God? Not if my life is any indication of the highs and lows of my relationship with God. Somehow it is easier to seek God and follow God’s ways when in distress.
Psalm 80 is a cry for restoration. The people are suffering from the attack of a foreign power. They are now united in their cries to God for help. “Then we will not turn away from you. Revive us and we will call on your name.” (vs 18) And God does, even though God must know their desire for God will only last until prosperity returns. God is patient! Some translations use the words “long suffering”. There will be judgment, often that’s what consequences are, but God never lets go.
Paul senses that the end of his life is near. “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness… and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4:7-8) That’s where I want to be at the end of my life – not in distress, crying for deliverance, but confident that the God have I followed in good times and in bad times has never let go. And I have never let go.
To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (vs 18)
Today’s readings: Amos 1-3; Psalm 80; 2 Timothy 4