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 Visions of Judgment And Promises Of Restoration - Zac Poonen

WORD FOR THE WEEK 18 February 2007
Christian Fellowship Centre,
40 Da Costa Square, Bangalore 560 084, India
http://www.poonen.org/zac http://www.cfcindia.com
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Visions of Judgment And Promises Of Restoration

Zac Poonen

In Amos 7:1-6, Amos saw visions of a locust-swarm and a
great fire coming to judge Israel. He immediately interceded
for Israel saying, “O sovereign Lord, please don’t do this.
There will be no hope for Israel if you judge them like
that” God listened to Amos and gave up His plans to judge
Israel - twice. This shows us the tremendous power there is
in intercession (Amos 7:6). But prayer according to God’s
will requires that we stand with God where He stands - and
see the seriousness of sin. In Ezekiel’s time later, God did
not find any intercessor (Ezek.22:30). But at this time, He
did find one - Amos who pleaded with God, just as Moses had
pleaded many centuries earlier when God had wanted to
destroy Israel in the wilderness. These prophets were
compassionate men and therefore they were great
intercessors. It was because of these prophets that Israel
was often saved from destruction. But Israel did not value
them.

The Lord then gave Amos a vision of a plumb line and told
him, “I am about to put a plumb line in the midst of My
people Israel – to see if they are straightforward, honest
and upright – I will spare them no longer” (Amos 7:8). God
always tests us by His plumbline to see if we are honest
about our sins.

We then see a confrontation between Amaziah, the priest of
Bethel, (symbolizing a Babylonian “Christian” leader) and
Amos (symbolizing one who builds Jerusalem the true church).
Amaziah went to the king and told him a lie about Amos
saying, “Amos is hatching a plot against you.” False
prophets are quick to spread lies about the true prophets of
God saying, “They are preaching false doctrines. If you
listen to them, it will lead to confusion in your church,”
etc., in order to turn people away from the truth that can
set them free. That happened in Amos’ time, and it has
happened time and again during the last 2000 years in
Christendom. Amaziah told Amos, “You came from Judah to
Israel to preach here. Go back to Judah and earn money
through your preaching there (“eat bread and prophesy
there”- KJV). We have more than enough preachers here and we
don’t want to listen to any of your prophecies here.”

But Amos replied, “Listen, Amaziah, I am not a professional
prophet like you. I didn’t go to any Bible-school to be
trained. I am a shepherd and a farmer. I was looking after
my flock and my fig trees when God came to me one day and
told me to go to Israel and prophesy. That’s why I came
here. I didn’t come here to earn my living or to make money
as a prophet. And now, Amaziah, since you oppose me, the
Lord will judge you. Your wife will become a prostitute in
this city, your sons and daughters will be killed, and you
yourself will die in a foreign land.” (Amos 7:14-17).

It is a dangerous thing to fight against the true prophets
of God.

Then the Lord gave Amos a vision of ripe fruit symbolizing
that Israel was ripe for punishment (Amos 8:2). Why was
Israel being punished? The Lord says, “Listen, you merchants
who rob the poor, trampling on the needy; you who long for
the Sabbath to end and the religious holidays to be over so
you can get out and start cheating again – using your
weighted scales and under-sized measures; you who make
slaves of the poor, buying them for their debt of a piece of
silver or a pair of shoes, or selling them your moldy wheat:
The Lord, the Pride of Israel, has sworn: ‘I won't forget
your deeds! The land will tremble as it awaits its doom, and
everyone will mourn.’” (Amos 8:4-7)

In Amos 8:11,12, we read these prophetic words about the
last days: “There will be a famine in the last days - not a
famine of bread but a famine of the word of the Lord – and
people will wander here and there looking for a word from
the Lord.” We are seeing that famine today. ‘The Word of
God’ refers to the Bible – and there is no shortage of that.
The Bible Society distributes millions of Bibles every year
and the Bible is still the world’s best-selling book. But
here it is speaking about ‘the word of the Lord’ – and that
refers to the prophetic word that comes from God according
to the need of the hour through the mouth of a prophet. The
“word of the Lord” will be rare in the last days. People
will wander everywhere to hear a true prophet - but they
will not be easy to find. So, when you do get an opportunity
to hear a prophetic word from the Lord, pay attention and
listen to it carefully – and take it seriously.

When God judges Israel, those who genuinely fear Him will be
saved: “I have commanded that Israel be sifted by the other
nations as grain is sifted in a sieve, yet not one true
kernel will be lost. But all these sinners who say, `God
will not touch us,' will die by the sword.” Satan has a
sieve with which he seeks to sift God’s children (See
Lik.22:31). But our Lord prays for us and our faith will not
fail.

The Lord then says, "At that time I will rebuild the City of
David, which is now lying in ruins, and return it to its
former glory”(Amos 9:11). This verse is quoted by James (in
Acts 15:16,17), as referring to the building of the church.
If the church is in a ruined state in many places. But the
Lord says, “I will rebuild it.”

And then the time will come when “the plowman will overtake
the reaper” (Amos 9:13). What that means is: We have sowed
much evil in the past, and although we have been forgiven,
yet to some extent we still reap what we have sown. But the
time will soon come when the new things that you are sowing
in your life (after becoming a wholehearted disciple) will
wipe out the things you have been reaping (because of your
past). For example: The dirty thoughts and dreams that have
been plaguing your mind because you read and saw so much
pornography in the past, will gradually be replaced by
thoughts and dreams of spiritual things, because you are now
filling your mind with the word of God. And your life will
be fruitful for God.

What a glorious promise that is! Hallelujah!
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Ian Smith

 2007/2/16 10:31Profile





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