Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.” So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said. (Amos 7:2,3)
Relate: How do you display mercy without compromising justice? This is the problem Amos was confronted with in the Old Testament. God told Amos, “Israel has sinned and this is what I am going to do about it…” Amos cried out, “Please, no. God, Israel cannot survive Your justice.” So God relented. He said, “I will do this instead…” Again, Amos begged. “God, please spare us. We are too small (weak) to survive Your judgment.” Finally, God said, “Instead of judging the nation, I will judge each individual. I will hang a line to determine the upright. All who are not will face judgment.”
In the Old Testament, this is where the story ends. In heaven, it continued. God looked down and saw that not a single person measured up. There were clearly some people that were living better than others, but not a single person was living upright. No matter how hard they tried, each and every individual fell far too short all too often. The people, all of us, were in desperate need of God’s mercy, but how could it be displayed without God’s justice being compromised.
React: There was a solution, but it did not come in Amos’ time. About seven hundred fifty years would pass before the answer to this quandary would be revealed. The reason for this was because God’s answer was not just for the people of Israel but for the whole world. That answer was God Himself. He laid aside the majesty of heaven and clothed Himself in humanity. He became human to take on Himself the punishment of all humanity so that a God sized wrath could be averted. Jesus was the very first Christmas gift and now all we have to do is unwrap it. Will you do so today?
God, I am so thankful that You have not left me to my own devices. Just as my nation is evil and cannot bear up under the weight of Your justice, neither can I. Just as my culture has so much in conflict with Your truth, so does my heart and mind. No matter how much I might try, I will never measure up to the plumb line of righteousness by which I must be measured. Thank You for taking on Yourself my sin and clothing me with Your righteousness. This if a gift I do not deserve. God, I am so grateful for what You did in coming as that first Christmas gift.