September 9: As the Lion Roars
Amos 1:1–4:5; Acts 8:26–9:19; Job 19:13–29
“Surely my Lord does not do anything unless he has revealed his secret to his servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who is not afraid? My Lord Yahweh has spoken, who will not prophesy? Proclaim to the citadel fortresses in Ashdod and the citadel fortresses in the land of Egypt and say: ‘Gather on the mountains of Samaria and see the great panic in her midst and the oppression in her midst!’ ” (Amos 3:7–9).
It’s easy to make excuses when we don’t know or understand something, and it’s equally hard to admit why. Amos declares that God’s plan and His work in the world are known to us—if we wish to learn. If we’re honest with ourselves, we have to admit that we’re not trying hard enough to learn about Him and His work. God speaks through His prophets and through His Word in the Bible, so there is no reason for us to be unaware of how He is working and how He wants to use us in the process.
What was true for the OT prophets was also true for the apostles. Through Philip, we see how God intimately involves people in His work. An angel tells Philip, “Get up and go toward the south on the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26). It took great faith for Philip to do as the angel instructed. The last part of verse 26 adds, “This is a desert place.” Few people have encountered an angel, as Philip did, but each of us has the opportunity to experience direction from our Lord.
If we ask, God will answer. If we seek to learn how God is speaking, our path will become clear. Often we make this idea more complicated than it should be, but the work of the prophets and the early church demonstrate otherwise: Amos continued to tell of a fate that indeed came to pass, much of it in his lifetime. Philip took that desert road and led an Ethiopian man to Jesus. There is great, enduring hope for us to be part of God’s work if we’re willing to seek His will, listen, and act in faith.
What does God wish for you to know today?
JOHN D. BARRY
Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen at Tekoa, which he saw upon Israel, in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. And he said, The Lord shall roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem, and the dwelling places of the shepherds shall perish, and the top of Carmel shall wither. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron. Therefore will I send a fire into the house of Hazael, and it shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad. I will break also the bars of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitants of Bikeath-Aven: and him that holdeth the scepter out of Beth Eden, and the people of Aram shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they carried away prisoners the whole captivity to shut them up in Edom. Therefore will I send a fire upon the walls of Gaza, and it shall devour the palaces thereof. And I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the scepter from Ashkelon, and turn mine hand to Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord God. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they shut the whole captivity in Edom, and have not remembered thy brotherly covenant. Therefore will I send a fire upon the walls of Tyre, and it shall devour palaces thereof. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn to it, because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast of all pity, and his anger spoiled him evermore, and his wrath watched him [always]. Therefore will I send a fire upon Teman, and it shall devour the places of Bozrah. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border. Therefore will I kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, and with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind. And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn to it, because it burnt the bones of the king of Edom into lime. Therefore will I send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth, and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of a trumpet. And I will cut off the judge out of the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the Lord. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they have cast away the Law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err after the which their fathers have walked. Therefore will I send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. Thus saith the Lord, For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn to it, because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for shoes. The gape over the head of the the poor, in the dust of the earth, and pervert the ways of the meek: and a man and his father will go in to a maid, to dishonor mine holy Name. And they lie down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar: and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their God. Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks: notwithstanding I destroyed his fruit from above, and his root from beneath. Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. And I raised up of your sons for Prophets, and of your mighty men for Nazirites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord? But ye gave Nazarites wine to drink, and commanded the Prophets, saying, Prophesy not. Behold, I am pressed under you as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty save his life. Nor he that handleth the bow shall stand, and he that is swift of foot, shall not escape, neither shall he that tideth the horse, save his life. And he that is of a mighty courage among the strong men, shall flee away naked in that day, saith the Lord. Hear this word that the Lord pronounceth against you, O children of Israel, even against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will visit you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together except they be agreed? Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? or will a lion’s whelp cry out of his den, if he hath taken nothing? Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no fowler is? or will he take up the snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all? Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the Prophets. The lion hath roared: who will not be afraid? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria: so behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof? For they know not to do right, saith the Lord: they store up violence, and robbery in their palaces. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, An adversary shall come even round about the country, and shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled. Thus saith the Lord, As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear: so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed: and in Damascus, as in a couch. Hear, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord God, the God of hosts. Surely in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I also visit the altar shall be broken off, and fall to the ground. And I will smite the winter house with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall be consumed, saith the Lord. Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan that are in the mountains of Samaria, which oppress the poor, and destroy the needy, and they say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. The Lord God hath sworn by his holiness, that lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with thorns, and your prosperity with fish-hooks. And ye shall go out at the breaches every cow forward: and ye shall cast yourselves out of the palace, saith the Lord. Come to Bethel, and transgress: to Gilgal, and multiply transgression, and bring your sacrifices in the morning, and your riches after three years. And offer a thanksgiving of leaven, publish and proclaim the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord God . Amos 1:1–4:5
- Then the Angel of the Lord spake unto Philip saying, Arise, and go toward the South unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is waste. And he arose and went on: and behold, a certain Eunuch of Ethiopia, Candace the Queen of the Ethiopians’ chief Governor, who had the rule of all her treasure, and came to Jerusalem to worship. And as he returned sitting in his chariot, he read Isaiah the Prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near and join thyself to yonder chariot. And Philip ran thither, and heard him read the Prophet Isaiah, and said, But understandest thou what thou readest? And he said, How can I, except I had a guide? And he desired Philip, that he would come up and sit with him. Now the place of the Scripture which he read, was this, He was lead as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth. In his humility his judgment has been exalted: but who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. Then the Eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the Prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same Scripture, and preached unto him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water, and the Eunuch said, See, here is water: what doth let me to be baptized? And Philip said unto him, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. Then he answered, and said, I believe that that Jesus Christ is that Son of God. Then he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the Eunuch, and he baptized him. And as soon as they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the Eunuch saw him no more: so he went on his way rejoicing. But Philip was found at Azotus, and he walked to and fro preaching in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea. And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high Priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the Synagogues, that if he found any that were of that way, (either men or women) he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. Now as he journeyed, it came to pass that as he was come near to Damascus, suddenly there shined round about him, a light from heaven. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying to him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against pricks. He then both trembling and astonied, said, Lord, what wilt thou that I do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou shalt do. The men also which journeyed with him, stood amazed, hearing his voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the ground, and opened his eyes, but saw no man. Then led they him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. Where he was there three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. And there was a certain disciple at Damascus named Ananias, and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here Lord. Then the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and seek in the house of Judas after one called Saul of Tarsus: for behold, he prayeth, (And he saw in a vision a man named Ananias coming in to him, and putting his hands on him, that he might receive his sight.) Then Ananias answered, Lord I have heard by many of how this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem. Moreover here he hath authority of the high Priests, to bind all that call on thy Name. Then the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my Name before the Gentiles, and Kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him, how many things he must suffer for my Name’s sake. Then Ananias went his way, and entered into that house, and put his hands on him, and saith, Brother Saul, the Lord hath sent me (even Jesus that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest) that though mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales, and suddenly he received sight, and arose, and was baptized. And received meat, and was strengthened. So was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. Acts 8:26–9:19
- He hath removed my brethren far from me, and also mine acquaintances were strangers unto me. My neighbors have forsaken me, and my familiars have forgotten me. They that dwell in mine house, and my maids took me for a stranger: for I was a stranger in their sight. I called upon my servant, but he would not answer, though I prayed him with my mouth. My breath was strange unto my wife, though I prayed her for the children’s sake of mine own body. The wicked also despised me, and when I rose, they spake against me. All my secret friends abhorred me, and they whom I loved, are turned against me. My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped with the skin of my teeth. Have pity upon me: have pity upon me, (O ye my friends) for the hand of God hath touched me. Why do ye persecuteth me, as God? and are not satisfied with my flesh? Oh that my word were now written! oh that they were written even in a book, And graven with an iron pen in lead, or on stone forever! For I am sure that my Redeemer liveth, and he shall stand the last on the earth. And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet shall I see God in my flesh. Whom I myself shall see, and mine eyes shall behold, and none other for me, though my reins are consumed within me. But ye said, Why is he persecuted? And there was a deep matter in me. Be ye afraid of the sword: for the sword will be avenged of wickedness, that ye may know that there is a judgment. Job 19:13–29