The End is Near

photo of brown wooden cross at cliff
 
“Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Amos 5:18-20, 24
 
The end is near! Those four short words will carry different meanings for many who read them. Some will pray that “the end is near” for the pandemic. Others are grateful that “the end is near” (even here) for the current election cycle. But others, especially people of faith, will think of those words in the context of Judgement Day and the return of Christ.
 
Another way to understand those words is to recognize that we are quickly approaching the end of another church year. Immediately after Thanksgiving we begin the new church year with the start of Advent. During these final weeks of the church year, the assigned readings for the week point us toward the end of time as we currently know it.
 
In the Old Testament reading for this week, Amos paints a very bleak picture for Israel, the northern kingdom. They had become very comfortable with themselves and their focus on the God who brought them to the Promised Land had taken a backseat to the cares of life and worship of false gods. The words of Amos are meant to shake them out of their self-satisfaction and return them to a life pleasing to God, a life marked by justice for all and righteous living. We know though that his warning was not heeded, and that in 722 B.C., Israel was defeated, scattered, and never returned to anything like they had been.
 
It might be easy for us to look back to that time and think how foolish God’s people were. But can we say with a sincere heart that we are always better? Think about our nation. Think about how far we as a country have strayed from our Christian roots. Think about how many churches have caved in to the social pressures of our day and bowed down to worship the false humanism of our time. How much better are we, really?
 
Amos called the people of his day to not rely on themselves, but instead to return to the Lord, to repent, to trust in Him, to live lives that reflected the love and mercy of God. This same call should be heard by each of us today as the Day of the Lord draws ever closer.
 
Prayer: Lord, as Your beloved children, we thank You that we need not fear that last great day, that we need not fear standing before Your judgment seat based on our own goodness. We know that we will stand before You confidently clothed in the righteousness of Christ our Savior and that alone is our hope and salvation. Thank You for this precious gift of grace in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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