"For three sins of Damascus, even for four..." - Amos 1:3; "For three sins of Gaza, even for four..." - Amos 1:6; "For three sins of Tyre, even for four..." - Amos 1:9; "For three sins of Edom, even for four..." - Amos 1:11; "For three sins of Ammon, even for four..." - Amos 1:13;
Just in case anyone thought the bible wasn't repetitive, Amos decides to make it blatantly obvious. For the first two chapters (yes, I omitted some of them in the quote[s] of the day), Amos lists the sins of more nations than anyone cared to hear about, and their subsequent punishments. As a side note, shouldn't it read "For four sins, even for three"? If God says you're going to be punished for three sins, it goes without saying that you'll be punished for four.
I have nothing to say about these chapters that I haven't said before. Largely because everything in these first two chapters has been said before. Unfortunately, the next few chapters aren't any better.
God starts out chapter 3 by saying that since the Israelites are the chosen people that they'll be judged for all their sins. I see no advantage to being God's chosen people, especially since there has been no mention of heaven yet. The rest of the chapter is filled with metaphors about roaring lions being like God, I'm sure C.S. Lewis loved that one.
The entirety of chapter 4 is God listing all of the punishment he's given to Israel, and how they have still not returned to him. Are you sensing a theme here, God? I think punishing the Israelites over and over again, then sending seemingly insane people as your messengers isn't working. How about personally visiting each Israelite and asking them each to follow your rules? How hard would that be after the whole, creating the world, thing?
Chapter 5 is the, seemingly mandatory for the Old Testament, call for the Israelites to return to God. But I'm sure they won't, as usual. And God will have to go do the exact same thing he always does. Punish.
Why do earthquakes happen? Some pastors have unique opinions.
"God is not controlling things as we think," New Day Christian Church pastor George Logan said. In his opinion, the "terra firma" we live upon is leased to us as human beings.
"God can only intervene at our request," Logan continued. "That's why prayer is so important."
Wait, God can only do things if someone asks? Have we reduced God to some sort of genie? And see I thought all this time that God was all powerful. I stand corrected.
Logan agreed that the Bible speaks of disasters as we draw closer to the end of time. Is God trying to get our attention?
Logan said, "God's primary way to get the attention is the proclamation of the gospel from the standpoint of what He has to say." If a disaster moves us to turn our attention to God and His word, so be it, he added.
Right, nothing like God mercilessly slaughtering people to get people to turn to God.
Whether God allows disasters and tragedies, Silver Creek Seventh-day Adventist church pastor Barry Mahorney said, "God is sovereign and he could in fact stop these events." He doesn't believe they are a type of punishment though.
If it's not punishment what is it? What kind of monster has the ability to stop suffering but chooses not to for absolutely no reason? Of course, God works in mysterious ways, but if it looks like a monster and it kills people like a monster...
"They (disasters) do help us to realize we are living in the end of time," Mahorney said.
He believes these events spark a call to service.
"It awakens the Christian community; we realize we are here to be servants and help," he said.
Logan said he has seen an outpouring of Christian love and support through tragedy.
And disasters have been helping people realize they're living in the end time for 2000 years or so. The fallacy of all this is that, if there were no disasters, Christians wouldn't have to be helpful. Is God killing people just so Christians can show how nice they are?
"The most tragic I remember was a family who awakened to a fire," he said. "They all got out, but the husband went back into the house and didn't make it out."
"I tell people in situations like this, or during a suicide, I don't have the answers, but I know a God who does and our comforter is the Holy Spirit who comes alongside and is here to support us," Mahorney said.
So God had the power to stop this husband and father from being killed, but chose not to so all those wonderful Christians could show how great they are to a family in grief. What an awesome message of love, pastor Mahorney. If this is what God does, I'd kindly ask him to leave us alone.
(via The News Herald)