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.
I was struck last night by a documentary programme about kidney transplants. Despite the fact that the love and selflessness of those who were willing to donate one of their kidneys was both admirable and challenging, what affected me profoundly was the attitude shown towards the risk of dying during the surgery. It was remarkable how lightly they viewed the possibility. Humour may be a way of masking fear, but the joking was at odds with the seriousness of the situation which they faced. This shouldn’t really have been a surprise to me as I have seen the same attitude displayed by so many people as I tried to speak to them about eternal things on the Eisteddfod field or other show grounds. So many converations come to mind…
“Do you know where you are going when you die?” “No but I’m not worried. I’ll have friends in heaven and in hell!”
Does this show one of the ways the devil has maybe used to undermine gospel work in our time? Have people swallowed the lie that our life after death will be one of contentment and peacefulness regardless of who we are and what we have done?
To some extent that is what had happened to the people of Israel in the time of Amos. They were content to trust in their comfort and their superficial religion whilst their hearts were far from their Creator and Lord. God had sent famine, poverty, disease and an enemy to show them their need for repentance (chapter 4) but to no avail. And so Amos was sent to them to tell them to return and seek the Lord. The above passage resounds with a warning that things will only get worse and not better for those who face the Great Day of the Lord without righteousness.
God still speaks in our day. Wales isn’t Israel, and we can’t take for granted that God is saying the same things to us, but what we do know is that God continues to speak today – has he not shown us during these past weeks, that we are weak and mortal and that we need our Creator and our Sustainer? The wonderful message of the gospel is that we can have certainty in the face of death. By putting our trust in Jesus and in his sacrifice on the cross we can stand before God in the knowledge that the price has been paid and the judgement faced.
Let us encourage people, with sensitivity, to face the reality of the day of the Lord and to sound a warning to them. Let us also pray that God would convict people of righteousness and judgement and let us bow down and worship the Lamb who faced God’s wrath and in so doing set us free.
Steffan Job, Capel y Ffynnon