GOD IN MY POCKET: Are we comfortable with God acting like God?
At times I don’t think in our humanity we are comfortable with God acting like the all-powerful God that he is. We like to be in control, we like to know that he is on our side and won’t do anything that makes our temporal life uncomfortable. We like Jesus, God in human form, always loving, always grace-filled, suffering servant but are uncomfortable with the Father, seated in heavenly places, all powerful, all knowing and uncontrollable to us in our humanity.
Even Jesus’ own disciples questioned following him when he started doing things that were not what they thought he would do. He was supposed to take over the Roman Empire, he was not supposed to die, he was not supposed to do a lot of things he did, but he was God and they were coming to terms with Jesus Christ being their friend, their LORD and their God!
When we start to read the books of the Old Testament where the LORD is angry with injustice and the LORD God Almighty – all powerful, all knowing, our creator and able to do whatever he wants, using weather, circumstances, wars and even death to change a nation comes in, it shakes our humanity to the core. In our Western culture, I think we like the idea of having God in our lives as long as he doesn’t do anything that is out of our control. We like God in our pocket, but when he jumps out and starts acting like a God we get angry.
Amos is a book that will put the LORD God Almighty back in his place. It is a book where God is using a lowly shepherd to correct the arrogance of his people and his nation. They have become proud, using injustice to get their way, they are so blessed that they are now oppressing others. They have forgotten the one who made them blessed in the first place and God is going to change their temporal circumstance to impact their eternal perspective.
I remember the feeling when my nephew died, I had just finished a 40 day fast for his healing and two weeks later he died. I was furious at God, how dare you not do what I asked you to do? But God was rocking my temporal to change my eternal perspective. Deione was in heaven, having a wonderful time, and I was being rocked to the very core of my faith and trust in God. This was all so out of my control and my control freak nature was offended but God was wrestling with me like he did with Jacob. He was wrestling with my controlling nature and challenging me, who is really in control of your life here Katie?
There are a couple of things I want you to notice as you read Amos, firstly the name God uses for himself throughout the whole book and it builds.
At first, he is the LORD, it’s the LORD says and the LORD says and then in 3:7 “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets.”
Sovereign means possessing supreme or ultimate power. This continues in chapter 4 and then in 4:13 “He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth – the LORD God Almighty is his name.” From then on he is called the LORD God Almighty.
In our lives and in our Christian walk I believe we all take the same journey in our relationship with God. At first, he is our Saviour, he is loving, kind and the grace-filled God that saves us from our sins and gives us eternal life. It is by grace that we are saved through faith in him alone. And then as we journey and our relationship with God matures he becomes LORD, he doesn’t just rescue us from our sins, but we put boundaries in our life because he is our LORD so we don’t find ourselves in messes that he needs to rescue us from. We mature into disciples that follow him as Saviour and LORD of our life. We let go of things because he is our KING, we follow him when he says go and change things when he says change. Then as we continue and journey again he becomes not just LORD but we all hit a point in our Christian life and faith where he becomes LORD God Almighty. Where things don’t go as planned, where promises are delayed, where things hit us that are out of our control and the only one that is in control is the LORD God Almighty. Where all we can do is humbly walk with him through the valley’s and know that he is with us, he is all powerful, all knowing and he is in control.
But don’t fret, Amos finishes with the most amazing name 9:15 “The Lord YOUR God” (own emphasis added). Amos 9:11-15 God declares the restoration of Israel, he declares that he will bring a time when new wine will drip from the mountains and flow from the hills, and "I will bring my people Israel back from exile." He will rebuild the ruined cities and plant vineyards. This beautiful final declaration is the point that we all get in our Christian lives – where we can truly say The LORD is my God.
This comes when we wrestle with God not just being the one who rescues us in our mistakes, not just the one who takes care of us, but the one who can do what he wants in the fullness of his power and authority. The one who our hearts are yielded to as our God, that we allow him to lead us as our God, out of our control, all loving, all knowing, all powerful Father God. The LORD of all we do, the one who hates injustice and desires holiness. The one who is full of grace and fire for the future. The one who walks on the mountains and speaks to us daily.
The LORD God Almighty – your God!