“Woe to you who are at ease in Zion … Woe to you who put off the day of doom” (Amos 6:1, 3)
I don’t think God is fooling around. Could it be that a plague blankets the world, yet has no spiritual, biblical meaning? I don’t think so. It looks to me as though He wants to take advantage of this virus to get our attention. It’s as if the Lord is saying “OK. All bets are off. Listen to me, my children, I’m talking to you.”
And, as if the pandemic isn’t enough, riots have broken out in the most prosperous country in all history, the USA. I’m in no way justifying lawlessness, but this upheaval points to real anguish experienced by African Americans—racism that has not disappeared through legislation or social action.
And though it may seem far away for some, Exodus-level clouds of locusts have devastated immense areas of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Djibouti Sudan, India, and Pakistan. It is greatly distressing to watch footage of people desperately trying to protect their fields from the all-consuming insects. This, another form of plague, has left millions exposed to extreme poverty and in danger of starvation.
The opening verses from Amos the prophet cause me to make a disturbing comparison with my own relative comfort. Sure, the corona-virus has caused some personal inconvenience. But that’s nothing compared to the nearly ¼ of our working population who are unemployed in Israel. There are families who don’t know how they’ll pay their rent. Yes, I am “at ease in Zion.” When God says “Woe,” I know He wants me to wake up and look beyond my own circumstances.
I’ve never been too big on the “doomsday” view of world events. But when the Almighty warns me not to ignore (in Hebrew: dismiss, put far off) the “day of doom,” it’s time for me to take another look at the Bible’s perspective on the end of the world (as we know it).
One glance at the Book of Revelation and there’s no doubt. Up ahead there are calamities and judgments that will make the current plagues look mild. How can I respond to today’s new reality and prepare for tomorrow’s intensified trials?
Here, Yeshua’s exhortation to the congregation at Sardis rings clear, true, and relevant. “Wake up, and strengthen the things that remain, which were about to die; for I have not found your deeds completed in the sight of My God” (Revelation 3:2). Three actions are indicated.
- Wake up. It’s time to arouse myself, to be alert, to snap out of any complacency or apathy.
- Strengthen the things that remain. It’s time to invest afresh in my relationship with God—through His Word and a concerted life of prayer. Is there any portion of my life that’s not fully dedicated and yielded to Him? If so, I need to honestly place that on the altar before Him for purification and transformation.
- Complete your deeds in the sight of God. It’s time to look around and see the needs of others, including those closest to me. Every day I can touch at least one life. Where is there suffering? Injustice? Hopelessness? Enslavement to sin? I have freely received the gift of life through Yeshua. He calls me to actively spend my life sharing His love and grace with others, every day.