Thus says the Lord:
“For three transgressions of Judah,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they have rejected the law of the Lord,
and have not kept his statutes,
but their lies have led them astray,
those after which their fathers walked.
So I will send a fire upon Judah,
and it shall devour the strongholds of Jerusalem.” Amos 2:4-5
In Amos chapters 1-2, we see many pagan nations denounced due to the atrocities being committed. It is quite startling to find Judah in the mix in chapter 2. It is as if the many evils against humanity being committed against people in foreign nations is the same as the rejection of God’s law by his people. It seems strange, but it is comparable as the prophet strikes at the heart of the problem. And let us not be too soft here, for the rejection of God’s perfect word is indeed the rejection of the Lord himself!
Judah had a history with God. They had seen and experienced Yahweh’s presence and mighty acts. They had a history of prophets proclaiming the word of the Lord. And they experienced the blessing of God as his covenant people; a unique relationship known only to them. And furthermore, the obedience or rejection of God’s law did not just effect one nation, for God’s plan was always to bless all nations through his people.
History tells us of the many consequences for Judah’s rejection of God’s word. So for us, it is imperative to ask, how can we embrace his word with our hearts?
Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing. James 1:16-25