God, You are holy and majestic. Teach me to bow before You in humility and to honor You with reverent fear.
Read: Amos 1:1-10
 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa-the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.  He said: “The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.” This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth,  I will send fire on the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad.  I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the LORD.  This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom,  I will send fire on the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses.  I will destroy the king of Ashdod and the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against Ekron, till the last of the Philistines are dead,” says the Sovereign LORD.  This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not relent. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood, I will send fire on the walls of Tyre that will consume her fortresses.”
Reflect: What does it mean to you to fear the Lord?
Nobody ignores a lion’s roar. Heard from up to five miles away, it’s an assertion of power and dominance that no one can afford to dismiss.
Amos breaks Hebrew grammar here, putting the subject before the verb; he does so to emphasize that it is the Lord who roars. In a sense, his whole prophecy is that roar, an authoritative demand that God’s people had to respect. I wonder if the groaning roar of the earth itself is being claimed as the Lord’s roar and thunder from Jerusalem and, thus, as proof of the validity of Amos’s prophecy. Much greater than the range of a lion’s roar, the Lord’s roar thunders across the whole land, reaching even the summit of Mount Carmel nearly a hundred miles away (2).
Tomorrow we’ll consider the content of Amos’s prophecy in more detail. For now, let’s allow ourselves to stay with, and be confronted by, this God who “roars.” There is no negotiating with such a God, no cutting of deals. If this makes us uncomfortable, it should. His authority demands our respect and our obedience.
Hebrews 12:10,11 reveals how God disciplines us so “we may share in his holiness.” Accept this as an act of love.
Lord, forgive me for seeing Your commands as optional and failing to live in light of Your holiness. Help me honor You.