Feast of Dedication Devotion
Read: Amos Chapter Three
"Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you,
O children of Israel, against the whole family
which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:
"You only have I known of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
(Amos 3:1, 2)
In his first message to Israel, Amos reminded the people of their personal, intimate, and exclusive relationship they had with the Lord when He carried them on eagle's wings and delivered them out of Egypt, through the wilderness, and then covenanted with them at Sinai. "Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all the people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation" (Exodus 19:5, 6). Israel had confessed the unique revelation they had received from God and acknowledged the wonderful privilege and tremendous responsibility that was theirs as His chosen people. They responded to the Lord's proposal with one accord: "All that the LORD has spoken we will do" (v. 8). Time and time again, the Lord's special love and favor towards Israel motivated Him to accomplish His purposes in and through His people. He was faithful to them, but they were unfaithful to Him, despite His many attempts to correct them. He declared His word, His statutes, and His judgments to them, yet they choose instead to run in the path of sin. Though the Lord sends out His Word to His creation and every part of it obeys His every command, His own people refuse to heed His Word, remaining unresponsive to the divine will. "Thus says the LORD to this people: "Thus they have loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, and punish their sins" (Jeremiah 14:10). If the Lord's blessings of divine favor would not render their obedience and devotion, then His hand of discipline was inevitable. God desires a personal, purposeful relationship with His people, but He will not violate His holy character and allow His people to continue along the path of sin, which He hates, especially in those whom He has covenanted to Himself. If His people had any hope or expectation of communing with the Lord, they would first need to make peace with Him.
"Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?
Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey?
Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?"
(Amos 3:3, 4)
Israel's fellowship with God was broken because their affections were directed elsewhere. They were entangled by their own sins, and unless they repented and returned to the Lord with all their hearts they would soon be devoured. The lion has roared because his sights are set on his prey; there would be no escaping His judgments. How terrible that those who had been providentially picked by God to be His holy nation would soon be pounced on and devoured. When we enter into covenant agreement with God through the atoning blood sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ, we, like Israel at Sinai, confess that God's law is holy, just, and good. We consent to the penalty of the law if we breach it by sin, acknowledging that our best interests are served by our obedience, and of the absolute necessity of punishment in order to secure the glory of the One upon whose shoulder the divine government rests (Isaiah 9:6). We have entered into perfect agreement with God's love of holiness, and our fervent prayer is that we would never wander into the path of sin, for He has set our hearts free to run in the path of His commands (Psalm 119:32). Our hearts desire has been satisfied and our affections are set on our Beloved Bridegroom, for He has broken our independent will and united our hearts to move and act as one with Himself (John 17). Our hearts' desire had been satisfied, and we have been given power to walk in intimate, daily, joyful communion with the singular object of our admiration and affection ~ JESUS. We have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ to live for Him, no longer for ourselves. "Nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will" (Matthew 26:39). Our greatest longing is for the glory of His name and the success of His kingdom in this world through the saving of many souls alive - for this is why Christ the Savior was born into the world! "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests" (Luke 2:14, NIV)! May we, as His royal priesthood, always walk in the light of His favor, near to His heart, and in obedience to His commands, so as to bring glory and honor to His holy name!
"Surely the Lord GOD does nothing,
unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
A lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord GOD has spoken! Who can but prophesy?"
(Amos 3:7, 8)
The Lord had the ear of His servant Amos, and now Amos had the ear of God's people. As a true prophet of the Lord, Amos was sent by God to deliver the word of God, and to call the people to repentance of sin and evil, to renewed faith, and to a reformation of their ways. Amos moved with authority, having been divinely called and anointed by God to declare the living word of God to a disobedient and sinful people. The Lord had found in Amos one who walked in close communion with God, and who had a listening and obedient heart with whom He could share His secrets and His plans for His foolish people (John 15:15). "For My people are foolish, they have not known Me. They are silly children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge" (Jeremiah 4:22). The Lord's careless, wayward children were more captivated with worldly wealth and spending their time seeking after every occasion to sin, rather than taking their covenant relationship seriously and cultivating a life of holiness and devotion to God. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (1 Timothy 6:10). Amos announced that all they had built for themselves and gained by their greed and idolatry would be taken from them and destroyed. "That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. I will destroy the winter house along with the summer house; the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end" (Amos 3:14, 15). The Lord was about to visit His people and purge them of all that had prevented them from walking in agreement with their God. Everything they had spent on themselves for their own comfort and success would be taken from them. All the worship they owed to the Lord that had been lavished on idols would be burned up in the fire and blown away like the chaff in the wind. The day of reckoning had come. The Lord had long walked with His people, but they refused to keep in step with Him, so He would deliver them into the hands of an idolatrous people whom they preferred to emulate rather than glorify God. By the time, the Assyrians were through with Israel, all that would be left would be a small remnant. "As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion two legs or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel be taken out who dwell in Samaria - " (v.12a). The proof that the people had been completely laid to waste would be the same as what was necessary to prove that a sheep had been taken from the fold and torn to shreds by a lion - the remnant pieces! One day this remnant patch would provide the people with the hope of future restoration. As we continue to walk through this season in celebration of our Savior's first Advent with the light of His love and joy filling our hearts, may we be ever mindful of the preparations that are required for God's visitations, allowing Him to do the necessary purging and purifying in our own lives, so that we may always walk in agreement with His purposes, bringing glory and honor to His name. Let us praise Him today for the true peace He has brought into our lives by reconciling us to Himself, "For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross" (Colossians 1:19, 20).
"For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;
and the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
The Feast of Dedication
The Feast of Dedication is a memorial feast of the dedication of the new altar and the purging of the temple by Judas Maccabeus in December, 165 B.C. after it had been profaned by Antiochus Epiphanes, as prophesied by Daniel (Daniel 11:31). Today the Feast of Dedication (see John 10:22-38) is known as the Festival of Lights or Hanukkah. In commemoration of God's plan of complete restoration for His people through His Son Jesus Christ, an additional "feast" is provided each day of this journey to be enjoyed with your family. As we celebrate this week of the Feast of Dedication and light the candles on our tables, may the light that is within us grow ever brighter as we feast upon the Word of God and share His love with others. Continue today's journey with a time of prayer and blessing for the whole family with the devotional link below. May your home in this season be filled with the sweet fragrance of Christ and may every heart overflow with His joy and be permeated with His peace as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!