Amos 6:14: “But, behold, I will raise up a nation against you, / O house of Israel,” / Says the LORD God of hosts; / “And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath / To the Valley of the Arabah.”

August 14th, 2018 by Pastor Ed in devotional

These two locations, “Hamath” and “the Valley of the Arabah,” are the most northern and southern points of the nation of Israel. The nation was rejoicing over all that they possessed, thinking they were the masters of their own destiny. But the army of Assyria was about to become the rod God would use to discipline His people, because He loved them. God the Father, like a good human father, will discipline us when we need to be turned away from our sin and back toward Him. As the New Testament writer of Hebrews said, “For the Lord disciplines him whom he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (12:6, RSV).

There is an ancient story from Syria that illustrates this point. A traveler noticed that a shepherd was carrying food to a sheep that had a broken leg. “Did it fall into a hole or did some animal break its leg?” the traveler asked. “No,” said the shepherd, “I broke it.” “What? You broke it?” asked the surprised traveler. “Yes. This is a wayward sheep. It wouldn’t stay with the flock and would even lead some of the other sheep astray. It wouldn’t let me near it, so I had to break its leg so it would allow me to feed it. In doing this it will get to know me as its shepherd, trust me as its guide, and keep with the flock.” If this sounds familiar to an event in your life, you have a lot of company.

“LORD, we do need Your discipline to keep us on Your path, but give us ears to hear Your voice and a willing heart to obey so that we don’t need anything but Your voice this day.”