“Fire in the House!”
Scripture reading for September 12th: Amos 1-2
Fire is a devastating force when not properly controlled and utilized. It has the capacity for great good and also for brutal destruction. I was helping an uncle shell corn at his farm about 6 miles south of our farm in Iowa. I was a young farmer and had started farming with a small hog herd and had about 25 sows (mother hogs) with their babies in a building. It was winter time and we were using heat lamps and furnaces to keep the hog building warm. One of the lamps must have fallen onto the straw, and a blaze erupted that swept through the building. I remember hearing the call to come home from my distraught aunt. “There’s a fire in the hog house!” I arrived home to find a charred building and some charred animals! It was devastating and caused great anguish to me and loss of my precious animals!
Amos was a fig (not pig!) farmer and shepherd who was called to be a prophet. (Amos 7:14-15) The reading today contains several warnings of “fire in the house!” These warning were to nations and peoples surrounding Israel and I imagine God’s people were probably cheering as their wicked neighbors were warned by God. (Amos 1:4, 7, 10, 14; Amos 2:2) God, however, is no respecter of persons and we as people all have the same malady at our core: sin. Amos also warned Judah and Israel that they also had fire coming to their houses as well! (Amos 2:4-16)
What was the root cause of these fires? Sins! Sin brings God’s wrath and fiery judgment. God hates sin because it is totally foreign to His nature of love. Sin brings destruction, anguish, and great eternal loss to those made to enjoy His blessing and glory! But our God is very merciful! He always warns His people of their sins and even provides a way of escape for them. (1 Corinthians 10:13) He wants no one to perish but all to come to repentance and deliverance. (Amos 3:7) This is why He sends the prophet, preachers and saints to testify of His mercy and grace!
Our nation is saturated with the gospel! We have more churches, preachers, and radio and television preaching than anywhere else in the world. To whom much has been given, much will be required! The gospel warns people that there is ‘fire in their house’ and provides a Savior who took the fiery wrath of God against our sin. The gospel offers us a new form of fire in our house, the precious Holy Spirit! This ‘fire’ is redemptive and empowering to the humble and teachable. It gives us power to live free from sin and to take the gospel to those who have the wrong kind of fire in their house. Take time today to thank the Lord for His mercy and His wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit!