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The "How Bad Is It"? Game

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The "How Bad Is It"? Game

MP3 Audio (17.08 MB)


The "How Bad Is It"? Game

MP3 Audio (17.08 MB)

Lets look at end time prophecy and learn some lessons.



Have you ever played the "How bad is it?" game?  HBII – "How bad is it?" game.  That is where one person says: Well, things are so bad it is like this, and then the next person says: If you think that is bad, those are good times.  It is a lot worse for me.  Mostly they are complaining about the government, the weather or whatever it is, aches and pains, and then the third person chimes in - if you are playing the game right, you have to one-up the one before - so then the next person says: Oh, no, no, if you think that is worse for you, that is good for me.  It is so bad, this is how bad it is: it is so bad that it makes you look like an octopus.  And then number two wasn't an octopus.

Now and then we play the "How bad is it?" game and you have to be careful because you can get rather morose in the "How bad is it?" game.

I remember an example of this except there was only person playing it.  It was my Father's cousin, Bill, and he had a bad year on the farm.  He lived a couple of hundred miles from where we did and came by for a visit and he was selling out.  When you are farming and a neighbor or relative has to sell out is kind of a sad time.  He was as optimistic as he could maintain.  He was an effervescent type of fellow.  He started telling us how the year had gone and as I said he was playing "how bad is it" but he was just playing against himself and it wasn't a game, technically.  It was all true.

I forget what the first two things were that happened to his farm but they were really bad things.  No cows - sick and died, horse ran off, something like that or horses.  He was just barely hanging on the way it was – trying to get established, a young farmer.  Every time he would tell us how this bad news of what had happened earlier in the year, you could see it on our faces.  Oh, that was terrible.  Oh, he says, if you think that was bad you should have seen what happened next!  And then he tells us worse news and we'd all look even sadder I think and then he said it again:  If you think that was bad you should have seen what happened next.  Finally he got to the final "what happened next". It was the hailstorm. 

Now we had hail where we lived in South Dakota, even where I was born in Nebraska, occasionally.  Hail was tied to geography and has to have up drafts. He happened to be tied to very bad geography evidently.  We had chickens killed when we got golf ball-size hail driven by fifty mile an hour winds.  The chickens would get killed and the pheasants would get killed and that was bad and if there was any killing of chickens and pheasants we would prefer to do our selves and have them for dinner but as it turned out they had softball size hailstorms and he took a picture and a snapshot of a half-bushel basket that had nine of them and they filled the basket. 

We would always try to get our chickens in when we knew a hailstorm was coming.  You could tell by the clouds.  They had a greeny sort of color where we lived and that would save a lot of the birds.  It didn't matter there that there were golf ball size hail. Those hail stones just came through the chicken-coop and killed them in the coop itself.  It killed a lot of cattle.  You know softball size hailstorms - and a piece of ice the size of a softball is much heavier than a softball, much harder.  We know prophecies about that.  So, he won his own version of the "How bad is it?" game.  That was bad.  Basically it had forced him to sell out and try to find some other line of work.

Usually the "How bad is it?" game, is people sitting around talking. Some of us are optimistic types and others are pessimistic types and pessimists tend to thrive on this more than the optimist do, but there is this - it is not really a game, it is just the way a discussion goes.  It can spiral those down when you talk about something bad that is happening in the world and then you think there is something else bad happening and that is the "How bad is it?"  It is basically bringing a list of all these things up and it gets depressing.  Even for those in the discussion, unless they thrive on it.  I don't think anybody really does.

In the Church we also have our own version of the "How bad is it?" game and that is focusing on all the problems that revolve around end-time prophecy.  It doesn't mean we shouldn't look at end-time prophecy because, in fact this sermon is a sort of "How bad is it?" game sermon and you will see what I mean when we get to the chapter.  We are just focusing on one primary chapter in one of the prophets that talks about the end-time and we will look at the prophecies there in the light of our time today and even in the light of America's role in world-events, but our version of the "How bad is it?" game is just focusing on all the terrible destruction of the end-time prophecies. 

We need to be cautious. We are looking forward to the Kingdom of God seminars that are coming up.  The Kingdom of God is fundamentally good news and we will look at this.  People are aware of the troubles we are facing.  Many are.  Not everybody, but many are which is why we expect to see a significant turnout.  We hope to have these seminars in over a hundred locations around the world.  Most of course would be in the United States.  We hope that there will be a large turnout.  We are going to put an advertisement right in the Good News magazine so it can be seen by all the readers.  It will be advertised on Beyond Today and it is already being advertised on our website and we are already getting people signing up for it. 

So that is going to be in September.  September 10 is the big jump-off Sabbath when we have the seminar and then in a few areas we have pastors who run a circuit where they do the seminar in the morning in one area and then the afternoon in another area, so then on the seventeenth they will do a follow-up. I know back east where David Mills pastors and Scott Hoefker is the associate, they will be running the circuits, the two of them, different circuits.  They have between them eight churches now in North Carolina, West Virginia and South Carolina so they will be running seminars in the morning and afternoon on the tenth, each of them doing that.  That is four seminars that day and four seminars likewise on the following Sabbath.  And this is a great opportunity when people take the step to come and hear in person a message about the Kingdom of God, about God's way of life. 

That is a significant step for a Good News reader.  We have done that over the past several years in Columbus and Cambridge here in Ohio, and have been able to see the effect firsthand and the results, but the difference though is we only had one invitation we mailed.  It is fairly expensive to mail first class mail these days and we sent one invitation and we always had people who came.  Now we are going to put it out there in the Good News and on Beyond Today and on the website.  It is going to be noised about considerably more.

We need to be cautious though when we are visiting with folks during those Sabbaths when the seminars will be taking place wherever we are – be cautious that we don't inadvertently sort of weave into the "How bad is it?" game as it were, in discussing world events and prophecies.  There is plenty of bad news and people will talk about that but always you have to have a healthy dose of positive thinking especially when it comes toward the end of the discussion of these things.

Even though I am cautioning you about the "How bad is it?" – by the way the title of the sermon is: The "How bad is it?" game – cautioning you, the irony of the "How bad is it?" game is it comes alive during times of God's judgment.  Like the end-time, like our time in history, God does escalate His discipline upon mankind.  We can see that from the prophecies and especially upon His ancient nation of Israel, the nations descended from the tribes and the reason for that divine discipline is to whom God gives much He requires much.  He has given a lot to the peoples that are descended from the ancient tribes and ultimately descended from Jacob and Isaac and Abraham.  They had many physical blessings due to the obedience of Abraham but they have a great spiritual heritage that sadly, here in America and other places, haven't adopted that – that heritage that God has given them.

So we are going to play in the rest of the sermon, a short version of the "How bad is it?" game and learn some great lessons and these are some of the lessons I think that you will learn: 

You are going to learn lessons about God's justice and mercy.

We will also learn how He disciplines those whom He loves and He does that, we know, on an individual scale.  Sometimes we can see the circumstances where we find ourselves humbled and we had it coming, and we react positively and that is good thing.  It builds a lot of character.  God disciplines nations too – larger groups.  That is painted on the backdrop of World History. 

We are going to learn a little bit about history and prophecy in the process of looking at this version of the "How bad is it?" game.

We will learn about the Kingdom of God on earth soon to come.  That is the positive thinking toward the end, and what God expects of us in the true Church of God.

So there will be some bad news in the rest of the sermon but in the end we will have a healthy dose of wonderful, positive good news.
First of all let's understand something about justice and mercy.  In Proverbs 3 – I am reading it in Proverbs, the essence, the key verses are verses 11 and 12.  Verse 11 and 12 of Proverbs 3 you find quoted in Hebrews 12.  So if it sounds like it is from the New Testament, it is both: the New and the Old, being as that how it is quoted.

Proverbs 3:11 Proverbs 3:11My son, despise not the chastening of the LORD; neither be weary of his correction:
American King James Version×
My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction;

We have to think about that as faithful Christians, true Christians, that when we are disciplined, chastened by God and that is usually through circumstances or through somebody else. It may be our spouse, maybe our kids, maybe our parents, maybe our friends or maybe just as they say: flat circumstances, where we are appropriately humbled, where we needed to be.  We should not detest that.  We should be thankful for it.  It is tough to take but we should be thankful for it.

V.12 – For whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.

So here we have the statement of divine correction or chastisement and it follows with a section about wisdom, that chastisement increases our wisdom tremendously.  So let's look at the next few verse through verse 18.

V.13Happy is the man who finds wisdom, - what is the context?  Well, the context is finding wisdom through enduring the chastisement of God; the correction that He gives out to us in one way or another.  Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding;

V.14 – For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver, and her gain than fine gold.

V.15She is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her. – to this wisdom.

V.16Length of days is in her right hand, in her left hand riches and honor. 

V.17 – Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.

When we are humbled we have a desire to be more pleasant around other people.  Not to be insulting, not to be disrespectful but be pleasant, and all her paths are peace – and we seek peace.  We pursue it as the Psalms say.  We learn to do that by receiving a little bit of God's judgment.

V.18 - This wisdom that comes from that is a tree of life to those who take hold of her, and happy are all who retain her.

You see whether it is correction at the personal level that we sometimes experience ourselves or the correction from God at the national, or when you get to end-time prophecy, it is the human race level, the international, global whatever, universal level of the entire earth will be chastised by God.

Now, since the chapter of prophecy we are going to look at shortly – it is in the book of Amos, is a hint – since we are going to be talking though about the chastisement or the correction that God will be giving those nations that are physically descended from the ancient tribes of Israel, -we know who they are.  You can find them right through history.  It is just a history exercise – being able to track them.  I want to read you something in Romans

Sometimes in the church we've had our - especially those who are younger and not intimately familiar with the fundamental teaching about the identity of the tribes of Israel in modern times, begin to wonder if that doctrine has sort of a superiority overtone or something like that.  And it is not supposed to.  It was used like that in England and occasionally even by some in the church I think over time, but hopefully we got that out of our system appropriately.  However that does not change the fact that Abraham is the father of a lot of the North-West European, British and American nations.

The apostle Paul knew that.  Notice his attitude about Israel in general, historically, and bear in mind Paul was the apostle who was sent to the Gentiles.  So he was just as adamant in his mission to preach the gospel of God's Kingdom to anybody who wasn't physically an Israelite, which is what Gentiles are.  Bear in mind that the term "gentiles" is a little confusing today.  Most people think it means non-Jewish and it is actually bigger than that.  It's the gentiles - the word means simply "the nations," Goi in Hebrew  - versus Israel, which was the nation that God was working with as a model prototype nation which behaved rather badly, thus needed to be disciplined periodically.  So Paul says this:

Romans 9:1 Romans 9:1I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,
American King James Version×
I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, - now that is fairly strong language if you read the apostle Paul's writings, very strong actually, verse 1 is.

V.2that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart.

V.3For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,

Now we know from Philippians what Paul's ancestry was.  He was from the tribe of Benjamin.  A Hebrew of the Hebrews; an Israelite of the Israelites of the tribe of Benjamin; circumcised the eighth day; etc., etc.  You can read about him – his autobiographical comment in Philippians.

He refers here to my brethren, meaning physical brethren in this case, my countrymen according to the flesh.

V.4who are Israelites  (those descended from the ancient tribes) to whom pertain the adoption, (ultimately the adoption into the family of God) the glory (you know the shekinah; understanding the actual divine presence of God and not some counterfeit presence as was addressed in the sermonette) the covenants.

There is the Old Covenant that physical Israel is still under in one respect as far as the fulfillments that God promised to give to the descendants of Abraham and then there is the New Covenant, that is a spiritual covenant where those who are not physical Israelites become spiritual Israelites and those who are physical Israelites, when they repent and they are converted, become spiritual Israelites. The Church has become spiritual Israel or as it says, I think it is Galatians 6:16 Galatians 6:16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and on the Israel of God.
American King James Version×
, the Israel of God. 

So you see we have a dual sense of what Israel is.  First there is the historical sense of the physical Israelites and what God gave them and what He expected from them and how they did not stack up to what He expected and then we have spiritual Israel. 

Now when we look at the lesson that physical Israel is going to learn we need to also think okay, yes, but we're now, no matter what background we are as far as the tribal delineation comes from, we are all spiritual Israel and we learn when anybody is corrected we learn and we should learn from what we are going to read in Amos in a minute. 

V.4 - … the covenants, the giving of the law, (the ten commandments were given to Israel to be an example and to make sure they exported it to others which sometimes they did but mostly not) the service of God, and the promises;

V.5of whom are the fathers (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for example) and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, (through the tribe of Judah; from the line of David. Judah came from Jacob and Jacob came from Isaac and Isaac came from Abraham) who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.

Although He came from the tribe of Judah obviously Christ had always existed.  He created Adam so when He became a human for a human lifetime though, through Mary, He was of the tribe of Judah.  Legally through Joseph, the husband of Mary, He was of the tribe of Judah, the line of David, in both cases which included Ruth – the line of David did.  Ruth wasn't an Israelite.  She was a Moabite and perhaps others from going on back.  So you see you have even in the genealogy of David and therefore the genealogy of Christ, you have the harbinger of spiritual Israel and opening the door of salvation to all mankind.  Israel was just supposed to be an example of how a nation should live and sadly they weren't.

Now with that in mind, do you see how Paul was concerned for Israel as he was for all the other nations, which was his mission from Christ to go and preach to?  We can learn something from the expansive thinking of the apostle Paul and the passionate thinking of Paul from a spiritual point of view.

Let's go to the book of Amos now.  Our target is actually in chapter 5, but let me give you a little background on the book of Amos that will help you appreciate it a little bit.  As soon as you turn there you are going to be wanting to turn someplace else because I give you the background.

Amos was a shepherd.  That is in the first chapter.  The Hebrew word for shepherd meant that he wasn't hired to be a shepherd to look after somebody else's sheep.  It meant that he owned the sheep.  So he was a small farmer kind of like my father's cousin; kind of like my father and many of your father's or grandfathers.  So we have Amos who is a life stockman, a sheeper or a shepherd in that sense of his own sheep and he was a tender of sycamore trees. 

Now we have sycamore trees here in Ohio.  They are the funny, white, sort of blotchy marked trees that grow where there are wetlands.  They like a lot of water.  They don't grow any figs though.  There were sycamore figs in Israel.  They weren't the prime figs – hold it:  sycamore dates, not figs.  I am mixing my dates and figs up.  It was one or the other.  Anyway, from the sycamores you had to pierce the fruit partway through its growing phase for it to ripen where it was enjoyed by people.  The other source of figs or dates was quickly appreciated by people but this one required a lot of work.  You had to go and poke a hole in each on of the pieces of fruit.

Apparently Amos, being from Tekoa which was about five miles south-east of Bethlehem, they would graze their sheep in the early season in the dryer, more arid territory till the grass was eaten up and it got dry and then they move them back so that they don't overgraze, back to where the sycamore tree region was, near Tekoa.  The speculation of the commentators is that what he did was, he hired himself as a sycamore fruit piercer.  Poking a little hole probably with a sharp stick, just a little one in there, and somehow that caramelized the sugar, crystalize the sugar, or something that made the fruit better in exchange for grazing rights on the wetter ground during the latter part of the grazing season.  That was Amos. 

Amos was not a priest like Isaiah and some of the other prophets.  He did not have a ministry that lasted a long time. Isaiah's was about forty years; others were numbers of years. Very possibly the book of Amos, the messages that he had to deliver, could have been delivered in a matter of several days.  Whether he wrote them down or dictated it to somebody to write them down, God inspired them and they were written down.  So Amos was not your professional prophet.  He was a farmer-prophet that God specifically called for reasons best known to Himself. 

Here was the timeframe:  The date given by the commentaries that I consulted about Amos is that he delivered his prophecy in 755 BC.  That is a long time ago.  We have a clear record, right here on our laps, of what he said.  That was during the reign of two important kings in the house of Israel and the house of Judah.

Now bear in mind for, let's see, over two hundred years the two nations had been separate.  You had the house of Judah in the south and the house of Israel in the north and they were separate nations.  People known as Jews today descended from the tribe of Judah, which was the dominant tribe in the south in conjunction with Benjamin because Jerusalem itself was within the territory of Benjamin. So a lot of Benjamites are part of what we call Jewish.  Some of the Levites, particularly of the priesthood, are also in there and thus the Cohen's within the Jewish communities around the world.  Cohen means priest in Hebrew.  So that was to the south and they are known as the Jewish people today. The term Jewish or Jew comes from the first syllable of Judah. 

Now the northern kingdom is the other tribes, the ten tribes and they were always called the house of Israel of the kingdom of Israel. They went into captivity much quicker than the others.

During the time of Amos's ministry, his short time as a prophet, there were two kings.  One king in the south over Judah was Uzziah; the king to the north was Jeroboam. Wait just a minute.  Wasn't there another Jeroboam?  Yes, there was.  This is Jeroboam ll; not related to the previous Jeroboam; just had the same name as a king.  Both of those kings came to power in 792 BC and then they left power. Jeroboam died; Uzziah got leprosy so his son had to take over - he was essentially the regent.  So they both left in 753 and 752.  They both reigned about forty years; forty, forty-one years.  That is a long time reign of the kings of Israel. 

Now, if you want to hold your hand there you might want to spin back and see a very interesting passage about Jeroboam ll so you understand the dynamics of the time better.  It would be in 2 Kings 14 – we will read just a short paragraph about Jeroboam.  In verse 23 it talks about Jeroboam coming to power, the son of Joash.  Remember the other Jeroboam who had actually worked for Solomon before Solomon died, that Jeroboam was the son of Nebat, I think.  This is a Jeroboam the son of Joash.

2 Kings 14:23 2 Kings 14:23In the fifteenth year of Amaziah the son of Joash king of Judah Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel began to reign in Samaria, and reigned forty and one years.
American King James Version×
  … Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, became king in Samaria, (Samaria wasn't the capital for Jeroboam 1) and reigned forty-one years.

V.24And he did evil in the sight of the Lord; he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, (there we go – that is the first Jeroboam) who had made Israel sin.

So he was an evil king. With all due respects, all the kings of the house of Israel were evil kings.  They all followed the example of the first Jeroboam.  However, some of them were more evil than others and I think of all of them this Jeroboam was less evil than some. Verse 25 mentions this:

V.25He restored the territory of Israel from the entrance of Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah,  - That would be down where Elath is in southern Israel on the border of Israel and Jordan - the north-end of that branch of the Red Sea, the sea of Arabah, south of the Dead Sea.  That whole stretch there, that would be the east bank of that, that had all been settled by the half tribe of Manasseh and Reuben and Gad and then later Simeon took over in Edom in the land of Edom, which is also mentioned.  So he restored that territory.  It had been taken away from the house of Israel.  …. According to the word of the Lord God of Israel, which He had spoken through His servant Jonah the son of Mittai the prophet who was from Gath Hepher.

And here then, verses 26 and 27, give you then what this Jeroboam did for this house of Israel.

V.26For the Lord saw that the affliction of Israel was very bitter;  - so they had been beaten down as a nation prior to the reign of Jeroboam ll.  Beaten down because of their lack of moral fiber and what have you - and whether bond or free, there was no helper for Israel. 

The northern kingdom of Israel was in dire straits when this Jeroboam came to power.

V.27 – and the Lord did not say that He would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven; but He saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash.

So this Jeroboam was a dynamic leader and would have been viewed probably affectionately from a historical point of view, even though he was a pagan.  He followed the sins of the first Jeroboam just like all of the other kings basically did.  He was one of the less bad or the less evil of the kings of the house of Israel.  And then he died and he was buried.  So he ruled for forty-one years.  Now if you go to the next page over to chapter 15 it mentions Azariah, the king of Judah, becoming king.  His other name was Uzziah.  He reigned until he became too important in his own eyes.  He was a very successful leader; We are going to read about him, and then he got leprosy, which is mentioned in verse 5.  God allowed him to have leprosy or actually gave it to him.

2 Chronicles 26 tells us quite a bit about Uzziah.  We normally would think of him as Uzziah. We don't often use his other name but he had the two names. He reigned a long time, many years.  He reigned 52 years total; he did not actively reign the last few years so much; His son did that because of the leprosy that he got, but notice some of the things that he did.

2 Chronicles 26:4 2 Chronicles 26:4And he did that which was right in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father Amaziah did.
American King James Version×
And he did what was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father Amaziah had done.
V.5He sought God in the days of Zechariah, - this is, I think, a different Zechariah than the one in the latter part of the Old Testament.

V.6 - Now he went out and made war against the Philistines, and broke down the wall of Gath, (and he broke down) the wall of Jabneh, and (he broke down) the wall of Ashdod; - those were three of the main Philistines city-states – and he built cities around Ashdod and among the Philistines.

V.7 – God helped him against the Philistines, against the Arabians - and all these other people who were giving the house of Judah trouble at the time.  Uzziah was a very, very dynamic leader. 

So at this time you have Jeroboam in the north; Uzziah in the south; powerful leaders.  Uzziah was an organizer a lot like his ancestor king David.

V.14Then Uzziah prepared for them, - his army.  He had not necessarily a standing army but an army on call of 300,000 men.  That was a large army for a nation of those days.  He prepared for them, for the entire army, shields, spears, helmets, body armor, bows, and slings to cast stones. 

Now for starters, this is pretty remarkable.  Armies always had uniforms; often though they had to bring their own weapons.  So this was a BYOW army – Bring your own weapons.  That is not uncommon until the modern era, until we really got organized and people could sow the same stitches on the same kind of cloth and so on.  But Uzziah outfitted the Judean army, the entire army, with all those things.  The shields, the spears, their helmets, their body armor, breast plates and so on and even their archery equipment; their bows which factored in and then slings to cast stones. 

I thought about that: Bows are complex; the kind of bows they used were complex to make but slings are simple as pies:  two shoelaces and a little piece of leather and that would be quite sufficient to make a slinger stone, like David used against Goliath.  I think what the slings to cast stones is probably a reference too, or very likely is, trebuchets or some similar engine of war for casting stones that will knock down walls.  And since he knocked down walls and we just read about that across the page, I think that is what is meant.  Furthermore the evidence of that would come from verse 15. 

V.15And he made devices in Jerusalem, invented by skillful men, to be on the towers and the corners, to shoot arrows and large stones. 

I've done a little bit of reading on that from a historical point of view and you have probably seen some history channel shows on trebuchets and catapults, that sort of thing, but to throw stones off of the top of these towers that he built, you had either the stationary towers that he built because you go on and read about how he rebuilt Jerusalem; He put towers there and he built towers in the desert that were around the cities where he could repel an army that would come against it pretty easily from a distance, by casting stones.  Catapults can throw stones three- and four-hundred yards.  I mean, great big stones that you don't want to land on you.  Worse than softball size hail stones. 

And then where he had the devises to shoot arrows – those were called ballistae and they shoot arrows that are really, really big and they can shoot them really, really far, rapidly. So when you have them stationary and built and they are able to ward off any boarders that might want to come over the wall and you had canons. So if you have towers with catapults and ballista's mounted in them, you know he had a tremendous defensive proposition there but with those same weapons they could be used in going after other cities as he did. 

He strengthened the position of the house of Judah tremendously.  Jeroboam strengthened the position of the house of Israel; Uzziah strengthened the house of Judah.  Combined together, and they, from other historical records, apparently had some sort of alliance of working together and it would seem that they were the two major military forces in the realm there in that area at that time, they ruled over an area the size of Solomon and David's empire. Sometimes this is called the second golden age of ancient Israel and even though they were not following God's law like David did or like Solomon did even in his good years, still it was a time of great influence and prestige and power on the part of the tribes of Israel who are at that time were two nations.

There is a parallel there to our modern time.  This was their hay-day and this message - this is the time that Amos was sent to bring his lament and his prophecy.  Chapter 5 is a lament, so now we can go to chapter 5 of Amos.

The country was at the peak of its strength.  America, being one of the descended tribes of tribes of Israel, descended nations, is pretty much at the peak of its military power but we are weak in other areas.  Morally we are in a shambles and Israel was too, then, and so was Judah as well. She was at the peak of her military strength at that time and you can see a parallel to the state of Israel today.  But let's look at this interesting prophecy then and I will give you a little bit of background and a little bit of a story of the times as we go through various aspects of it. 

Amos 5:1 Amos 5:1Hear you this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.
American King James Version×
Hear this word which I take up against you, a lamentation, O house of Israel:

Now, where did Amos go to deliver his prophecy?  He went to Bethel.

Bethel was one of the religious sites, religious cities, of the northern house of Israel.  It was on the border of Israel and Judah about 20 miles north of Jerusalem, roughly. Jeroboam l had put his golden calves up there, and then he set them up also in Dan, which was the northernmost city.  So he had convenient locations for the northern tribes to go so they wouldn't have to go back to Jerusalem because he did not intend to follow God's way – Jeroboam 1.  Unfortunately even Jeroboam ll followed the religious example of Jeroboam l. 
So it was to Bethel that Amos went to deliver his message.  He was an energetic guy; probably a terrific sheep rancher and he probably could poke holes in fruit with the best of them in the sycamore orchards.  And here is the message and we will look at this with a commentary, look at it from our perspective now because it applies to now as much as it did to then.

V.2The virgin of Israel has fallen; - The word being a virgin, a young woman of Israel.  God viewed Israel like that and He being her husband.  She has fallen – she was not faithful to God. She will rise no more.  She lies forsaken on her land; There is no one to raise her up.

Now God had, in the decades before Amos came to give this message, in the few decades before, God had elevated the status of Israel tremendously; The house of Israel and the house of Judah.  He did that through the two kings.  One was pretty faithful except the last part of his life.  He needed to be humbled and corrected and God gave him the correction.  He gave him leprosy.  I presume that Uzziah learned from that. 

But this is is a lamentation, as it says in verse 1.  A lamentation is a sad song.  This is a time; this is an evil time, as I was going to say, a bad time.  Now we think about Amos 5 as it applies to our time now at the end of the age closing in on the time that Christ will be returning and the events that will lead up to His return.

V.2 - ……There is no one to raise her up.

In our time, America being the dominant tribe – first it was Ephraim.  Ephraim and Manasseh were supposed to be the dominant tribes at the end of the age.  That was a prophecy given by Jacob and others, and that has happened.  Ephraim came first; did her part first; British Empire and so on with all of her faults because they certainly were not perfect; they held off in the attempt at world domination by those who are far darker than the Anglo-Saxons in the way they rule. Then England began to run toward the end of her tether at the beginning of the twentieth century and brother Manasseh came sailing across over there, as the song went, to intervene on England's behalf and Belgium's behalf and Holland's behalf and France's behalf; they intervened in World War l and helped to defeat the Kaiser and the forces of Germany. They could look to America to help them.  This is a time when there is nobody that they can look to.

You know ever since World War l, just look at the overview of world history.  The Nazi's of Germany and the militarists of Japan wanted to rule the world.  Now what would have happened had they been successful and finally bumped into each other?   Oh, there would have been big fireworks then, no doubt, but initially they were on opposite sides of the planet and they were the "take no prisoner" type of power and their style of leadership was very dark indeed.  All you have to do is read their histories; their primary leadership especially; very dark, very cruel in many respects.

America tried to stay out of that war and she did for a while till Japan made the mistake of awakening the sleeping giant as Admiral Yamamoto described the battle for Pearl Harbor, and she woke up and she powered up and she came out of her great depression.  Literally, the war brought her out of the Depression and she went over there and over there she went around the world.  She went to help brother Ephraim in a battle with Nazi Germany; She came over and helped brother Ephraim as well on the Pacific theatre in battling the world-ruling domination that the Japanese at that time wanted to have.  She was there.  She could go and do that and she brought that war to a close.

Then another war started and America stood in the gap again for her own sake but in this she was also there to help others, all the other nations, against Marxism.  We called it the Cold War.  It came technically to its end in early 1990's, 1991, when the Soviet Union of Russia and her group of peoples that she ruled began to fall apart.  Communism didn't function economically and so it began to fall apart from the inside but that is because America withstood her from the outside.  She could never get the momentum to actually go into a super hot war thus it was called the Cold War; the nuclear standoff and all those things that we had.  America stood in the gap on behalf of the rest of the world as well as herself. 

For a time in our day, more recently, we have had the war on terror when America has again gone wherever it needed to go and to fight who ever the terrorists were and to hold them at bay at least.  They have done that for 10 years.  Now we watch this nation - we happened to be citizens of here - and we can see that increasingly the will to carry on that battle is waning.  It is easy enough to see that handwriting on the wall. So we are seeing a time when America economically would not be able to raise its resistance against, how it views to be, evil. Bear in mind Jeroboam ll was evil and yet he had some good about him in the sense that he defended his nation and stood up for her.  God used him as a judge of sorts there.

This will be a time when the virgin of Israel is fallen, all the nations, in their wake there are going to be all kinds of non-Israelite nations in the same sort of situation. 

V.2- … She will rise no more. She lies forsaken on her land; there is no one to raise her up.  There is a time coming when she isn't going to go to battle; she won't answer the trumpet call – I think that is Ezekiel 9 that talks about that dire warning.  And why, and what is the result going to be and where are we going?  You know if you think that was bad you should see what happens next:

V.3For thus says the Lord God: "The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which goes out by a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel."

That is like the hailstorm right there.  When we read in Revelation – we read about this many are killed by the Red Horse you know, like a quarter of mankind, and then this happens and then this many people die or this percentage die and this percentage die and you wonder well, how do you exactly add all those percentages together?  If this is a literal demographic indication prophetically then we have an inkling that the tribes of Israel, now nations in their own right in the end of the age, will have a 90% death-casualty loss in the end time prophecies.  90% - that means 10% survive.  A remnant will survive.  10% - that is just a remnant, for sure. 

Will that apply to all the rest of the nations to the world?  Well, I don't know.  When you read the Great Tribulation and the Day of the Lord events in Revelation the "How bad is it?" game makes you feel like it is going to be really bad and maybe the 10% survival rate applies to all nations.  We can't say that with a certainty but it certainly could.  It is a reasonable concern to think that that could be it. 

We have a world population of roughly 7 billion people, thus you could begin the millennial rule of Christ with about 700 million.  A world population of 700 million.  That is huge devastation.  Like I said:  That is bad; that is really bad.  We all look at it with sober and sad faces and well we should, but it is something to contemplate at times.  Better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting at times.  Ecclesiastes 7 says that. We are considering this little step into the house of mourning as we contemplate this in the overall viewpoint there might only be 700 million left.

The other day we were trying to Google this, last night actually, at a camp-out.  The Columbus and Cambridge congregations here in Ohio have an annual camp-out in a place called Troyes Hollow up in Holmes County which is Amish territory in that direction and it is a deep, deep canyon.  It is a long one and there is a little stream down there so we all camped and one of the men pulled out his phone and he is trying to search Google to see how long ago was it when the world's population was about 700 million.  The rest of us were just guessing and when we guessed it was only a couple of hundred years.  It might have been a little bit more than that but it wasn't very long ago, really, relatively speaking.  So we are going to be knocked back a few hundred years population wise.  It will be a big start-over at the beginning of the Millennium when Christ begins to rule the nations and the resurrected saints serve as His agents and servants, helping to govern and lead.

Now let's go on.  It doesn't have to be this way in that sense because what we are going to find out because we now look to a call to repentance. 

V.4For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: "Seek Me and live;

V.5but do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beersheba; For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity and Bethel shall come to nothing. 

Those were religious centers of pagan worship in the house of Israel and Judah because Beersheba was at the south end of Judah, down on the edge of the desert and it still is, by the way.  Gilgal was down near Jericho, down at the north-end of the Dead Sea, down in the deep Arabah valley, down there.  When the Israelites crossed the Jordan river before they attacked Jericho, they camped in the plains of Gilgal so it was a religious center but under the Israelite kings it had always been a pagan religious center and so was Bethel.  There was not religious truth.  It was religious falsehood. 

God says: Seek Me and live; but don't go to the false religions around you or among you. Seek the truth. 

V.6 – Amos, repeating what God had said:  Seek the Lord and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it.  With no one to quench it in Bethel

V.7 – You who turn justice to wormwood, and lay righteousness to rest in the earth!"

Amos was very much concerned about justice in the land; righteousness in the land.  That is a major theme of his entire scroll or book.

But notice this: …. He breaks out like fire in the house of Joseph. (V.6) Why the house of Joseph?  I thought we were talking about the house of Israel? Now the house of Israel is the kingdom of Israel; the house of Joseph was one of the tribes except it was actually two tribes because Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh. God, through Jacob – Jacob adopted those two grandsons and made them full sons meaning that their father's tribal inheritance would be divided among the two, lifting them to tribal status in Israel and thus it was to happen. 

Now America, we have always believed, is descended from Manasseh and some say, well, how do you get the name America out of Manasseh?  Well, that is an interesting story.  I am going to give you a quick history lesson – it is fast but it occurs like this:

When we go back in our history books and we read why America is called America, we come to a mapmaker in Italy named Amerigo Vespucci and that's probably the case.  There is another way that the word America could have landed on the map but Amerigo Vespucci was Italian in the sense that he lived in Italy; He sailed with the Spaniards because mapmakers needed to sail so they could see where the land was and the water was; He came from Spain in southern France, originally. He was Jewish. 

There had been a Jewish kingdom in the days before Charlemagne.  Charles Martel was ruling the Franks, the tribe of Reuben as best as we can understand, and they were pushing the Moors.  The Moors were the Arab Muslims who had invaded Europe across the straits of Gibraltar and he was fighting them back and driving them south into Spain and it was in southern France that he had a region there that had a large Jewish population.  So he at his wife's suggestion, Rutrude was her name which is a variation of the word Ruth and very likely she was Jewish, suggested they bring princes of the exiles from over from what would be Iraq today and bring them back to rule the Jewish people and to rally them to his cause.  So Charles Martel did that and he brought among others two specific brothers. 

One of them was named Machir.  Machir became the dominant of the two.  Ultimately there were a lot of Jewish people living in this region that was a caliphate at the time and combined with the Jews fighting within and the Franks without, they were able to push the Moors further south into Spain and eventually back into North Africa. Machir had a sister apparently, according to at least one historical source that I was reading, who married Pepin who was the son of Charles Martel.  So the sister of Machir, this prince Machir, married Pepin and they had a son and his name was Charlemagne - Charlie the Great instead of Charlie Martel like his grandpa.

We do know in fact that there was a Jewish kingdom; they ruled a land. There were a lot of Jewish people in Spain and southern France at that time and they actually had a kingdom there that was subservient to the Frankish overlords but still was a kingdom in its own right.  Machir therefor was a great hero.  This is in the 700's AD and then you move forward a few hundred years and you get into the late 1400's AD, that is when Amerigo Vespucci lived.  Amerigo is the way they said Machir.  Machir was called Hamachiri according to tradition and history studies. Hamachiri in Hebrew means the people of Machir, or individually speaking, the man of Machir and he was the man of Machir.  Now as that got translated into developing romance languages around that area they tended to refer to him as Amerigo.  So Amerigo essentially was an Italian or Latinized way of saying Hamachiri.  The Ha-Machi is not pronounced ha, like we say "aa" but more of a guttural "aa" when it is said in Hebrew.

So Amerigo Vespucci is named after a Jewish prince named Machir who was a hero in his time from before his lifetime. It is like somebody being named George after George Washington today.  Now, you think okay well, that is nice but what has Machir got to do with anything?  Manasseh, the son of Joseph had one son.  His name was Machir. Machir had one son too and his name was Gilead, the other half-tribe of Manasseh but Machir was the son of Manasseh.  So the people of Machir, Hamachiri, is pronounced Amerigo and that is where we got America.  It is a variation on the name of Amerigo.  So from America to Amerigo to Hamachiri for prince Machir and then he is named after a man of the tribe of Manasseh, many, many centuries before, the son of Manasseh and grandson of Joseph.

When we say then the house of Joseph, well that can strike home when you know that it could mean the English speaking peoples today.  It also could mean just all the tribes of Israel because Ephraim was the dominant tribe of the house of Israel.  Jeroboam l was of the tribe of Ephraim.

V.6 – Seek the Lord and live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, with no one to quench it in Bethel - No one to come to the aid of those who have in the modern times come to the aid of others.  Why?  Because they forget that God is in charge.

V.8He (God) made the Pleiades and Orion; (you know, theconstellations). He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; (like Noah's flood). The Lord is His name.

V.9He rains ruin upon the strong, so that fury comes upon the fortress.

The reason that the nation was in the condition it was in - Strong militarily in the days of Amos but it was weak morally and spiritually and that's our condition today and that's because our people don't believe in God.  They look to the Bethel's and Gilgal's and the other place there that was mentioned – Beersheba.

We look to various religions that aren't the true religion of the Bible.  We also look to the secular religions like evolution.  It is not a physical location but that is a religion and it is a very dastardly religion that clearly ignores verses 8 and 9, knowing that God made the constellations.  They didn't evolve; they didn't just happen; He makes all of them live. 

V.9 – He rains ruin upon the strong, so that fury comes upon the fortress.

Our nation today, our world today, is in dire straits.  They have ignored the God that created them. 

V.10They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, - they don't like people who say that their lifestyles and their behaviors are wrong.  That is a tone that has changed over the past several decades to where they get really angry at anybody who challenges their moral authority when they claim there is no moral authority.  That is the craziness of our time.

V.10 - … and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.  Just recently San Francisco was trying to ban the Jewish practice of circumcision for baby boys which I thought astounding considering the population of San Francisco but, go figure.  They are furious with anybody who doesn't agree with them on that.  They don't like anybody to stand in the gates and say, you are wrong.  You shouldn't be doing that.  That is the mode.  We call them sort of the liberals, lifestyle wise, of our modern era.  We are commentators. We are not participants in this.

V.11Therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall not dwell in them; - so you see you have the very rich getting very, very much richer and the poor getting very, very much poorer and this great chasm; but they don't have a concern for those in need and they plant and they build and they do this and that – But you shall not drink wine from them.

V.12 – For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins:  Judah and Israel were mighty nations when this prophecy was made but they had mighty sins.  Likewise so does America today and so the other tribes that are now nations and so is the rest of this world.  In a lot of ways we are getting to the great equalizing.  It is like the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker in the nursery rhyme. We are all in the same tub when it comes to the end-time prophecy and the intervention of God.

V.12 - … Afflicting the just and taking bribes; diverting the poor from justice at the gate.

V.13Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.

Now we still have some freedoms.  It is not quite that bad yet but you can't say it is not an evil time.  We live in an evil time.  It is just that it can be eviler, if that is correct grammar.  More evil undoubtedly is correct.

V.14Seek good and not evil, that you may live; - you don't have to do this, God is saying to this nation and to all nations.  You don't have to do what you are doing.  Seek good and not evil, that you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken.

V.15Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. The gate was the court of law in that time.  That is where all legal matters, whether civil or criminal took place, at the city gate.  That was the gathering spot for the elders of a village or a town to make decisions of a legal nature.  So if it refers to the gate we can say that it is justice in the courts.  We don't have that.  They are not guided by God's word as our American justice system once was, quite significantly.  It hasn't been like that for a long time. 

V.15 - ….It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

You don't have to go down this path.  The nation doesn't – they seem bent on it but they don't have to.  God could intervene and eventually He will but He has to intervene one way or the other; for good or for bad; either for blessing or for chastisement or correction.

V.16Therefore the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, says this: "There shall be wailing in all streets, and they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! Alas!' They shall call the farmer to mourning, and skillful lamenters to wailing.

In America we don't wail at funerals like some cultures do.  Some cultures still do the wailing but in ancient Israel wailing was the way you grieved and if you didn't think that you were a wail of a good wailer or wail enough of a good wailer, then you would hire professional wailers.  And I supposed corresponding to that, people sometimes hire professional singers to sing hymns at funerals.  That is a way of grieving too so there is a modern counterpart, I suppose.  But he says there is going to be a lot of wailing.

V.17In all vineyards there shall be wailing, - they are normally places of abundance and shaded from the heat, and festivities – for I will pass through you," says the Lord.

V.18Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!  You want to take over God's position in that sense.  For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light

You want to go back to the time of David and Solomon, the days of the real golden age of ancient Israel, is what Amos is saying to them.  It is very different.  The day of the Lord is going to be really a troubling time; terrible time for the entire world.

V.19It will be as though – and here is the kick. This is the "How bad is it?" game.  If you think it is that bad, it is much worse. This verse is where I selected the title, drawing from what is happening here.  What it will be like as this age draws to a close:

V.19It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him! 
Or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him!

You are running for your life from a lion that is charging after you and that is terrifying enough – you know a big chomp of a lion and you are toast – and you come running around the corner and you think you beat the lion and here is a bear and he is charging at you.  So you turn again and you run away from the bear and the lion and they are closing in.  You know vectoring where you are going to be, except there is a house and you dive through the door and slam the door and throw the bar down on it, hit all the dead bolts and throw the key away and you're gasping for air after running from the lion and the bear and you lean your hand against the wall and a snake bites you.  I don't know what kind of a snake.  

How many have ever been bitten by snakes, here?  How many have ever been struck at by a snake?  Oh, we've got a couple.  At the campout last night we've had six, I think, who had been struck at by snakes and as they described it, they got bit by garter snakes.  You know the little garden snake and they couldn't get it off their finger or their hand as they struck at them and bit them.  So we discussed being struck at by snakes.  We can wax eloquent on snake stories and I have a lot of that but I won't here.

You just imagine: you are running from one trouble and you come around the corning and you think, Oh, I've got a breathing spell, then suddenly here comes another trouble that is even worse, hard down on you.  Now you are running from two things and you run to the one safe haven you can see, dive through the door, lock the door and you lean against the wall and a snake drops off the rafters and chomp right into you with his poison.   Now I don't know - If you were to add up on your fear factor here, your personal fear factor, are you more frightened about being charged by a lion, or a bear or being bit by a snake?  Most people don't like snakes more than they don't like the other two.  None of them are good.

And as in the "How bad is it?" game, there isn't any good news in this level – we are coming to it. 

V.20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light?  Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

And then God goes on with some other things:

V.21 "I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.

Your religion is wrong.  Even for those in Judah who were going to the Feast in Jerusalem and the Sabbaths and such, even them.  They had a wrong attitude.  The Israelites were keeping their variation of feast days and sacred assemblies, their religion, and God didn't like those either because none of them were the right way or the right days. 

V.22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. – You can't bribe Me.

V.23Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.

Now verse 23 should give us pause for thought.  What kind of music do we listen to?  Is it the stuff that God is going to wave away and says He will not listen to it?  We need to be cautious about the songs we listen to and the performers and the abysmal morality portrayed in that element of the media, the entertainment media, these days. Weigh and consider, verse 23, and think about the kind of music you listen to for entertainment.

V.24But (rather) let justice run down like water - go after music that reinforces the standards of God's law – and righteousness like a mighty stream.

V.25"Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

This is a kind of a caustic question.

V.26You also carried Sikkuth your king and Chiun, your idols, the star of your gods, which you made for yourselves.

Now who were they? Those were pagan idols that the Israelites carried out of Egypt.  Here God is freeing them; dramatic miracles of the ten plagues and the Passover, and they take their household pagan idols, their little portable ones, with them.  So what portable idols do we carry around with us in our day?  They were taken out of Egypt, they were freed, but they carried their own captivity right with them.

V.27Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus," – and literally, Assyria was beyond Damascus – says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.

Within thirty years the house of Israel had been taken into captivity and they had been taken beyond Damascus, over into the Assyrian empire. 

Now that is the bad news but we are going to conclude with the good news and you can go over into chapter 9, but I think you can see when you think about how bad it is, no, no, it is worse.  You are being chased by a lion – well, lions are bad but it is even going to be worse.  When you go round the corner you are going to have a bear on you tail and he is big and he is not happy and he weighs three times what the lion weighs and he runs just as fast.  Bears can do about forty miles an hour for short spurts and that is as fast as a horse can typically run.  Way faster than our paltry eighteen miles an hour when we are Olympic class runners.  So you dive into the first house you come to and there is a snake. 

How bad is it? Oh, it is worse but – but, at the end of the "How bad is it?" game we have to have something positive. 

In verse 8 of chapter 9 of Amos we find the positive of God's coming kingdom.

Amos 9:8 Amos 9:8Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, said the LORD.
American King James Version×
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; That is good? That is still bad, I know that – it is the second part:  Yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," says the Lord.

So there is some kind of silver lining in the dark cloud.

V.9"for surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.

V.10all the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.'

They will suffer the consequences but "I will sift" and He has.  Down through time that has happened and there will be some sifted on into the Millennium as well. 

V.11 – "On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; 

"On that day" is a code phrase meaning the end of this age and the time of the age of the Messiah, which is the day that Christ will rule the nations.

V.11 - ….I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;

V.12That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name - Gentiles will be called by God's name; Israel will be called by God's name - Israel is the one who prevails with God. – Says the Lord who does this thing.

V.13"Behold, the days are coming,"  -and this is going to apply not just to the tribes of Israel, but to all the nations, - says the Lord, "When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed;

We think we get lots to eat right now.  That is good but read the history of the depression.  You had the drought in the early thirties; you had the dustbowl in the middle thirties; you had shortages of food across the board and dire economic times.  We are toying with those.  When Queensland had their recent floods they had enough territory under water to cover the size of Texas, or France, whichever you prefer. They are the same size.  You could have food shortages pretty fast. 

We see the way the weather, the tornadoes and flooding have come to America and other nations here more recently, through the summer, and maybe we will survive all this and we had a lot of late planting of the corn.  Will it get ripe?  We will wait and see.  Probably, but you can see how tenuous our hold on life is. We depend on the rain and we depend on it staying warm long enough for the fruit and the crop to grow. 

We are in serious and challenging times but there will be a time when none of that will be a worry.  This is the World Tomorrow when Jesus is ruling the nations.

V.13 - … when the plowman will overtake the reaper – the Kingdom of God will be on earth - and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.  

V.14 – I will bring back the captives of My people Israel;  - I am going to bring them back – They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards an drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them.

V.15I will plant them in their land and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them," says the Lord your God. 

We live in a challenging time.  A time that is bad and is going to get much worse but look at what is beyond. 

We have a Good News magazine and we are talking about the good news – that is what the word Gospel means – the good news about the coming Kingdom of God.  That is encouraging to know that that is going to be there and God will see us through whatever challenges we have.  He will intervene on our behalf as we trust and rely on Him.  We will experience some of the trouble the world has.  Remember the Israelites endured four of the ten plagues, but the Kingdom of God is coming and it is our job, come earthquake or high water, to announce the good news of that coming kingdom to all the world as a witness.