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Amos 5:18-20, The Day of the Lord a Dark Day

Tuesday, November 14

The Wrath of an Angry God?

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Israel has been exiled and is crying out for the Lord to hear them. But Amos' words are anything but hopeful -- the Lord is angry with the people, and the Lord's wrath burns no less hot than their captors'.

It is a common human experience to believe God is punishing us for something. Every time we experience an illness, accident, death, or loss, there is another opportunity to wonder, what have I done to deserve this? Why is God angry with me?

Years ago I knew a woman whose daughter got pregnant out of wedlock (at a time that just wasn't done). When the baby was born, he suffered from a terrible birth defect, Amniotic Band Syndrome. As a result, he was born missing fingers and toes, and with damage to his legs. The woman wanted to know if God had punished her daughter in this way because she had gotten pregnant with no intention of staying with the baby's father. It broke my heart to think she believed God was capable and willing to do such a thing to a child. I told her, no, God was just as heartbroken about the baby's condition as we all were. But also that God would walk with him throughout his entire life. He is a young adult now, and is living a great life. He adapted well and is well loved.

The woman's lament and Amos' lament both reflect the common human experience of grief and loss, and of feeling abandoned or punished by God. Even though God does not punish people in that way, the experience is real. The pain is felt. But knowing we all experience it does help. Even if just a little bit. Amos' lament reminds us we are not alone.

Narrative Lectionary Text: Amos 5:18-20

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?