"Because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel" (Amos 4:12).
In this fourth chapter of his book, Amos, the shepherd of Tekoa, lays out an awful indictment. In verses 2-3 he had prophesied of impending military failure before Israel's enemies and of future captivity: "the days shall come upon you, that He |God| will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks." In the fourth and fifth verses Amos sarcastically invites them to offer polluted sacrifices in their sacred cities: "Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression. . . ." Gilgal was the first campground upon entering the Promised Land, where the Passover was celebrated. Bethel was Israel's religious center, where their king Jeroboam had erected an idolatrous altar. These references highlighted their spiritual failure.
But Amos also reminded his contemporaries that God had tried to warn them by famine and hunger (v.6); drought and unpredictable natural disaster (vv.7-8); pest and crop disease (v.9); disease and death (vv.10-11).
The refrain comes back after each of these verses "yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord." The conclusion of this indictment comes in our text verse. God will bring these people face to face to give an account: "Prepare to meet thy God."
Even so, many people today prepare for business appointments, family holiday reunions, and social engagements of every sort. Yet they are woefully unprepared to meet their God. No command could be more appropriate or timely: "Prepare to meet thy God." Why should we invest our energy preparing for mere physical encounters when the God that "formeth the mountains" and "declareth unto man what is His thought" (v.13) is soon to call us before Him? DW