Moment in the Word

Amos 5:18-20 Woe to you who long for the Day of the LORD! What will the Day of the LORD be for you? It will be darkness and not light. 19It will be like a man who flees from a lion, only to encounter a bear, or who enters his house and rests his hand against the wall, only to be bitten by a snake.20 Will not the Day of the LORD be darkness and not light, even gloom with no brightness in it?
I used this same verse in a recent article. But, since our President and First Lady have contracted Covid-19, I feel the need to reiterate that America's single hope is God's clemency... not masks, not vaccines, not political parties or elections, but only genuine repentance before the Almighty.
Soon enough, the other party will have all the problems they can handle too! Consequently, neither faction will have the ability to solve our deep-seated moral malady.
The passage in Amos that illustrates a person meeting a bear while running from a lion and then being bitten by a snake after escaping the bear, clearly portrays that the ultimate solution for our national crisis is not one contrived remedy or the other... but instead, God alone! The Almighty Judge is hemming us in on every side until there is no place left to run but Him! Furthermore, the Church is integral to resolving our country's dilemma through our God-given obligation to the Ministry of Repentance, "When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name (THE CHURCH), will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land." 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
But does the Church even recognize the vital role it has to play in the "Ministry" of Repentance?
To answer that question, we must understand the significance of the earthly Church, "All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it." 1 Corinthians 12:27.
If the Church is now Christ's Body on earth then we must remember the ministry that God gave Jesus, "...the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." Isaiah 53:6
Granted, Christ's sacrifice for sin was offered only once (Hebrews 9:28); however, the need for mediation and repentance has been laid on the shoulders of the Church! Just as Jesus cried from the Cross, "Father, forgive them because they don't understand what they're doing (Luke 23:34)," the Church must cry, "Father, forgive them because they have absolutely no idea what's coming!"
Years ago, as a child in the Assembly of God, I learned the simple truth that God was using His Beloved Son as a crude tool (Is. 53:2) to reconcile the world to Himself, "not counting men's trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ: Be reconciled to God." 2 Corinthians 5:19-20
The Church's problem understanding its vital Ministry of Repentance might be that individual members feel they have nothing to repent for, but neither did Jesus, "God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God." 2 Corinthians 5:21 Thus, the Church accomplishes the same role regarding our Ministry of Repentance.
If our nation is to be healed, repentance must begin at the Church! This has always been and is now the spiritual order of our ministry! We must stand before God willing to repent for sin that others currently see no need to repent of, "That is why he is obligated to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people. No one takes this honor upon himself; he must be called by God, just as Aaron was." Hebrews 5:3-4 Again, notice the calling of the Church that mirrors the priestly ministry of Aaron to bear the sins of others through the act of repentance!
When the plague suddenly swept through Israel due to the people's sin, notice Aaron's response, "And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the congregation; and behold, the plague was begun among the people: and he put on incense, and made an atonement for the people. And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague stopped." Numbers 16:47-48
But do we? Unlike Aaron, many in the Church today deny the possibility of a pandemic being God's judgment for sin, in spite of 2 Chronicles 7:13! Instead of immediately resorting to our obligated Ministry of Repentance, a large portion of the Western Church fingers CNN, the Chinese, the communists, a political party, radical liberals, ANTIFA, etc. When will we wake up, recognize God's hand, and accept spiritual accountability for the divine order outlined in 2 Chronicles 7:14?
By the time Aaron grabbed his sensor and risked his life to stand in death's way for the people's sake... 14,700 Israelites had died of the plague. Currently, 34,794,819 individuals have been infected in the present global pandemic and 1,032,226 people have died, but all the Western Church can do is quibble whether the numbers have been counted correctly! So, when will the priestly office of the Church recognize the time for activating our obligated Ministry of Repentance? When will the "priests, who minister to the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar; saying, 'Spare Your people, O LORD, And do not give Your heritage to reproach, That the nations should rule over them. Why should they say among the peoples, 'Where is their God?'" Joel 2:17
So, maybe you're still wondering if God's command for the Ministry of Repentance really applies to you, since you're such a good person already. Yes, according to Joel 2:16, it does, "Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the aged, gather the children, even those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber." The time has come for everyone to repent... first of all, the Church!
In conclusion, did you ever wonder why St. Peter said, "For the time is come that judgment must first begin at the house of God?" 1 Peter 4:17 Simply put, the Ministry of Repentance and Reconciliation was given to the Church, God's Salt and God's Light in the world (Matt. 5:13-15)... not to sinners! So, if we don't begin the process of repentance... who will? And if we neglect our obligated Ministry of Repentance, then we will be the very first to face God's condemnation. Unlike the lost, we actually knew better!

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