Our bountiful meals, and lives, are gifts from God.
11 “In that day
“I will restore David’s fallen shelter—
I will repair its broken walls
and restore its ruins—
and will rebuild it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name,”
declares the Lord, who will do these things.
13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.
Have you ever had a meal at someone’s place where the food is amazing and just keeps coming? Nibbles and drinks, delightful hand-made hors d’ouvres followed by yummy soup and a mouth-watering entrée, delicious mains with lashings of magnificent side dishes, scrumptious dessert, the best cheese, classy after dinner mints… all tasty to the eyes and the mouth, and presented wonderfully! Chances are, a meal like this was made for you by someone who loves you – a parent or grandparent or family member, a close friend, a brother or sister in Christ – someone who delights to give you something really good. Even the biggest all-you-can-eat restaurant buffet will never compare with the feast put on by someone who loves you. At the meal, they provide the homemade food is good and plentiful, but it’s not really about the food – it’s about someone who loves you pouring out their affection on you. That’s why it would be so rude to just wolf it all down, burp loudly, toss your napkin on the floor and walk out. A much better response is thanks and returning the love.
It’s pretty easy to get swept up by the amazing things we have in our lives and forget to remember who gave them to us. We begin to take these things for granted, to just see food as a meal and to not actually stop to thank the person who prepared it for us. It’s the same with all the amazing things that God has given to us. Here in Amos 9, God’s prophet Amos has just told Israel of it’s coming destruction, but then goes on to promise restoration. God undertakes to not only rebuild and restore everything that was broken, but also to provide plenty and comfort forever. His generosity is pictured in terms of produce, of things to eat and drink. That picture tells us that there’s nothing inherently wrong with enjoying good food and drink.
It’s important for us to stop and thank God for everything that he has given to us. When we do, we’ll realise just how much he has given. God is good and plentiful and generous and kind. And we can be blind to that; we can focus on things that we don’t have – things that we think we want or need. Like the Israelites, God gives us overflowing blessing that we don’t deserve. We’re going to attend the wedding feast of the Lamb, and enjoy the good things that God can provide, forever. We enjoy a taste of them now. And so, whether in response to food and drink or anything else that is created by God, we should respond with thankfulness and not gluttony.
Head: Can you think of a time recently when you focussed more on what you were given than the one who gave it? A meal, some wine, something else…
Heart: When you were gluttonous for food or something else, why was that? See if you can identify the misbelief that lay behind the urge.
Hands: Invite someone for a meal, or give them a gift of food or drink. Do this in a spirit of love for them. How can planning and doing this help you to think rightly about enjoying the things that God has provided for you?
Prayer: Dear God, Thank you for giving us so much that we can be thankful for and thank you for the people that provide so much for us. We’re sorry for taking everything we have for granted. Please help us to be grateful and to remember everything you have given us. Amen
A song to listen to: Only You Can Satisfy
Geoff Pryde and Maddie Pryde