God’s Message: “In the same way that a shepherd trying to save a lamb from a lion manages to recover just a pair of legs or the scrap of an ear, So will little be saved of the Israelites who live in Samaria— A couple of old chairs at most, the broken leg of a table. Amos 3:12 (MSG)
There are a number of oak tress on our property in the Ozarks. This past year’s construction seems to have killed one of them completely. Another has several branches that show no signs of life. We’ve waited patiently this year, hoping to see leaves springing to life. Next spring, if no life emerges from the branches, we will cut down the dead wood.
I love how themes flow through God’s Message. Jesus used a word picture of a gardener pruning back the vine, throwing away dead branches that are not connected to the vine, and cutting back the living branches so that they can eventually bear more fruit.
Amos’ prophecy in today’s chapter parallel’s the same theme. The hearts of his people living in Samaria were spiritually dead wood. God’s judgement would completely clear away the dead branches. He was pruning back, and leaving the small remnant that had a chance to come back and bear fruit.
Pruning is a natural part of spiritual progression. God’s purpose for us is maximum fruitfulness. He’s going to trim away the dead wood from time to time to accomplish that purpose.