This Is the Night (Amos 5)
“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). We're used to this opening line from the Service of Prayer and Preaching. But Amos has a different message in our text tonight.We live after the resurrection, Amos lived and preached before the Incarnation. Before the Light of the World invaded the darkness of sin.
From their youth Israel had been called out of Egypt, fed, and nourished for the journey, and given their tribal inheritance. They had the sure and certain prophetic words of Elijah and Elisha. God had again and again delivered, saved, and rescued them. And through unfaithful living they never saw the light in their darkness!
The result was that the rod of God’s anger, Assyria, attacked and destroyed the Northern Kingdom in 721BC. That's the night the lights went out in Israel.
Amos promises this night of darkness in our text. This is the night the LORD has made. Like a man fleeing from a lion, and a bear meets him, or goes into the house and leans his hand against the wall, and a serpent bites him.
Israel fleeing from the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:9; Revelation 5:5) in their apostasy. Running straight into the bear's maw of the Baals and Asherim. Thinking they were safe and secure, Satan bites them with the fangs of Assyria.
In the baptismal flood you and I were called out of Egypt. In our Lord's Body and Blood we are fed and nourished for the journey. “We have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade, kept in heaven” (1 Peter 1:4). We have “the word of the prophets made more certain” (2 Peter 1:19). God has again and again delivered us, saved us, and rescued us. And we don't see it!
Why? John 3:19 states, “This is the verdict: light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.”
We love the darkness of self-centered narcissism, we live in the darkness of lies and half-truths, and we have an ongoing lust for more of the darkness that feeds our flesh. The Prince of Darkness mocks our feeble discipleship, our failed relationships, and our fatal attractions.
But there is no need for us to remain in the darkness of God’s judgment. Jesus is the Light that took on flesh so that He might take us into His arms. Heal our hurts. Forgive our filth. Destroy our darkness. He took on flesh to live the life we could not live. He died our death so we need not die. The Nicene creed declares of Jesus, “Light of Light!”
But the Light of the world also knows the darkness of Yahweh’s night. For three hours he hung on the cross in darkness. Bled in the darkness. Cried in the darkness. Thirsted in the darkness. Jesus knows the darkness of Yahweh’s night better than anyone!
Would this thick darkness mean that Jesus ceases to shine again? Would the betrayal, the blood, and the burial be the final curtain call?
Never! Jesus is the great Light! John 1:5 states, “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it!”
Sin's darkness cannot overcome Jesus' light. While we live in sin's darkness, we strive to walk as children of the Light. Trusting in Jesus who leads us through the darkness with the Light that others cannot perceive without faith.
All of life changes as we look to and trust in His light. Standing on the promises of forgiven sin. Walking in the Light of Christ our example. Walking through the Night the Lord has made so we may see the joys of the Day the Lord has made. Amen.