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God Judges out of Mercy

Posted by Esther Siew on

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.


When a trumpet sounds in a city,
    do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
    has not the Lord caused it?

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing
    without revealing his plan
    to his servants the prophets.

The lion has roared—
    who will not fear?
The Sovereign Lord has spoken—
    who can but prophesy?

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“An enemy will overrun your land,
    pull down your strongholds
    and plunder your fortresses.”

Amos 3:6-8, 11 (NIV)


The people of Israel would have known from their parents and priests that, according to the Law, suffering and exile would be the consequences of living apart from God's way (Deut. 28).

The prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Amos, reminded the people of this again and again. Though these warnings of disaster seemed like bad news, they were actually words of mercy!

Bringing the oncoming disaster to people’s attention was God’s gracious providence. While the hard truth was difficult to swallow, it was necessary, so that the people would have full assurance during times of suffering that God is in control, perfectly holy, and keeps his covenant regardless of how the people reject him.

In fact, the light of hope will shine brightest against the backdrop of sin and judgment. Following every warning of exile, God made clear that He will forgive and restore His people (Amos 9).


I seldom enjoy reading parts of Scripture that reveal how great a sinner I am, or how weak I am.

Nevertheless, by the Holy Spirit’s mighty power, these scriptures are needed to pierce my divided heart like a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12), to be the trustworthy mirror that reveals to me my true self (James 1:23), to replace my heart of stone with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26), and to remind me that I need a great Savior. God is merciful to show me that the wages of sin is eternal death (Romans 6:23a).

Upon hearing this revelation, do I tremble? Or do I just brush off the warning of judgement and exile like how the Israelites did? Do I cling to Him as my great Savior and tell others that He is the only one who can save them?


Heavenly Father, You are so kind to reveal Your mysteries to us (Ephesians 1:9). Holy Spirit, in my own strength I am unable to understand and treasure all Scripture. But Jesus has paid the penalty for my sin on the cross so that I can know You.

I pray that you help me to treasure every part of scripture because it can teach, correct, and train me in righteousness in order for me to be able to do all the good works He has for me to do for His glory (2 Timothy 3:16-17). In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Esther Siew is a contributor for Preachers' Corner.

Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.