Summary: The need of repentance from sin
Intro: We’ve been reading in the minor prophets this week. Most of what we’ve read this week has been God’s messages of judgment for sin. Has there ever been a time in your life when you deserved judgment, but you were shown mercy? I can remember being 17 - one night I had been roller skating with some teens in my youth group. I was taking some kids home, and about 11:45 one girl asked, “What time is it?” I said it was 10:45. She said, “Oh, I’ve got to be home by 11.” I started going a little faster to get her home in time. Now, my lesson today is not that it’s right to break the law if you have a good reason. In fact, God helped remind me of that fact. After a few minutes, I looked in my rear view mirror and saw a flashing red light.
Officer Hillbish, I still remember his name, pulled me over and gave me a ticket. I remember dropping the kids off, and going home. My dad was waiting in the kitchen for me. I thought I’d try to lessen the blow by saying, “Dad, what would you say if I told you I wrecked the car?” He said, “You didn’t, did you.” I said, “No, what would you say if I told you I got a speeding ticket?” He said, “Let me see it.” I pulled it out and handed it to him. He took it, and said, “It’s your baby, you’ll have to take care of it, and tore it up in pieces.” Then he said, Officer Hillbish called and said his speedometer hadn’t been certified in the last 30 days, and you’re off the hook. Just drive more careful next time!
I. Often God’s mercy withholds judgment from coming to us.
We see God had prepared some great judgment for his people: plagues of locusts, and devastation by fire. Yet, in each case, the mercy of God withheld judgment from coming. As Ronda and I were driving along this week we saw a sign that said, “Some people sow wild oats then pray for a crop failure.”
Often God’s mercy withholds the judgment that we really deserve. Romans 2:4 (quickview)  Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realising that God’s kindness leads you towards repentance?
God put up with the idolatry of his people for years and years, ptiently trying to call them to repentance. Yet they did not listen. They failed to respond to his mercy.
II. There comes a day when God gives the judgment that is due for our sin.
God told Amos that even though he had been patient, the judgment for sin was coming. The vision of one with a plumb line is given to show that God will determine very clearly that which is out of line.
I had some experiences this past week with keeping things in line. We needed a fence for our dog, Bobby. After pricing new fence, I decided that 100 feet of used fence that I found in the Peddler’s Post would be sufficient. I got the fence cleaned up, bought the 4x4’s, and dug the holes. I learned a lot about keeping things in line. It is not only important to make sure the hole is dug at the right spot, but you have to make sure the posts are level both ways. [**illustrate]