Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. Amos 5:15

A friend of mine came around the corner of his garage just in time to see his young son with the garden hose, filling his lawn mower with water! He stopped him immediately, but it was too late. The tank which had been nearly empty, was now full of a mixture of gasoline and nice fresh water. The little boy was very proud of himself for ‘helping daddy’ get ready to mow the lawn!

The lad, of course had no idea the damage that could have been done had dad not discovered his actions. Not only would the mower not had run properly, the engine would have been completely destroyed. Water and gas don’t mix. Gasoline engines weren’t made to run on water.

To fix the situation, dad drained the fuel tank completely and made sure it was completely dry. Then he filled it with fresh, untainted fuel. Any moisture left behind could have had disastrous effects on the engine.

The prophet Amos, found a similar situation during his ministry to the people of Israel. The people had strayed far from the laws that God had instituted. They were a greedy people. They were an immoral people. They had turned worship into a bunch of rules, traditions and activities.

Amos tells them that if they were to escape the consequences of their sin, changes were going to have to happen. They needed to rid themselves of all evil. Just as my friend needed to completely empty the fuel tank of his mower, Israel needed to completely remove all vestiges of evil in their lives. We call this repentance. It’s a change of activity, a change of attitude, a change of mind. To confess our sin means nothing without repentance.

But more was needed in order for Israel to be restored. They needed to replace the evil actions in their lives with something else, something good, something pleasing to God. It would have done no good from my friend to empty the fuel tank of the mower and then try to start his machine. It needed new fuel in order to run. Clinging to the good rather than evil is called holiness. It involves actions, thoughts and motivations that please God rather than man.

In our lives it’s even more important to replace the ‘evil things’ with good things. Jesus tells us that if a demon leaves and we don’t replace that part of our lives with good things, he’ll just return at a later date…and he’ll bring friends. You’ll be worse off than you were before.

The end result of turning our back on evil and clinging to good is that our lives will be marked with justice towards others. Not the fickle kind of justice the world offers, but the graceful and merciful justice of a loving God.

You can’t run on empty. Ask the Father to search your heart and reveal anything that may be hindering your relationship with him. Then fill that spot with things that are pleasing to him. Your ‘engine’ will run more smoothly.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, reveal to me the areas of my life that need repentance. Empower me to change so that my life is filled with good things, not bad; so my life will exemplify the graceful and merciful justice of your word. Amen.