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Two Legs or a Piece of an Ear

by John P. DiMarzio

Two leg bones or a piece of an ear is not much to have left from one of your favorite sheep. It won’t win a blue ribbon at the county fair. It sure isn’t worth reaching into a lion’s mouth for. Yet in the book of Amos God presents Himself as a shepherd who “snatches from the lion’s mouth two leg bones or a piece of an ear” in an effort to rescue what’s left of His chosen people.

How does Amos 3:12 relate to us? At least five lessons suggest themselves to us. The first of these relates to the world. Whether intentionally or not, the world seems to take us apart on a daily basis. You get up in the morning ready to face a new day, go to the kitchen, pour a heaping bowl of cereal, and reach into the refrigerator to get the milk. No! It’s not all gone, but there’s only enough to dampen two flakes. So off to work you go, stomach growling, only to find your boss anxiously awaiting your arrival. No, it’s not to give you a raise; it’s to let you know how much your first mistake in five years has cost the company. And the day has only just begun; on and on it goes. It seems as though the world at times is like a lion waiting to devour us.

A second lesson we can see in Amos is that God wants what’s left. When you’ve been beaten down by the world or life’s circumstances or feel that your family and friends have all deserted you, God will still take what’s left. He took what was left of the thief on the cross. Just a few precious moments was all the thief had left; the world had received its portion. God took what was left and gave him eternal life.

Thirdly, God never gives up on us– even when there’s just a slight chance of redemption. Peter had denied God’s only begotten Son three times. (Once is enough to morally wound most friendships.) One book later we see Peter the evangelist preaching boldly to thousands.

A fourth application from this passage is that God can rebuild what is left. Job had lost all: property, family, money, and his physical health. All he had left was three well-meaning friends, who picked at his supposed flaws. This was not the end for Job; God re-established him and returned all he lost plus more.
Finally God will fight for us. If you don’t believe that, next time you are at the zoo, try snatching something out of the lion’s mouth. God fought for Israel time and time again – even when the majority of their problems were self-inflicted, as ours are.

Feel like you only have two leg bones and a piece of an ear left? Take heart. God can still use you!

–Sent by Jerry Carmichael

[Include the ff. note]
Note from the editor: Recently we came across a lecture given back in 1998. (We had almost forgotten about it.) That year the theme chosen by the Christian Scholars Conference was Robert Henry Boll–the most outstanding editor Word and Work has ever had. Since in 1998 I edited W&W, they asked me to speak on Brother Boll as a writer and editor. (Other speakers lectured on other aspects of his multi-faceted ministry. I do not have access to any of those messages.) We believe you will profit from learning or being reminded about this influential-but-humble servant of the Lord. This series will continue for 5-6 months, Lord willing, for there still are rich lessons for us now.




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The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

John 10:10