I read a story about those escape rooms, the live action puzzles where you are locked inside a room and you need to follow clues to get out, like this one…
The story goes that a new escape room was opened and the staff left a complete walkthrough cheat-sheet in the room by mistake. It had all the details of where things were hidden, the significance of objects in the room, things to do, things not to do, and ultimately how to escape was written at the bottom. The players entered the room, found the paper, read it, but then didn’t do what was on it…and ultimately didn’t escape the room.
Today in Amos we see something similar. God has given His people all they need to know, yet they still persist in their prideful, selfish ways (v.8). Pride is, simply, never good (1 Peter 5.5, James 4.6, Proverbs 3.34).
The people seem to think that they will be able to escape the coming judgement (a constant theme of the book), but we know that God has decreed that whether strong or weak, big or small, mighty or insignificant, all that transgresses His Word will be judged accordingly (vv.9-11).
Amos then gives proof that no sinner has the right to think that they will escape the coming judgement of our Lord if they are not living the way they should be (vv.12-14). We can’t expect good results when we are living so contrary to the Word of God, in the same way a thoroughbred champion racehorse would not run as well on rocks, or in the same way oxen would not plow productively on those same rocks (v.12).
For us, we need to realise that no matter who we are, where we are from, we are only able to live right and only able to be in right relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus.
As Hebrews 2 tells us, we must not neglect this great and wonderful salvation, but we must live our lives based on it. The people Amos writes about knew what to do, had it all written down, but chose not to follow it and thought that it would work out well regardless.
Rather than trust in the misguided thought that, well, God is basically all good so we can do as we wish and then expect Him to bless us because He is good, and God is love, right? Rather than work to this way of thinking we need to follow the principle of Micah 6.8, and, if we do, we are more than able to escape the coming judgement.
He has told you,
O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice,
and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?