Amos 9.11-15 – Repair, raise, rebuild

Amos finishes on a totally different note to how it starts. There have been passages to challenge us, confront us, maybe even chastise us, but as we reach v.11 the tone changes completely.

There are allusions here to the Davidic Covenant, which you can read more about here.

Simply, it is

“…an unconditional covenant made between God and David through which God promises David and Israel that the Messiah (Jesus Christ) would come from the lineage of David and the tribe of Judah and would establish a kingdom that would endure forever.”

Rather than tear down in righteous judgement, God is going to repair what is broken, raise up what has fallen away, and rebuild what has been destroyed (v.11).

There will be a time of prosperity for His people (vv.13-15), of abundant blessings (v.13a), of unexpected blessings (v.13b), and of quality of life blessings (v.14). The biggest blessing of all is found in v.15, and that is that our salvation will never be pulled away…in Jesus we are repaired, raised, and rebuilt.

Contrasting this with the coming captivity of God’s people, looking ahead to the time of the coming Messiah and the promise made to His people that this would all be fulfilled through the line of David (v.11a) would have given those faithful Old Covenant saints hope and confidence for the future.

As for them, the same is true for us. God stands ready and poised to bring all of this to fruition. The very next thing on the prophetic timeline of eternity is the rapture of the church, nothing else needs to happen prior to that, so we wait with patient expectation.

This should give us a wonderful hope and confidence for the future, and put whatever it is we are battling today into perspective; will it matter tomorrow/next week/next year/when you are at home with the Lord?

His Word to us is very clear, Amos is very clear;

If we are living contrary to His Will, His Way, or His Word, He is righteous, holy, and just, and simply cannot not take action.

But, He is prepared to repair all things, to raise up all things, to rebuild all things, and He is prepared to do this through Jesus, and for those with faith in Jesus, says the Lord your God.

So is the Lord your God and do you have faith in Jesus?

Amos 9.5-10 – All one

In vv.5-6 we see the absolute sovereignty of God, His supreme power and authority over His creation. He touches the earth and it melts, He built heaven and earth, and He commands the waters of the sea with His voice.

Our focus today will be vv.7-8,

“Are you not like the Cushites to me,

O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.

“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,

and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?

Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom,

and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,

except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”

declares the LORD.

Cushites were those people from Ethiopia, and Israel had a false and misguided thought that they were a small and insignificant nation, therefore of lesser value. So, when we read

“Are you not like the Cushites to me,

O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.,

this is God showing them that, really, we are all small and insignificant in equal measure.

We know His Word to us tells us that there is no Jew, no Greek, no slave, no free, no male, no female, no Cushite, no British, no American, no South African, for we are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3.28).


That is where we find our value, not in the colour of our passport or the colour of our skin.


Those that are God’s people have an eternal security regardless of where they are from, and even though tough times will come, we shall never be shaken free from the grip of the Lord our God (v.9).

Amos 9.1-4 – God is everywhere

Today in Amos we see a reminder of God’s omnipresence, His being everywhere. God is not localised to one place at one time, as you are or I am, so, as I am sitting at my desk right now I am not at home. If you are reading this at home you are not sitting in your office, you get the picture. But God is everywhere, all the time, we can never flee His presence (Psalm 139.7).

Amos is relaying the coming judgement of God, and paints a pretty thorough picture of all the places we cannot escape God; Sheol/hell and heaven (v.2), atop high mountains or at the depths of the ocean (v.3), and in captivity by enemies (v.4).

Obviously the context here is not wonderfully positive for the people; God is saying that there is nowhere to run to escape the judgement that is coming. But, if we consider His omnipresence from a different angle, we can view it as truly positive thing.

When we are struggling for motivation in the humdrum of daily life, God is there.

When we are pushed to the limit of frustration in our parenting, God is there.

When we are having some quiet alone time in prayer, God is there.

When we assemble as a church family to worship Him, God is there.

As with many things in the Christian life, God’s omnipresence is about perspective. If we are living contrary to the way He says we ought to be living, then His omnipresence will feel overbearing and ‘big brother’-esque.

But, if we are doing our earthly best to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength, if we are doing our human best to love our neighbour as ourselves (and relying on the indwelling Spirit to help us go beyond our human limits), then His omnipresence will be comforting, inspiring, motivating, and reassuring.

So, God is everywhere. How do you feel about that?

Amos 8.9-14 – Not by bread alone

Yesterday we saw that God has a perfect memory, and the ways He Sovereignly chooses to use it is based on our position before Him; justified through faith in Jesus or in rebellion against Him.

In vv.9-14 Amos continues to deliver God’s message of coming judgement for the persistent and consistent rebellion against His ways, and one really interesting part is vv.11-12;

11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God,

   “when I will send a famine on the land—

not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,

   but of hearing the words of the Lord.

12 They shall wander from sea to sea,

   and from north to east;

they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord,

   but they shall not find it.

God is sending a famine on the land, but not of bread or water, of hearing the words of the Lord. This has to be the worst kind of famine. In difficult times, we need the Word of God the most.

Imagine driving down a dark, windy road in a country you are not familiar with, right then you would need your SatNav/GPS/direction-giving-device, wouldn’t you, and that would be the worst time possible to have that device not work on you. Similarly, for God’s people to have a famine of His Word at a time when they need it most is a terrible thing.

In Matthew 4.4 Jesus draws from Deuteronomy 8 when He says

“It is written,

“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,

but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

The Word of God is so important to our life that it is the ultimate famine used in judgement by the Lord.

If we neglect and reject it when we feel things are going well, will it still speak to us when things are tough?

Personally I would rather not find out. Instead, let us first seek the Kingdom of God, and take to heart the truth that we don’t just live by the intake of food, but as we nourish our bodies we must also nourish our souls with the Word of God.

Amos 8.7-8 – Time: The Great Healer?

Often nowadays we see and hear things like this a lot, don’t we?

 

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Open up your preferred social media and it’s awash with motivational, comforting, or inspirational quotes like that; time is a great healer. I’d tend to agree with British songstress Adele who said

‘They say that time’s supposed to heal ya

But I ain’t done much healing.’

Today we see in Amos the alternative to time being a healer,

7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:

“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.

8 Shall not the land tremble on this account,

and everyone mourn who dwells in it,

and all of it rise like the Nile,

and be tossed about and sink again,

like the Nile of Egypt?”

So, time does not heal, God never forgets (Surely I will never forget any of their deeds), so just leaving something supposedly forgotten over time does not mean it will go away, time does not heal the problem sin causes in our lives.

Rather, we need to repent of it, turn from it, and seek genuine forgiveness and closure. That kind of process only comes from one place.

Under the Old Covenant that Amos and his readers lived, they were responsible for keeping the law, and the law kept a meticulous record of their shortcomings before the Lord and each other.

However, under the New Covenant that Jesus established, God still has the perfect memory (Hebrews 6.10), but only for the good we do under the banner of a believer in Jesus, so to speak (Jeremiah 31.31-33 cf. Hebrews 10.17).

Point to ponder today –

Under the New Covenant God remembers our lawless deeds no more, but does remember the good we do in love for Him and for others. If we reject this, His memory is as sharp as a tack and will include each and every time we distanced ourselves from Him through sin.

Amos 8.1-6 – Summer fruit

Today we see the Lord give Amos a vision of summer fruit, which Amos confirms (vv.1-2). This might not seem like a particularly bad thing for us, but we should remember that the Bible was not written in modern English. In the original Hebrew ‘summer fruit’ and ‘end’ sound alike, so this would have been a much more powerful illustration.

The point of the passage is that ripe fruit is thrown out, fruit at the end of it’s consumable life is not kept around (v.3). You know, don’t you, that when you reach for the fruit bowl and grab something that is all brown and mushy the only place you’re taking it is the bin. This, in principle, is what is happening here.

Through social injustice (v.4), outwardly keeping religious festivals with no inward commitment (v.5), falsifying measures (v.5), giving wrong change (v.5), oppressing the poor (v.6), and selling faulty goods (v.6), God’s people have, in essence, become bad summer fruit.

For us, as well as the specific examples given here in this passage, what can we take care of in our own lives to prevent ourselves becoming soft, mushy, and ready for the bin? The outward appearance of religious adherence and piety may fool some, but, God always knows what is really going on in the heart (v.5a, 1 Samuel 16.7).

It’s a big question with even bigger ramifications, but one that we should care about each and every day.

Point to ponder – Luke 10.25-28

And behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying,

“Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”

He said to him,

“What is written in the Law? How do you read it?”

And he answered,

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

And he said to him,

“You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.”

Amos 7.10-17 – Giving a hard word

Sometimes in life we are presented with situations wherein we need to tell people the truth, straight up, with no sugar coating, whether they like it or not. I’ve had to do this when working in schools, something like,

‘If you continue to A/B/C or don’t stop X/Y/Z you will fail this piece of work/quarter/semester, and that will be on you.’.

Not a particularly fun conversation to have, but sometimes we need to give someone the hard word. Today, Amos gives a hard word to Jeroboam, king of Israel.

First, a wicked prophet from a place of wicked worship stirs the pot by conspiring against Amos (vv.10-11), to which the king (who, by all accounts, was a bad king) responds by telling Amos to basically get gone (vv.12-13). Amos replies and says that he attended no prophet school, received no formal training, no on-the-job mentoring, but simply responded to God’s call (vv.14-15). Then, he gives the king a hard word, straight from the Lord,

17 Therefore thus says the LORD:

“‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,

and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,

and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;

you yourself shall die in an unclean land,

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.'”

As the ruler in-charge, tragedy would befall Jeroboam (v.17a), and his nation would go away into exile (v.17b).


 This was a difficult word in difficult circumstances, but Amos was faithful and true in delivering it.


What is God calling you to do that is difficult?

Is He calling you to pastures new as He called Amos?

    Sometimes the hardest word is not ‘go’, but ‘stay’.

Is He calling you to be His messenger of truth to someone around you?

    Is He speaking a hard word of truth into your life right now?

Point to ponder – When God gives us a hard word, there is always something wonderful behind it, something for our ultimate benefit, because God works all things, both good and bad, together for the good of those who love Him, and for the good of those He has called for His purpose.