Lord, Your perfect impartiality is beyond our comprehension.
Read AMOS 2:6–15
Judgment on Israel
6 This is what the Lord says:
“For three sins of Israel,
even for four, I will not relent.
They sell the innocent for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals.
7 They trample on the heads of the poor
as on the dust of the ground
and deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son use the same girl
and so profane my holy name.
8 They lie down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge.
In the house of their god
they drink wine taken as fines.
9 “Yet I destroyed the Amorites before them,
though they were tall as the cedars
and strong as the oaks.
I destroyed their fruit above
and their roots below.
10 I brought you up out of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness
to give you the land of the Amorites.
11 “I also raised up prophets from among your children
and Nazirites from among your youths.
Is this not true, people of Israel?”
declares the Lord.
12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine
and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.
13 “Now then, I will crush you
as a cart crushes when loaded with grain.
14 The swift will not escape,
the strong will not muster their strength,
and the warrior will not save his life.
15 The archer will not stand his ground,
the fleet-footed soldier will not get away,
and the horseman will not save his life.
New International Version (NIV)
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).
A new term has appeared in colloquial English: “weather bomb.” Its meteorological definition is “explosive cyclogenesis” and it describes a super storm that hits with ferocious intensity, causing massive damage. I rather suspect that would be how it felt for Israel when Amos suddenly turns on them with his bombshell. Yes, Israel too is included in God’s judgment! Indeed, far more space is devoted to Israel’s wrongdoing than to that of any of her neighbors. Israel’s crimes are against the poor, stripping them of human dignity (6,7). They are guilty of rape and carousing within the very house of God, using the proceeds of official fines for drink instead of for restitution (7,8), forcing those who attempt to be faithful into going against their conscience and silencing the prophets (11,12).
We can almost feel God’s pain as Amos reminds Israel of his goodness to them in the past: “I brought you up… and led you…” (9–11). The inevitable punishment would come (13–16). God in his love will not leave his people to continue sinning. How could he? If they will not listen to the prophets he sends, then they will have to learn the hard way.
The message of Amos is very somber, but we have to remember that it is due to his love that God brings judgment on his people. As we shall see, they more than deserve it—and we can no doubt think of plenty of others who deserve God’s judgment today. Of course, we do, too! The wonderful truth, however, is that in Jesus God himself took the punishment for the sin of the world. As we read about injustice, violence and horror in our world today, pray that the Gospel will change lives. Then go to work towards making it happen!
What can you do to further the Gospel message and make a difference in your own environment?
Lord, thank You for loving us so much that You will not suffer us to stray so far afield that there is no remedy.