“I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce. I will plant them on their land, and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them. The Lord your God has spoken.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
If you’ve been reading along with me for very long, you know that I’m a big nerd. This is actually a bit of a culture-wide trend. As millions of comic nerds have grown up big studios have started making movies out of their favorite stories. Marvel Studios have done this better than anyone else in my humble opinion. One of the things they’ve done that have kept audiences returning from one film to the next is that they’ve mastered the post-credit scene (scenes actually). As each movie ends, there’s a little hint that the story isn’t over. God’s story works the same way.
With the Marvel movies, this trend of post-credit scenes is consistent enough that when you see them in theaters, you can actually tell who the real fans are and who they aren’t. When the movie ends, the folks who don’t really know about Marvel movies get up and leave the theater like you normally would at the end of the show. Everyone in the know, though, stays put. They stay put because they know the story isn’t over.
The same thing is true with God. Amos is a pretty rough collection of prophecy. The people of Israel were pretty far off track at this point in their history. Worse, they weren’t showing any signs that there was any kind of a willingness to turn around and come back to the God who had established them as a people.
The result of this is a series of messages of judgment. As we’ve talked about before, Amos actually talks God back from a couple of really awful judgments, but He will not be deterred forever. He is a just God and thus judgment against their heinous sins as a people is coming.
And if that were the end of the story, it would be a pretty depressing picture. But with God, judgment is never the end of the story. Restoration is. This is why throughout the prophets—Amos included—their works never end with judgment, but with hope. They consistently end with promises of redemption and restoration.
This is the kind of God we serve. He has plans that are for our good if only we will stick with Him in order to be able to receive them. We see this not as a single instance in a single book, but as a consistent theme stretching from one end of the Scriptures to the other.
In the aftermath of the fall in Genesis 3, once He has handed out punishments, God speaks a word of hope about a coming child who will crush the head of the serpent. Every time Israel blows it along the journey of their history, God deals with their sin justly, but always points forward toward a time when they will be restored as a people; to a time when He will come to them Himself to show them how to live and to enable them to do it. In other words, He keeps pointing them forward to Christ. There’s a reason the hope of a coming Messiah was such a potent one for the people.
Even once Jesus came, though, the apostles working in the wake of His resurrection and, ultimately, ascension, consistently pointed forward to something more. This world as it currently exists is not the end of the story. There is a day coming when judgment will arrive and all sins will be dealt with justly, but after that will come the great restoration when all the world will be restored to its original intended splendor and all the righteous will receive their reward.
Where we live now is in the in-between. We live in between the breaking of the world and its final restoration. What that means is while things may occasionally seem pretty bad, this is not how they will be forever. You may be going through a rough patch—perhaps one that has stretched on for more years than you could ever have imagined it would—yet you can rest assured that the story is not over.
There is more to come. The credits may look like they’re rolling, but watch for the post-credits scene. The story isn’t over yet. Hope is still on the horizon if only you will receive it. The God who sent His Son to die in your place will yet show Himself faithful to give you the life He promised. Don’t give up. He is coming soon.