Morning Musing: Amos 9:13-15

“Look, the days are coming – this is the Lord’s declaration – when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one who treads grapes, the sower of seed. The mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it. 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)

Did you ever have someone break something of yours and then try to make up for it with something else that wasn’t as good as the original? When someone has broken something of ours, we don’t just want it replaced, we want it replaced with something of the exact quality or better. There are many descriptions of how God plans to restore His creation. Some of them are more helpful than others. None of them really gives us anything like the details we’d really like to have. Where Amos ends his prophecy, though, gives us a couple of big picture clues that are worth noting. This morning, we are going to finish up this particular journey and talk about God’s big plans for making things better.

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Morning Musing: Amos 9:8-9

“Look, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will obliterate it from the face of the earth. However, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob – this is the Lord’s declaration – for I am about to give the command, and I will shake the house of Israel among all the nations, as one shakes a sieve, but not a pebble will fall to the ground.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

A few weeks ago, and several times since (including yesterday), we talked about the fact that while God certainly delights in justice, He does not delight in judgment. He would much rather bless than punish. We get another glimpse of this truth here in a way that points us toward a few important ideas. Let’s talk about those.

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Morning Musing: Amos 9:1-4

“I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said, ‘Strike the capitals of the pillars so that the thresholds shake; knock them down on the heads of all the people. Then I will kill the rest of them with the sword. None of those who flee will get away; none of the fugitives will escape. If they dig down to Sheol, from there my hand will take them; if they climb to up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. If they hide on the top of Carmel, from there I will track them down and seize them; if they conceal themselves from my sight on the sea floor, from there I will command the sea serpent to bite them. And if they are driven by their enemies into captivity, from there I will command the sword to kill them. I will keep my eye on them for harm and not for good.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

I was in middle school when one of the most sensationalized murder trials in American history took place. The defendant was Hall of Fame running back, O.J. Simpson. He was charged with murdering his ex-wife, Nicole, and Ron Goldman. A great deal of that case has entered our cultural memory as a nation from the nationally televised police chase as Simpson foolishly tried to evade capture in his white Ford Bronco to the bloody gloves found at the crime scene with his DNA on them. I remember when, after weeks of the trial, the jury’s verdict of “not guilty” was rendered in just four hours in spite of a mountain of evidence – including his DNA (which was still a fairly new form of criminal evidence and not yet well understood) found on the bloody gloves at the crime scene – suggesting powerfully that he was in fact guilty. By most accounts, Simpson had escaped justice. Sometimes that happens in our unjust world. There is a day coming, though, when no one will escape justice. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 8:11-12

“Look, the days are coming – this is the declaration of the Lord God – when I will send a famine through the land; not a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and roam from north to east seeking the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever made someone so mad that they wouldn’t talk to you? That’s a rough place to be. If they’re yelling and screaming, at least they’re engaging with you about it. You can work with that. But silence? You feel cut off. You don’t know what they’re thinking. Eventually you start to get desperate for something, anything from them. The longer the silence stretches on, the worse it gets. This is the kind of judgment Amos describes here, and it sounds pretty terrible indeed. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 8:8-10

“Because of this, won’t the land quake and all who dwell in it mourn? All of it will rise like the Nile; it will surge and then subside like the Nile in Egypt. And in that day – this is the declaration of the Lord God – I will make the sun go down at noon; I will darken the land in the daytime. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will cause everyone to wear sackcloth and every head to be shaved. I will make that grief like mourning for an only son and its outcome like a bitter day.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever learned something new about something you thought you understood just fine, and it gave you a totally different perspective on it? That happens every now and then. When it does, you can’t see the old thing in the same way any longer. That happened for me with this passage a few weeks ago. These verses are obviously a prophecy of judgment. It is a judgment coming because of the people’s sin. As I was reading through the devotion on Amos that inspired this journey, though, the author introduced an idea that let me see them in an entirely new light. Let me share that with you.

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