“The end has come upon my people Israel.” Soon their “song” would turn to “wailings.” Why would everyone be overcome by sadness? “So many dead bodies!” The attack of foreign armies and the eventual exile of the northern kingdom would lead to a destruction that would be far more devastating than anything they anticipated.
In the days of Amos the land of Israel was enjoying a great time of prosperity. Yet their wealth was built upon corrupt business practices. Their greed, lies, and brutality were not acceptable to the Lord. How bad were they? They sold “the needy for a pair of sandals” and were very willing to cheat their customers, giving them “the chaff” when they thought they were buying “the wheat.”
God would display unsettling signs in the heavens as a warning that their prophesied losses would soon be an overwhelming reality. This would amount to a very swift reversal of their earlier ill-gotten gains. “I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation.” They would be distraught like parents grieving “for an only son” who had died.
Israel had rejected the revelation that God had sent them through His prophets. They would no longer have the option of hearing the Lord’s oracles, for God would bring a “famine,” not of bread, but of “hearing the words of the Lord.” Sadly, the nation would never really return, at least not as it once was under the leadership of the kings who reigned in Samaria. “They shall fall, and never rise again.”
Would there be any future for the Jews? The Lord would reveal in Amos 9:8 this good news: “I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob.” Peace with God through the Old Testament Law would certainly be unattainable, and there would be a number of centuries when Israel would have no true prophets at all. Nonetheless, the ancient promises of the Lord toward His elect would never be abandoned. A new way of shalom with God beyond the Law would be revealed through the proclamation of His abundant grace. Jews and Gentiles would learn that the only way for us to be “justified” would be through the gift of Jesus as our atoning sacrifice. (Romans 3:19-25)
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Glorious God, the world is moving toward destruction. There is a Day of Judgment coming. Men treat their companions and neighbors as objects with no real dignity. They will surely face Your discipline and wrath. Will we presume upon Your mercy and do the very same things as Your enemies? Father, look upon our weakness and speak to us with clarity and power. Please do not remove Your Word from Your church. Make us a people of love and service. May we be a testimony to all those around Your children, and rescue us from every peril.