Amos 8:11–12; 9:8–15comment (0)
February 7, 2013
By Robert Olsen
Related Scripture: Amos 8:11–12; 9:8–15
Explore the Bible
Assistant Professor of Christian Ministries, University of Mobile
Let the Verdict Be Read!
Amos 8:11–12; 9:8–15
Trust Comes by Hearing (8:11–12)
Chapter 8 of Amos begins with a vision of a basket of ripe summer fruit. But instead of celebrating the summer harvest, God was going to punish Israel because of their sin. The merchants in Israel were guilty of wicked business practices. They overcharged for their products, used phony scales to trick the buyers and mixed their grain with dust and chaff to further trick the buyer. The merchants were so concerned with making a profit that they mistreated the poor, disobeying God’s command to love neighbor and to help the poor and the widow. On top of this, the sellers could not wait for the Sabbath and other festivals to be over so that they could open up their businesses. For these people, the Sabbath was a hindrance, keeping them from earning money instead of a day to rest and commune with God.
This has practical application for us today. When work becomes our primary motivator and supersedes our relationship with Christ, we are as guilty as these merchants. When we go to church only for the sake of getting it over with instead of allowing this time to be a time of spiritual renewal and conviction, we are no different than these Israelites. And because of their actions, God told the Israelites that there would be a time when they would seek out the Lord and desire to hear a word from Him, but to no avail. If the Holy Spirit tries to speak to us and we resist, over time it makes it difficult for God to reach us because we have chosen our own way over God’s. When we listen to Satan long enough, his lies seem like the truth. This should serve as a warning to us to be seeking to hear from God continually by meditating on His Word and by being involved in a local church where we can hear the Word of God preached.
Sovereignty Cuts Two Ways (9:8–10)
Chapter 9 begins with a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar — a strange sight since the presence of the Lord was usually within the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctuary of the Temple. However, God’s presence at the altar was not to show His pleasure at the sacrifices but rather to declare inescapable judgment. God declared that no matter where the people tried to hide He would hunt them down and destroy the “sinful kingdom.” This would usually be good news for the Israelites because all of the kingdoms surrounding Israel were sinful; however, this time the sinful nation referred to Israel herself, not exactly what the people wanted to hear. The people of Israel thought that they would be safe because they were still performing the required sacrifices and observing the Sabbath, but this was only external worship. The attitudes of the worshippers were far from God. God desires true worship — a worship of the heart that manifests itself in our desire to follow God’s laws and commands. Just blindly following the commands of God in the hopes that God will in some way reward us is not true worship.
But, in spite of God’s judgment, God would allow a remnant to remain. God’s love is so great that even though we all deserve to be punished, He is longsuffering and patient and does not give us what we deserve for our trespasses.
True Hope Rests in God (9:11–15)
The last section of Amos ends on a positive note, because God promises to restore Israel. God is holy and just and must punish sin — He did this on a grand scale when He took Israel into exile, but He is also loving and merciful and promised He would eventually restore Israel. God worked with Israel in this fashion, and He also works with us in a similar way. Our sin must be punished, but because of God’s love for us demonstrated in Christ’s dying on our behalf, we are able to have eternal life if we confess our sins and follow Christ. The holy God who created the world desires that we have a relationship with Him. Our response should be to repent of our sins and humbly and joyfully follow Christ.