March 24, 2011

Minor Prophets XLVIII: The Fist of God

We are always led to believe Israel is special and are God's people. This is true. It is also true that these igorant stiff-necked people have been slowly accumulating God's wrath against them and this wrath will be spent somehow and somewhere. Israel’s special position as God’s “people” will not spare them punishment. God would treat all the nations the same. They would be the same as the Cushites.

God was and still is sovereign over ALL nations. God has guided Israel out of Egypt but He had also migrated the Philistines from Caphtor and the Arameans from Kir. God can and will do what He wants, when He wants, with whomever He chooses. He had hammered the nations of the Egyptians, Philistines and Arameans, so too would he exact a reversal of fortune on Israel. Israel had staked their survival and ability to get away with anything on the fact that they indeed were God’s chosen. But it is so much like humans to abuse and take advantage of the ones or the One who loves us most and is the most forgiving. Israel had banked too much on this and placed all their eggs in the wrong basket. Now the end was at their doorstep and knocking on, neh, knocking down the door. Israel would now be treated as all the others had been before them.

We then are drawn into the dramatic and quite startling narrative shift of Amos 9:11-15. It is so dramatic that any believer that understands its spiritual implication should be jarred into repentance. Is it totally unexpected? No. Is it a dramatic shift to annihilation? Of course it is.

This passage comes at the very end of a chapter proclaiming Israel’s absolute and utter demise. It is total contrast like flipping on a light switch in a dark room. We go from the very depths of darkness, depression and demise and then a promise is made of Israel’s Restoration “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be. The end of the “cutting season” will come-reaping/death and there will be a renewal and the “plowman” will overtake the "reaper". Israel will prosper. A remnant of Israel will be placed back in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land God gave them. Again, as is often the case in the books of the Prophets, we see a dramatic reversal of fortune promised and restoration in the future.

We in this modern age should pay heed to this scenario in Amos. If God did not spare His own people who do we think we are thousands of years later and thousands of miles farther away that we are immune. We need to return to our God and stop this incessant stupid rebelling against the Almighty or the fist of His justice will crush us too. We will be driven to powder and blown into the winds of history.

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