The Destruction of Israel
1 I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:
Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape.
2 If they dig into Sheol,
from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
from there I will bring them down.
3 If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
4 And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
for evil and not for good.
5 The Lord God of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
and all who dwell in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
6 who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the Lord is his name.
7 Are you not like the Cushites to me,
O people of Israel? declares the Lord.
Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,
declares the Lord.
9 For behold, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.
This is the last of the five prophetic visions that Amos was given to enhance his message.
We should carefully consider the attributes of our God, and then we should apply them practically to our lives in ways like comfort and encouragement to holiness.
I. Judgment again pronounced
A. Judgment would certainly come on them because of their sin (9:8a, 10a).
1. Yes, Israel was a kingdom, but it was a kingdom of sin. This was a sad failure for the old covenant people. They were to be a holy nation (Ex 19:6), but instead they were characterized by sin.
2. God would justly judge them (9:9-10). The “kernels” would not be judged, but every sinner would.
B. Judgment with no possibility of escape would come upon them.
1. The judgment would come regardless of their boasts to the contrary (9:10b).
2. God corrects the deceptive ideas of humanity (cf. Ps 2:1-6).
C. This was the beginning of the end of the old covenant order (9:7).
1. Instead of being God’s treasured possession (Ex 19:5), Israel would be regarded by God as “the same to me as the Cushites”.
2. This process would take about 750 years to carry out, culminating in Christ’s setting aside of the nation (Mt 23:37-39).
3. However, while God would end their kingdom, the whole people would not be forsaken. There is a remnant chosen by grace (Rm 9:27-29; 11:25-29).
Apply: Let us remember that God is both the God of justice and of grace.
II. The omnipresent God who judges
A. His nature explains why there can be no escape from his justice. A person is never out of his domain or jurisdiction.
1. There is no refuge where the sinner can hide from God.
2. What is said in Ps 139:7-10 about God’s grace is also said here about his justice.
B. God’s omnipresence does not limit God in his abilities.
1. It does not limit his power (9:2).
a. Verse one stresses this by the use of the name “Adonai”. God is the master or lord. He judges and rules.
b. Amos describes God’s power (9:5-6). God is the Creator and Commander of his creation.
2. It does not limit his knowledge (9:3a). The phrase “hunt them down” is an anthropomorphic expression used to describe the completeness of God’s knowledge (cf. “searched” in Ps 139:1).
3. It does not limit his sovereignty (9:3b-4). Everything serves God’s ultimate purpose. Some may be unwilling servants, but their evil intent can be overruled for God’s glory and our good.
Illustration: Caesar’s decree of the census
Point: God is the same in his essence in all places. He is totally God everywhere, though in some places and times he reveals himself in different ways.
C. Even though God is everywhere present, he is separate from his creation. Yet he is fully able to act in and on his creation. The Bible does not teach pantheism (“everything is god”), but it does reveal that God is transcendent (“over all”) and immanent (“right here”) at the same time.
Apply: Therefore, we should worship God according to his revelation of his glorious nature. That revelation should transform our thinking, unlike Israel, which failed to change their view of God.
Pastor Dave Frampton
When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.