As we become aware of just how sinful we really are, the voice of condemnation may spin this awareness as a sign that we are not truly saved. But as painful as this awareness is, it is actually part of the process of sanctification and evidence of the Holy Spirit’s activity in our lives, the reproof of a loving Father. It is important that we realize that though sometimes our salvation is a painful one, it is a good kind of pain.
Amos calls on Israel to repent so that God will be with them to protect and prosper them the way they think he is. Because no matter how far we have fallen, we can always know that God will be merciful when no one else would be.
In Amos 5:10-13, we see a corrupt society where the wealthy elite maintain their wealth and power by dishonestly fixing the system in their favor. A just judge is despised. God’s punishment is appropriate: whatever you use your wealth to build will be taken from you before you can enjoy it.
God alone created the stars, so why would we consult the stars about our destinies when we can consult God? God alone gives us rain and provides for our needs, so why would we seek out another god to provide for us or, worse, to push God out of the picture altogether?
The question Amos 5:1-7 poses to us today is this: where are we seeking our security? Are we, like Israel, confusing human institutions for the activity of God in the world? Are we conflating the Kingdom of God and the kingdoms of the earth?
Why does this belief persist that we are not experiencing the full benefits of the Kingdom of God? It persists not based on the Bible and not based on experience but merely on the strength of assumptions that shape our perception of what the Bible says and of our experiences in false contrast.
In denying the accountability of the cross and pretending to sit in judgment over the Church, the claim that “The Church needs to be held accountable for its past” empties the cross of its power and brings Jesus down from the throne of judgment.
To say “Jesus is Lord” is the most political thing you can say, but not because it implies a political agenda. When we declare that Jesus is Lord and not Caesar, we are saying that the realm of life and death is not politics but the throne room of Jesus.
Amos 4:6-13 tells us how, in an effort to bring Israel to her senses, God sent a series of calamities, including famine, drought, blight, pestilence, disease, and violence. Nevertheless, Israel wouldn’t turn back to God. This list of calamities is strongly reminiscent of the curse list in Deuteronomy 28, suggesting a covenant context for Amos 4.
Amos 4:4-5 sits in the middle of the trajectory of Hebrew prophecy by declaring that only worship that proceeds from a heart that loves God and loves its neighbor is acceptable to God. Amos sounds a lot like Jesus.