The biblical Book of Job addresses the problem of suffering in a way that is superior to the way moderns tend to talk about it in three ways: (1) it never questions God’s sovereignty; (2) it recognizes our human tendency to assume that God’s righteous judgments will be intelligible and relatively immediate; (3) it emphasizes the role of dialogue (including especially dialogue with God) as the path of resolution for the problem of suffering.
The way of the LORD is a refuge for the man of integrity, but it is ruin for troublemakers.
The biblical concept of “holiness” is not simply “doing good”, but it is the context that defines what is good and infuses our doing good with divine significance. The relationship between holiness and what the world sees as “good” is complex: sometimes they coincide, sometimes they are askew, and sometimes they come directly into conflict.
God calls us to risk everything for him. But the promise to us far outweighs the risk.
Psalm 2 is a celebration of the unquestionable supremacy of God and his Messiah over all the rebellious forces of humanity. Not only is this the message of the Psalm’s content, it is even embedded in the Psalm’s concentric structure.
Amos reaffirms that the judgment that is coming will be a targeted one rather than an indiscriminate one. God will shake the world as if in a sieve. A righteous remnant will be preserved. The wicked, however, in particular those who are convinced that nothing bad will happen to them, will perish.
God alone is sovereign. This means (1) that there is no point in trying to appeal to other deities, and (2) that God is the God of the whole world. This means that when God’s covenant people become no different in their conduct from the nations of the world, they cease to be in any substantial way unique and are nothing more than just another “sinful kingdom.”
Amos 9:1-4 recapitulates many themes from earlier in the book of Amos for climactic effect and even intensifies these themes. Amos says that a fate worse than death is coming for the Israelites, and this fate is absolutely inescapable.
For Amos, religious fidelity and social immorality are not really two different realms of sinfulness. They are inextricably linked to one another, and this is one of the really important ways that the book of Amos confronts us in modern Western Civilization. Theology implies ethics, and ethics depends upon theology.
Yahweh is not only the Creator but the sustainer of all that is. To try to live without the Creator while holding onto the creation is folly. In the same way, to try to hold onto peace and joy without source of all peace and joy is folly. Humans were created to be joyful, but when we displace God from the throne of our life, joy goes with him. It can be no other way, because he alone is the source of all joy.