Summary: Even in times of great trial God provides encouragement for His people who are true to Him that there will be an end to our captivity and that we will again be free
AND ROSES WILL BLOOM
Responsive Reading: Lev. 26:1 - Lev. 26:13
It has been a long haul studying the book of Amos.
Some of you are probably wondering if there is any good news in this at all.
It seems as if all Amos can talk about is a cloud of death and destruction.
So many ways Amos tried to get his message to the Israelites, the talk, the sermons, finally the personal visions he had for himself.
In all of this Israel would not listen.
They had wandered so far away from God, that they could not find their way back.
And they further deceived themselves into thinking that because they were God’s people, that He would threaten judgement but not carry the threat through.
How mistaken they would be!
They forgot that one of the recurring themes of the book is the Sovereignty of God.
Essentially, that is what troubles me more about North American churches that anything else.
With a loss of reverence to the power of God, comes a loss of dependancy on Him.
We think we can do it all on our own.
We devise our own idols, and our own centres of worship.
Think about it.
We decide that on Sunday Night instead of going to Church and worshipping God, we are going to go to a ball game.
The center of worship ceases to be in the church but the ball field.
Worship of God is placed in second place to a baseball game.
And what’s worse, we are making a public witness that it is all right to do so.
I have shown you through the study the many similarities between the people of Israel and the people of North America today.
The ultimate conclusion is that if the people of Israel were to see judgement for their transgressions, how can the North American church fail to expect deservedly that same judgement?
An even greater question is how do we take a book that is so negative and find the roses that are planted in it?
I would suggest to you that we have a forgotten element of judgement.
Judgement and punishment has traditionally been seen as negative. We want people not to do a certain activity, and so we punish them if they do.
Children may be able to recognize that we love them when we punish them, but their view of punishment is still not to do a certain thing.
There is an element of restoration that happens as a result of punishment or judgement.
Just as parents, God disciplines or judges His people to bring them back into a good relationship with Him.
That is an important role in God’s judgement.
In judgement God can show his sovereignty, can correct the political, religious, and cultural conditions that allowed for the people to turn from God, and shows that He still wants a relationship with His chosen people.
We were introduced to the idea of reconstruction last week.
And we are going to continue with theme today.
In Amos chapter nine we are going to see three things.
1. The Sovereignty of God Amos 9:1 - 9:10
2. The promise of restoration Amos 9:11 - 9:15
3. The agent of the restoration. Amos 9:11 - 9:15
The first part of this chapter we looked at last week.
It was the fifth in the series of visions God gave to Amos concerning the ultimate judgement of Israel.
Amos knows why the judgement is to come.
It is in this vision that God shows Amos the extent of the judgement.
The very foundations of Israel are to be destroyed.
All of the people were involved.
Their land, their buildings, all were involved and destroyed.
One reason is that it establishes the sovereignty of God.
It is just as a child will test a parent to find out who’s the boss.
The child challenges the parents authority.
If the parent does not answer the challenge by discipline then the child does not fear the parents authority.
How the parent exercises that discipline can effect the challenge.
With my niece a good strong word or a time on the couch would be good enough.
For others that would do no good at all.
For some, nothing short of a spanking will do.
They see the type of discipline as either a strength or weakness on the part of the parent.
Discipline to be effective must present the parent in a sovereign position over the child, and not visa-versa.
The same is true of God.
He does not send judgement just for the sake of judgement.
He sends it to exert His sovereignty on a people who have challenged it, or no longer believe in it.