Summary: Jesus’ Advent Means Restoration 1) For the fallen tent of David 2) For the fallen descendants of Adam
The porch creaked. The roof leaked. The carpet hadn’t been changed since the last time the (Toronto Maple) Leafs won the Stanley Cup (‘67). For most this house would have been more nightmare than dream, but not for this couple. When they looked at the well-worn house they saw opportunity for they restored houses for a living. They were so good at what they did that, among their friends, their name became synonymous with home restoration, as much as Martha Stewart’s name is synonymous with homemaking.
Do you know people like that who forever bounce around from house to house fixing them up as they go? Jesus is such a person. According to our sermon text, Jesus’ advent, his coming, means restoration. No, he hasn’t come to fix up our houses; he came to restore the fallen tent of David, and to restore the fallen descendants of Adam. Let’s find out what this means for our lives today.
The prophet Amos, who wrote the words of our text, lived around 750 B.C. and ministered to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. Although militarily and materially speaking things were going well for Israel, spiritually speaking matters were horrendous. The rich took advantage of the poor. Justice was perverted in the courts. And God’s people went through the motions of worship. That sounds a lot like Alberta today, don’t you think? Here, the rich keep getting richer at the expense of the poor, criminals get off with a slap on the wrist, and we, God’s people, often just go through the motions of worship. Sure, we sing the hymns but instead of concentrating on the words, we wonder why a different hymn wasn’t chosen? When we pause to privately confess our sins we find it easier to think of the sins committed against us instead of the sins we have committed against others. We are no better than the people of Amos’ day and deserve to hear what God said to them: “Surely the eyes of the Sovereign LORD are on the sinful kingdom. I will destroy it from the face of the earth” (Amos 9:8a).
Although most of the book of Amos is about how God was angry with his people, the prophet didn’t just announce judgment. In the final verses of his book Amos conveyed a promise that stands out like a brilliant sunset in the last moments of a stormy day (Paul Eickmann). Amos wrote: “In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent. I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the LORD, who will do these things” (Amos 9:11, 12).
Although God had every right to destroy Israel, he promised to restore it. He said that he was going to rebuild the fallen tent of King David and make it the grand house it once had been. How would God do this? Many Israelites, including for a time Jesus’ own disciples, thought that God would send them a powerful king descended from David who would lead them to victory over all their enemies. We know that’s not what God had in mind because he sent Jesus. To be sure, Jesus is descended from David and is the most powerful king there is, but he did not come to defeat the political enemies of Israel; he came to defeat the spiritual enemies of mankind.
Why then did God promise to restore the fallen tent of David if he was really speaking about what he would do spiritually for all people? God spoke this way because it was not only through David’s descendant Jesus that restoration would come, it would be through David’s people, the Jews, that the message of restoration would be proclaimed to all. This was clear at the Council of Jerusalem in Acts 15. There, two Jewish men, Paul and Barnabas, explained how God had used them to proclaim his forgiveness to non-Jews. At first there was some concern about this. The Council wasn’t sure whether the message of forgiveness was meant for all people. Thankfully the leader of the Council, the Apostle James the half-brother of Jesus, stood up and quoted our text from Amos to show that it was God’s plan that Gentiles be included in God’s kingdom (Acts 15:15-18). In fact David’s fallen tent would be restored in this way for Jesus’ rule through the gospel would extend far beyond the number of people Kind David ever ruled over.
It’s nice that God restored the fallen tent of David as he promised to do, but how does that make our lives better today? Isn’t reading this text from Amos a bit like watching a home-improvement show? It’s interesting and you learn a few things but it’s not your house their working on so there’s nothing to get too excited about, right? Actually our text has everything to do with the quality of our lives today, for God not only promised to restore the fallen tent of David, he promised to restore the fallen descendants of Adam. Listen. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. 14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God” (Amos 9:13-15).