God's Purpose Achieved
Holy One, You are King of kings and Lord of lords, friend of the greatest and of the least of us. I bless Your name.
Consider: Is God really at work in the world? Evil seems rampant in many places. In the Western world the church is declining. How can we hope for a better future?
Amos is a dark book, full of condemnation and judgment. For Israel the day of the Lord will be "darkness not light" (Amos 5:20), yet the book ends with a shaft of bright light! How can that be? There are two reasons. The first is that in the Bible the day of the Lord is always two-sided. Destruction of evil means the triumph of good. After judgment has sieved Israel (8-10), God's good purpose can be fulfilled. The second reason is God's commitment to the covenant. This brought disaster on Israel through the covenant curses, but God's ultimate purpose in the covenant will still be achieved--that through his chosen people all the nations would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). This is what verses 11 and 12 depict. The nation, united under David, is now divided and soon to be reduced to a Judean rump by destruction of the northern kingdom. But God will raise up a new Davidic empire that will bring the nations, even merciless Edom (Amos 1:11), within the covenant.
In Acts, James, Jesus' brother and leader of the Jerusalem church, sees this prophecy fulfilled in the inclusion of the Gentiles in the church (Acts 15:12-21). He appeals to it to support accepting Gentiles without them having to become Jews. His quotation is an interpretation in which "Edom" is read as "mankind" (the consonants are the same in Hebrew, and the original Hebrew text lacks vowel signs). Behind this is the recognition of Jesus as "great David's greater son" through whom God's promises to David are fulfilled in ways that are unexpected but far greater than we would have thought.
Amos's final oracle depicts a renewed earth in hyperbolic terms understandable in an agricultural economy. In Revelation 21 and 22 this is transposed into urban imagery with all the nations brought into the New Jerusalem. God's purpose is achieved!
Apply: What have you learned from Amos about a hope for a better future?
Lord, thank You that You are faithful to Your purposes. Help me to believe that and remain faithful to You even in the dark times.
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