Today’s readings.. (Esther 5,6), (Amos 9), (Hebrews 1,2)
The 9 chapters of the prophecy of Amos which we completed reading today, is one of continuous condemnation of God’s nation – until the final verses of the last chapter. In these the prophet records the picture – the vision – God finally gives him that illuminates the nation’s ultimate restoration.
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom and I will destroy it …” [v.8] But the words which follow open up for those who continue listening or reading his message a totally different ultimate vision, “ …. ‘Except I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob.‘ The next verse “ … I will command and shake the house of Israel among the nations as one shakes with a sieve, but no pebble shall fall to the earth.” This has happened in such a wonderful way – whereas other nations of similar antiquity, e.g. the Assyrians who destroyed the northern kingdom, have completely disappeared. .
The final verses tell us, “ ‘Behold the days are coming,’ declares the LORD, when …I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted …” [v.13-15]
In the New Testament we have started reading the letter to the Hebrews. It reminds its Jewish readers of the First Century how “the message declared by angels proved to be reliable and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution.” Amos testifies to this! But we must take note of the challenge that followed – for the First Century Hebrews – a challenge which equally applies to us.
“How shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard” And now in our days, ‘by those who read about “such a great salvation.” Those who neglect such an opportunity will surely not escape some kind of “retribution” – the lessons of history are plain. There is no middle path – our ultimate destiny is either eternal life – or eternal death.