So, Jonah gets mad when God shows mercy to the Ninevites. Then Jonah gets mad when God doesn’t show mercy to him (with the plant)! Hopefully we are not that fickle, but, human nature being what it is, we probably are. Even though there are good reasons for God’s responses here (when He shows mercy and when He doesn’t), we would do well to remember that He is sovereign!
Exodus 33:19 “And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”
We would also do well to remember Luke 15:10: “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
“You are proud because you live in a rock fortress…”
Did you catch that Edom killed and captured people who were trying to escape Jerusalem (14)? Such hatred and animosity against those who are relatives! Unfortunately we still see it in the Middle East today.
There is a great warning here against hostility and pride. Both will eventually destroy you!
Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”
Twice God allowed Amos to intervene for the people, but then he showed Amos how sinful the people were. He showed a plumb line against a leaning wall, and used that as the illustration that the nation was beyond hope. They were about to fall over! How could they be excused anymore?
Amos is a good example of a limited calling. God called him from his flock, gave him a message to deliver, and then presumably he went back to his sheep. He was not a professional ( 7:14)!
God calls all of us to love, worship and obey him. He gives us gifts and talents to use. That is our lifetime calling! Other jobs or ministries can be seasonal, or temporary, instead of permanent.
Have you been resisting doing something for God because you’re afraid of the commitment? Perhaps it’s something that he’s just calling you to do for a period of time, rather than forever. If you think of it like that, are you more willing to give it a try?
Once again, we see God’s heart. Even with their sin, and even though His holiness demands justice, God cries out, “Seek me and live!” And 5:14 reminds us, “Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you.”
We also have a reminder here that we need to be careful what we wish for. We may cry out to God for His coming, but we have to realize that His coming signifies judgement. The day of the Lord starts out as darkness, and not light. Yes, we want Him to set up His kingdom, but we must also realize that once the ultimate “day of the Lord” comes, judgment falls. That means people will be separated from Him forever. 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us to be as patient, since “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.”
Jesus Christ, Our Hope!
I) Scripture is rooted in ________________
II) Divine ________________ is a reality
III) ________________ judgment is still coming
A) It seems like _______________ is right around the
B) But “_________ __________” is a prophetic formula
IV) Zerubbabel points to the ____________ we have in Christ
A) He is a ____________ of hope
B) He is a representative of the coming ________________
C) ___________ is the fulfillment of that hope
D) What is the _________ we have in Christ?
Amos engages in what the military call “fire for effect.” He is zeroing in on his real target, the people of Israel. He circles around them until he hits the bullseye!
Can you imagine how the people must have felt? They were probably cheering him on, getting more and more excited, maybe even rejoicing when Judah was mentioned, and then BOOM! Amos centers in and delivers God’s warning.
Sometimes it’s very easy to see the shortcomings of others, and even rejoice when they receive the just reward for their sins. But we would do well to remember the words of Jesus: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).
Joel reminds us that there is a coming judgment, followed by restoration and refreshing. Yes, God will bring judgment on the earth, but he will ultimately set up his eternal kingdom and abide with his people forever!
There are also some wonderful verses in this short book:
Joel 2:13 (ESV): “and rend your hearts and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.”
Joel 2:25 (ESV): “I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.”
Joel 3:16 (ESV): “The Lord roars from Zion, and utters his voice from Jerusalem, and the heavens and the earth quake. But the Lord is a refuge to his people, a stronghold to the people of Israel.”
Hosea 14:9 is a great conclusion for the book, and a wonderful everyday reminder for how to live: “Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.”
And if we have transgressed, what do we do? “Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. Take with you words and return to the Lord” (Hosea 14:1-2).