Amos was the man God called to bring a message of judgment to a sinful nation. The Israelites had turned away from God, disregarding their special relationship with Him and their special responsibility to Him. And through Amos, God announced His judgment on them. God snatched the man from the farm and made him a prophet. One day Amos was shearing sheep and pruning fig trees and the next day he was preaching! That’s why you ought to stay clean and close to the Lord, study the Word of God as much as you can, and be prayed-up and ready for action. Just as God took Amos from the farm, He may take you from the office or the sales force or the classroom and call you into some special service. Be ready for God to use you at all times!
This final chapter of Amos’s prophecy is directed toward Israel, and it is a statement of both destruction and restoration. We see the Lord as both Judge and Savior; He is a destroyer and a repairer; He says, “I will kill” (v.1) and “I will raise up” (v.11).
The chapter begins with a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar in the Temple. The altar was the place of communion with God, but this time the only communion God was going to have with His people was to communicate their doom. God said that He would strike the pillars and bring the Temple down on the heads of the worshipers (v.1). They had only been pretending to worship in the Temple, and so God interrupted their empty worship to use the Temple as His instrument of judgment. When the Temple was built God filled it up with His holy presence, but now we see God pulling down the Temple with His holy wrath. (Note: I don’t know about you, but I want my church to be a place God fills, not a place He strikes.)
God promised to be persistent in His judgment of His people (v.2-4). They would not be able to outrun His judgment; they would not be able to hide from the wages of their sin. God said, “I will fix My eyes upon them for evil and not for good” (v.4). That statement must have cut like a knife, because they knew the promise of 2 Chronicles 16:9, “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward Him.” But now God was keeping an eye on them to destroy them. Amos reminded the people of the greatness of the God who stood by the altar (v.5-10): He is the creator, He controls the elements, He can melt the earth with a touch — no one can resist His power. (Note: one reason we should read the Old Testament prophets like Amos is that they remind us of how God feels about our sin. He hates it. He despises its affect on us. It took the bloody death of His Son to reverse its curse. Never forget that.)
In the concluding verses of this book, Amos’s prophecy takes a positive turn. Remember, the God of judgment is also the God of mercy. God promised to “raise up…repair…rebuild” the “booth of David”, a reference to the dynasty of King David (v.11). That promise would not be fulfilled by an earthly, political ruler, but by the Messiah (Jesus). The Lord mentioned “all the nations who are called by My name” (v.12), a statement that was fulfilled when Gentiles began to be saved in the early church (see Acts 15:16-17).
The promises of abundant harvests, restored fortunes, and rebuilt cities were temporarily fulfilled in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah when the Israelites returned from captivity to their homeland (v.13-15). But the ultimate fulfillment of these verses will not take place until the Second Coming of Jesus. The prophecy of Amos must be interpreted in light of the New Testament, which teaches the literal, visible return of Jesus, the Son of David. He will conquer His enemies at the Battle of Armageddon, enter Jerusalem in victory, and sit down on the throne of David. As Satan is locked away for a thousand years, Jesus will rule and reign with His saints. The dynasty of David will be restored and the land will become fruitful again! What a day that will be!
What was true for the nation of Israel is true for every person in the world: repent and turn to God or be judged. God has a plan for the future, and what you do with Jesus will determine where you spend it.