Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Amos 4:11-13

11"I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze;
Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.
12"Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
Because I will do this to you,
Prepare to meet your God, O Israel."
13For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind
And declares to man what are His thoughts,
He who makes dawn into darkness
And treads on the high places of the earth,
The LORD God of hosts is His name.

God's "song" of Chapter 4 concludes with a reference to Sodom and Gomorrah. These two cities represented everything that God hated. Not surprisingly, He rained "brimstone and fire" out of Heaven (Genesis 19:24), which is a Day of the Lord kind of punishment. Israel's being "overthrown" is not as severe a sentence as Judgment Day punishment, but God is clearly full of wrath over the nation and its behavior.

He continues, calling Israel a "firebrand." Literally, a firebrand is a piece of burning wood or other material. It can also refer to one who kindles strife or encourages unrest. A troublemaker. []. Israel was going down in flames! Yet God stepped in--many times--to save them.

"Yet you have not returned to me...." (vs. 11)

So, God says, "Prepare to meet your God." (vs. 12) Ooh! Not good.

"'Do you not fear Me?' declares the LORD. 'Do you not tremble in My presence?..."
--Jeremiah 5:22a

No, they didn't, and that was the problem. God had to pull out all the stops to get Israel's attention. For the nation, it would be a return to captivity, but going to Assyria would make it one of their hardest journeys away from home. It wasn't just Israel meeting Assyria in a battle, it was Israel coming face to face with God!

Concluding the chapter, God reminds Israel just who He is, choosing to use references of God as Creator, which were recognizable to more people. He forms mountains and creates the wind. He declares to man his thoughts. This is not a king, like Jeroboam. Not an idol to be worshiped. This is THE Creator! The only One who can place into the mind of man his thoughts. The only One who loved Israel enough to rescue the firebrand of a nation from its smoldering fire of iniquity. But, this time, it would take some more extreme measures.

"God of hosts"--What does this name of God mean? It certainly ties in with God's description of Himself and His role in creation.

"A name or title of God frequently used in the OT, always translated 'Jehovah of Hosts'.... The meaning of the title is that all created agencies and forces are under the leadership or dominion of Jehovah, who made and maintains them. It is used to express Jehovah’s great power."
--International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Even though God's wrath is piqued, He continues to be in full control, especially in orchestrating the circumstances required for disciplining His children. He could have rained fire and brimstone, but, instead, He plucks the singed log from the fire and leaves it to cool in captivity [thankfully, with prophets to continue to speak His Word to them!].

"Seek Me that You May Live." A tone of grace begins to sneak through with Chapter 5.... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Amos 5:1-7

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).