Read Amos 9
As vast and unfathomable as the universe around us is, it seems to be getting smaller. I say, “seems to be” because I have no idea whether the furthest reaches of the universe are still expanding, shrinking or static. There is no way of knowing that. All we know, is that which we have explored, and since the advancement of space flight and wireless communication we have been able to see deeper into space than ever before, and yet the deeper we look with our highly advanced telescopes, the bigger the universe seems to become. The bigger the universe around us appears, the smaller our little planet, orbiting around our little sun, in our little galaxy seems to be in comparison.
In our reading today the book of Amos comes to a close with a final warning, followed by a promise. The warning is that there will be no escape for those in Israel who have continued to rebel and ignore the Lord. It is a frightening warning suggesting that there will be no place to hide.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, from there I will search them out and take them; and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them. (v. 3)
In other words, “you can run, but you can’t hide! I will find you, and I will kill you!” I cannot image being at the receiving end of such a message, particularly if it came from God! Yet as is always the case, God does not leave them without hope. In verse eleven the tone changes to one of hope and restoration.
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 wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. (v. 14)
God is very consistent in His dealing with His people. He is not bipolar, as it might seem from some of these prophesies where He is angry one minute and relenting of it the next. The point is, He loves people, but He is also holy and just. His love and justice demands that sin and rebellion be punished. The whole of the Old Testament lays the foundation for the completion of His wonderful plan of salvation to be revealed fully in the New Testament in the person of Jesus Christ.
The truth is that just as it is impossible to hide from God’s justice, it is also impossible to hide from his love and mercy. The love of God is relentless in pursuing the souls of men and women, and love always wins. It may not look like it to us at all times, but it is often through horrible atrocities caused by sinful people doing what sinful people often choose to do that the love and mercy of God is most clearly seen. The enemy of our souls objective is to kill, to steal and to destroy, but at the end of the day love always wins. He always has, He always will.