Today you should read: Amos 9
My first thought when reading this chapter was, “YIKES!” In verses 1-10, Amos paints a picture of God’s judgment of a rebellious, lost people of Israel. The picture is not very pretty. There would be no place to run or hide from God’s wrath. Yikes! God is serious about Israel’s rebelliousness.
The first part of verse 8 is a good summary of verses 1-10. It says, “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.” God is about to show the Israelites just how serious He is about their sin. He is going to allow Israel to be taken captive and into exile by Assyria. Israel’s power as a nation would be destroyed because they were now under the control of another nation. God isn’t messing around.
My second thought when reading this chapter was, “OK, that’s good news.” The second part of verse 8 gives hope. It says, “Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob, declares the Lord.” Even though the Israelites were going to be taken captive as a nation, God did not forget His covenant with Israel.
Wait a minute. Doesn’t this seem contradictory? It said in verse 8a that God would destroy the Israelites from the face of the earth, and in verse 8b that He would not totally destroy the Israelites. Well, the imagery in verse 9 sheds light on verse 8. Verse 9 says that God is going to shake Israel as grain is shaken in a sieve, but not a kernel will fall to the ground. When grain is shaken in a sieve, it shakes and separates the grain kernel away from the seed covering and other debris (chaff). Once the shaking is done, all that is left is a pure kernel. So, was God being contradictory? No. He was saying that He would allow Israel to be taken captive and destroyed (“shaken in a sieve”) as a nation for the ultimate purpose of removing the chaff from the people of Israel, so that they could be restored into a proper relationship with God.
Verses 11-15 paint a picture of what would be true once the Israelites were judged, shaken in a sieve, and restored. The picture is one of hope, restoration, and prosperity, and release from captivity for a repentant and purified Israel.
This passage is a bit confusing, but I gain some great insight from Amos’ picture of judgment and promise of restoration:
- God loves me too much to let me comfortably live in sin. In fact, He will allow me to experience the earthly consequences of my sin and break me in order to restore proper fellowship with Him.
- God desires me to be holy, not because He is a legalistic God who wants to take away my fun, but because pursuing holiness results in experiencing His greatest blessings. My sin results in the opposite of God’s blessing.
Application questions for today:
1) What is the chaff that needs to be shaken from me right now? Am I being shaken in a sieve right now?
2) What captivity would I be released from if this chaff was removed from me today?
3) Is my sin keeping me from experiencing the blessings and presence of God right now?
4) Do I recognize that I can experience freedom from my sin because of what Christ has done for me?
Posted by: Rich Duffield