There’s no two ways around it–the tone of today’s text is mostly a somber one. In my Bible, the heading of Amos 9 reads, “The Destruction of Israel”. There is destruction–and it is thorough.
Just so we’re on the same page, this destruction isn’t merely from the hand of an adversary or an enemy. It is God who will “kill with the sword” (v.1, 4, 10). It is God who will “bring them down” (v. 2), “search them out” (v.3), and “command the serpent…[to] bite them” (v.3). Ultimately, it is God who looks upon his “sinful kingdom” and vows to “destroy it from the surface of the ground” (v. 8).
If you’re anything like me, you probably read that and think, “Wow, that seems harsh.” And you would be right. It is harsh–but sin and rebellion are also harsh offenses against a holy God. It was true for Israel, God’s covenant people, and it’s still true today. It’s a hard portion of Scripture to read and receive–but, sometimes, it’s these hard words of Scripture that we need to hear the most clearly. Sometimes it’s actually the hard words that make soft hearts.
Has your heart hardened against the Lord? Have you grown comfortable and complacent in your sin and rebellion against a holy God? I would encourage you to spend some time feeling the weight of today’s text and meditating on those questions. Let God’s words to the people of Israel serve as a warning to you, prompting you to repent where necessary.
Finally, let God’s Word also comfort you today–for God delights in the restoration of his people. He promises to “raise up…repair…[and] rebuild” those who turn to him in genuine repentance. As David writes, “[God’s] anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime” (Ps. 30:5).