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Amos 3:1-8 – The Sovereign God acts predictably

God reminds Israel that he was the one who had brought them up out of Egypt and made them his people. Of all the peoples on the earth God had only known Israel. ‘Known’ here is not referring to knowing information about Israel – in that sense God knew all the peoples of the earth. ‘Known’ here refers an intimate relational knowing that is the result of having chosen a person/people for an exclusive type of relationship. Another way of saying God had only known Israel would be to say God had only chosen Israel to be in an intimate relationship with. Israel assumed that on the basis of this relationship they would experience only blessing – God however, on the basis of this special relationship, was about to act not in blessing but in judging for sin. Israel had agreed to walk with God and entered into a covenant with God (verse 3). Their neglect of that covenant was the reason they would be judged.

The next couple of verses talk about causes and effects e.g. Does a snare spring up from the ground, when it has taken nothing? After several examples God says: “Is a trumpet blown in a city, and the people are not afraid?” – yes of course that is true. Then God says: “Does disaster come to a city, unless the LORD has done it?”. The implication is that all things occur under the sovereign decree of God. So, when Israel’s cities experience disaster they may be sure that God has done it!

The good news is that the Lord GOD does nothing without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets. Israel should then hear the words of God spoken by Amos and repent before that day.

Like Israel, Christian are in an intimate personal chosen relationship with God based on his saving us at the Cross. Like Israel, we must never assume blessings from God are an expression of God’s approval of our behavior – it may be they are the kindnesses of God wooing us back to himself. While our judgment for sin has been taken away at the cross, we may at times be disciplined for our sin. At all times we must acknowledge God as sovereign, listen to his word and align our wills with his own. As Amos said – the lion has roared who will not fear?