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Amos 4:6-13; 5:18-20; 9:2-4 – The Sovereign Unavoidable Nature of Judgment

In chapter 4 the LORD strikes Israel with several judgments. The first is cleanness of teeth. We would think that is a good thing but notice how the parallel lines work.

I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities
and lack of bread in all your places

In other words, their teeth are clean because there is no bread, no food – famine. This is followed by withheld rain, blight and mildew on crops, plagues like were in Egypt and overthrowing some cities like Sodom and Gomorrah had been (burnt with fire). In each case the judgment is the act of God and in each case it is said that Israel did not return to the LORD i.e. repent. Notice also that the judgments were at times selective – one city had water and another had none, some cities were overthrown but not others. From this we learn that God is sovereign in his acts and that he will sometimes mercifully act in partial judgment that the objects of his mercy might repent in response to his acts toward the objects of his wrath.

Israel’s stubbornness results in a final warning – prepare to meet your God, O Israel! And who is this God? He is the one who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

Lest any think they can escape the judgment of God it is as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. In another place God says: If they dig into Sheol, from there shall my hand take them; if they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down. Whether one is in the depths of the sea or on the heights of mountains God will search out sinners and judge.

We need to read passages like this. If we do not, then we will lose something of our sense of God’s majesty and power. If we do not read passages like this, we will not know how to think Biblically in the face of natural disasters. If we do not read passages like this, we will lose sight of the great salvation from the wrath of God that is ours through the cross.