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      Amos - Chapter 09 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. I saw a vision of the LORD standing by the temple altar, and he said, "Shake the columns until the tops fall loose, and the doorposts crumble. Then make the pieces fall on the people below. I will take a sword and kill anyone who escapes.
    2. "If they dig deep into the earth or climb to the sky, I'll reach out and get them.
    3. If they escape to the peaks of Mount Carmel, I'll search and find them. And if they hide from me at the bottom of the ocean, I'll command a sea monster to bite them.
    4. I'll send a sword to kill them, wherever their enemies drag them off as captives. I'm determined to hurt them, not to help them."
    5. When the LORD God All-Powerful touches the earth, it melts, and its people mourn. God makes the earth rise and then fall, just like the Nile River.
    6. He built his palace in the heavens and let its foundations rest on the earth. He scoops up the ocean and empties it on the earth. His name is the LORD.
    7. Israel, I am the LORD God, and the Ethiopians are no less important to me than you are. I brought you out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and the Arameans from Kir.
    8. My eyes have seen what a sinful nation you are, and I'll wipe you out. But I will leave a few of Jacob's descendants. I, the LORD, have spoken!
    9. At my command, all of you will be sifted like grain. Israelites who remain faithful will be scattered among the nations. And the others will be trapped like trash in a sifter.
    10. Some of you are evil, and you deny that you will ever get caught. But you will be killed.
    11. In the future, I will rebuild David's fallen kingdom. I will build it from its ruins and set it up again, just as it used to be.
    12. Then you will capture Edom and the other nations that are mine. I, the LORD, have spoken, and my words will come true.
    13. You will have such a harvest that you won't be able to bring in all of your wheat before plowing time. You will have grapes left over from season to season; your fruitful vineyards will cover the mountains.
    14. I'll make Israel prosper again. You will rebuild your towns and live in them. You will drink wine from your own vineyards and eat the fruit you grow.
    15. I'll plant your roots deep in the land I have given you, and you won't ever be uprooted again. I, the LORD God, have spoken!
Reflections

Amos - Chapter 09

Entered: September 15, 2009
This last chapter reveals Amos' fifth and final vision. As with the others, it is a vision of judgment and destruction. But as is the case with the messages of judgment throughout scripture, it is accompanied with a message of hope. God's judgment is never an end in itself, but is a means toward His desired end which is redemption for all. He wants all people to be in everlasting relationship with Him. Though not all will choose this end, He wants it for as many as will choose it and does not remove it regardless of the number who turn away from Him.

In this last vision, Amos sees a large gathering of Israelites at the sanctuary at Bethel for the autumn festival. The Lord gives the command for the tops of the pillars to be smashed so that the entire sanctuary collapses on those gathered for the festival. Then the Lord says, "Then I will kill the rest of them with the sword." I would assume this to refer to all those not gathered in the sanctuary. Judgment was coming to all Israel. To emphasize that no escape is available to any of them, a range of extreme possibilities is eliminated. If they dig to Sheol or climb up to heaven, God's hand of judgment will still find them.

Should there be any doubt that these things are possible, we are reminded who it is that has determined to do them. It is "The Lord, the God of Hosts. . . He builds His upper chambers in the heavens and lays the foundation of His vault on the earth. He summons the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth. Yahweh is His name." Nor should Israel think her privileged position with God will cause her to avoid these calamities, for at this point God considered her no differently than other nations. As He had guided Israel from Egypt to this land of promise, He had also guided Israel's enemies in their migrations to territories they inhabited. But as He had reversed their destinies He would also send Israel into exile.

With a last statement of judgment also comes a statement of hope. "Look, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth. However, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob--the LORD's declaration." (verse 8) As one uses a sieve to separate chaff from the wheat, God will separate the righteous from the sinners. The last verses (verses 11-15) then describe a new day for Israel when she is fully restored to her earlier grandeur. This, too, is sure. As sure as was the coming judgment, for "Yahweh your God has spoken." The fulfillment of this prophecy is yet to happen. Will it be an earthly fulfillment or happen after Christ's return?

Entered: August 19, 2015

The God of Israel who had been the nation's protector was about to become the nation's avenger. In this final vision the Lord gave Amos, the Lord was beginning His judgment in the sanctuary in Bethel as the people were gathered to make their sacrifices. But their worship was a sham and the Lord was striking them at the heart of the issue, the fact that they had turned away from Him even though they hypocritically kept up appearances by practicing the worship rituals.

In the vision the Lord caused the building to collapse on the people gathered there killing most of them. Those that did not die from the building collapse He would kill with the sword. To emphasize that there was no escape for the people, the Lord highlighted that as Creator of the universe there was no where they could go to escape Him, whether they dug a hole in the ground, climbed up to heaven, went to the top of a mountain or went to the bottom the sea. Judgment was certain.

The Lord planned to "totally destroy the house of Jacob," that is, the nation of Israel. But there was a remnant He would spare. Those who had been faithful to Him. He was about to shake Israel as one shakes a sieve, and separate the sinners from the righteous. Not a pebble, that is, the sinners, would fall to the ground. Those who had perpetrated the sins of Israel would not escape the Lord's judgment. Had we wondered what would happen to those being oppressed by the rich in Israel we get our answer here. God was angry about the injustice in Israel and planned to punish the nation, but what would happen to those who were innocent to whom the injustice was being applied? They would be sifted out and spared from the destruction. However, this does not mean they would not be affected by it. Though their lives may be spared, life as they knew it would no longer exist. The nation would fall and cities would be destroyed. The people would be marched away into exile. This part the innocent would not likely escape.

Once Israel has received the full punishment for her sins, the Lord would take back up the fulfillment of His purpose for the nation, which was to bless all people through them. Israel would be restored and once again become prosperous. It will not be necessary for people to unjustly oppress others in order to prosper. God will prosper them - everyone. Furthermore, David's lineage would again rule over Israel, and the nation would again be united.