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Tuesday, January 9, 2018

“God’s Ever Flowing Stream”

Amos 1:11-2:3

Amos here continues his denunciation of the nations surrounding Judah and Israel. In vv. 11-12 he gives a prophetic picture of Edom’s betrayal of Judah and Jerusalem.  The Edomites were relatives of the Israelites (Gen. 25:29-30).  However, when Judah faced its greatest crisis, the invasion of the Babylonians and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, the Edomites joined forces with the Babylonians to take whatever they wanted from Jerusalem.  They were not only greedy but they actually delighted in Jerusalem’s destruction apparently feeling that a rival had been defeated (Ps. 137:7; Obadiah 1:10-14).  Amos is saying that God will not ignore Edom’s treachery and violence.  As Jerusalem was burnt so will their cities be burnt.

Amos continues with denunciations of both the Ammonites and the Moabites.  In these cases, Israel and Judah are not involved.  In fact, a major travesty on the part of the Moabites was the desecration of the remains of one of the Edomite kings. The Lord makes clear that he will impose judgment on these kingdoms and indeed on all nations. God may work through other figures without taking away their freedom but he is still carrying out a plan that is not only eternal but still responds to events in time and history (Gen. 50:20; Isa. 45:1-4; Eph. 1:11).

Two points are critical here. God allows individuals and nations to make their own choices.  People often ask how could God allow such horrific events like ripping open pregnant women (1:13) to occur?  Yet this begs the larger question of why does God allow us the freedom to make our own choices in the first place?  To be free to choose includes the ability to choose good or evil. God did not create automatons.

Yet God is the Lord.  He will carry out his justice.  As we noted yesterday he holds individuals and nations accountable.  It may appear at times that “truth has stumbled in the public square” (Isa. 59:14).  However, that is not the case.  God insures that truth and justice, mercy and grace, will have the final word.  This is our confidence in an uncertain world.

Faithful and loving God I thank you that you are the one who determines the outcome of life and history.  May i always remember that I am accountable to you in everything I do and may I never be discouraged by the tragic realities I see all around me.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.