(Part 20 of 21)
AMOS 9:1-10… In this chapter we see Amos’ last picture of God–God restoring, but after the judgment. Amos sees the Lord in chapter 9, not the message. God’s message to the ten-tribe nation was over. Amos sees the Lord in His judgment stance and issuing orders to judge. His mercy, long-suffering, and grace had reached its end.
V. 1… “I saw the LORD standing upon the altar: and he said” (KJV). This was heaven’s altar. Was this heavenly altar a reminder of the finished work of redemption? There is no shedding of blood in heaven, because the sin problem was dealt with on earth by Christ. Heaven has only one altar, the altar of incense or the worship altar. Question… Is this a picture of God giving out judgment from the seat of worship? In Psalm 68:1, we see that praise and worship bring out the actions of God that cause His enemies to scatter. The first thing that God judged was not politics, but religion. God is interested in what is happening in churches far more than what is happening in Congress. Judgment came because of religious wrongdoing. Israel was double-dealing, lacking in righteousness. They replaced the living God with golden calves. If we have a false altar, that is where God is going to show up. “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” (1 Peter 4:17-18)
V. 1… Standing indicates that action is imminent. When God stands, nations fall. Jesus stood when Stephen was martyred and it may be the spark that causes judgment to fall on the temple in Revelation 3:19-20. Jesus was standing outside of the Laodicean church with judgment in mind. “Repent and open the door to me, and I will come in and fellowship (or else you will face rebuke).” In Amos 9:1, anger is released. Psalm 7:11 says, “God is angry with the wicked every day” (KJV). We never think of this side of God. We dwell on His love, grace, and mercy all the time. This is great… but in Romans 11:22, we are exhorted to “behold therefore the goodness and severity of God.” Hebrews 10:30-31 teaches that vengeance belongs to God and that “it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” There comes a time when mercy is withheld. When grace is taken for granted by the continuation of sin, God’s anger knows no limit.
Vv. 1-5… These verses teach that when there is no repentance, God will find you out. You cannot run and hide from God (Psalm 139:7-12). God was angry when Korah rebelled against Moses (Numbers 16). God was angry when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant (2 Samuel 6:7). God was angry at the men who looked into the Ark (1 Samuel 6:19-20). After fifty thousand died, the people said, “Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God?” (KJV) What about today? There are people like Korah, who stand against God-appointed leadership. Our day is filled with people who touch God’s anointed. On June 4, 1983, a word of the Lord came to me that said, “Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers are mine… not “so-and-so’s.” Many in our day will yet cry out, “Who is able to stand before a holy God?” No one can worship God correctly if they cannot see that God is holy. God’s anger in the Old Testament wiped out whole armies using hailstones, plagues, blindness, confusion, and earthquakes. When God gets mad, it’s bad. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 says, “Fear God . . . for God shall bring every work into judgment” (KJV). When Christians learn to “fear” a holy God, they will want to live in holiness. In Amos 9:1-5, when God began to judge, there was no use in calling a “praise session” or calling for the elders of the church. It was too late. What God begins, He finishes. Note… in these verses, God talks of people who are looking for escape by digging and hiding underground, escaping by air to space stations, by climbing to the tops of the mountains, by scuba diving. Even if they go into captivity, God says, “I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good” (v. 4). Israel had shouted the prophets down, and now they had to face God. When the judgment is done, God will say, “I did it. I came against My people, not the devil.” Note vv. 5-6: It’s the Lord of Hosts that touches the land and floods the land. Note also v. 6… “It is he that buildeth his stories [margin, spheres, ascensions] in the heaven.” This is an interesting thought; I believe that there may be different levels of spheres and ascensions in heaven. John 14:2 teaches, “In My Father’s house are many mansions [rooms, dwelling places] . . . I go to prepare a place for you.”
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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