Come back to me and live!
The last four chapters of Amos looked like a dead end. That’s it, God is angry and there’s nothing we can do about it. But the next two chapters give us huge amounts of hope. They also aid us in the understanding of the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our call by God.
We can see throughout the chapters previous that God is in ultimate control:
2And he said:
“The LORD roars from Zion
and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds mourn,
and the top of Carmel withers.” (1:2)
He has power over the nations, over the environment, over society, over everything. Now it was time for the Israelites to be judged for how far they had gone away from God. God had given them everything; freedom, power, mercy and promise. Yet they had gone back to their old ways, they had:
25 “Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during
the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel?
26 You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your
star-god—your images that you made for yourselves,
The Israelites had become idolaters, unjust, oppressive of the poor and good people, and hypocrites. Everything religious had become a chore, and God hated it:
21 “I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
All hope was lost. However, God makes it clear in chapter 5 that there is hope. He gives them a call to repentance and says “Come back to me and live!” (v4b). Then in verses 14 and 15:
14 Do what is good and run from evil
so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper,
just as you have claimed.
15 Hate evil and love what is good;
turn your courts into true halls of justice.
Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies
will have mercy on the remnant of his people.
God was calling them to come back to how He desired them to be. There was still hope.
There are two ways that we can take this passage. We can see it as a call to our nation to go back to our roots, to go back to the way that brought peace, goodness, justice and truth. But even more importantly looking at our own personal lives, we can admit as Christians we need to heed this call by Amos to go back to God’s way.