Today I listened to the whole book of Amos while driving home. It seemed like every chapter started with the same words:
This is what the Sovereign Lord says.
The Lord God Almighty declares.
Hear this word, Israel…
Over and over Amos declares the word of the Lord. Words of judgment flow from his lips like water and it’s disturbing.
It’s disturbing because Judah was ostensibly doing things right. They were bringing their sacrifices, they were singing to the Lord, they were holding the religious festivals required of them.
But God hated their sacrifices and their festivals. He declared he wouldn’t listen to their songs.
Why? God judges his people because even though they were following the letter of the Law, they were neglecting justice and righteousness. They were taking advantage of the poor and cheating their neighbors.
In Amos 8 comes the declaration of a famine, but not a famine they’re used to.
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign LORD, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food, or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. People will stagger from sea to sea, and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.'” Amos 8:11-12
Throughout this book Amos is declaring the word of the Lord. Yes, it’s a word of judgment, it’s a word of discipline. But God only disciplines the one he loves. He wants them back!
If they don’t repent, God’s word will be gone. He will make it so they cannot hear it or find it.
It should come as no surprise to us then that when the Lord Jesus came to earth, one of the things he always said was this:
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Our only hope then is in the Lord, and in his word. Praise him that the final word in the book of Amos is a word of hope. God will keep those who are truly his. He is faithful. Let us pray for his grace to always have open ears.