23 July 2016

Stone 28 - Joel and Amos

In this post we will take a look at two short books - Joel and Amos. Let's see what these prophets have to say.

Here we start out with Joel receiving the word of the Lord. It is about a plague of locusts and the destruction that it caused. In the verses that follow, the utter destruction is described as well as the response. Indeed, we read about the priests who mourn (Joel 1:9), the land that grieves (Joel 1:10), and the human joy that has dried up (Joel 1:12).

Oh, but wait! Joel basically announces that if we thought this was bad - just experience the devastation to come (Joel 1:15). It is known as the Day of the Lord. Again, the next few verses describe the power and destruction. Joel asks, "...the Day of the Lord is terrible and dreadful- who can endure it?" (Joel 2:11)

Like other prophets, Joel calls for repentance. He says that the Lord asks them all to turn to Him (Joel 2:12).

**I really like the way verse 13 is worded. "Rend your hearts and not your garments. Many times we have read about how someone would tear their clothes and grieve but God wants more than that. he wants us to tear our hearts open - true repentance. Genuine worship. - not just a display.

God responds by restoring the land and the people. Note that this is a response to true repentance and is reflective of the wonderful grace and mercy that our God has to offer. God then promises to pour out His spirit on all people (Joel 2:28), to judge all the nations (Joel 3:2), and to restore Israel (Joel 3:17-21).

**Ultimately we continue to see this common thread appear... repent and turn to God.

We begin with proclamations of judgment against several nations...
Damascus (Amos 1:3)
Gaza (Amos 1:6)
Tyre (Amos 1:9)
Edom (Amos 1:11)
The Ammonites (Amos 1:13)
Moab (Amos 2:1)
Judah (Amos 2:4)
Israel (Amos 2:6)

Amos 3:2 recalls the covenant with Abraham which became the nation of Israel. However, the covenant was not kept by Israel and so consequences are in order. As a result, they would be given over to the enemy (Amos 3:11) and enslaved (Amos 4:1-3).

**Stubborn is the word that comes to mind. Israel was stubborn and would not listen despite several attempts to discipline and despite the warnings from prophets. Amos 4:6-11 states several times - "...yet you did not return to me."
You have been warned.
I think of today. Parents all over the world who love their children and try their best to warn them of the dangers of engaging in certain activities but they go ahead and do it anyway and ultimately pay the consequences. Not much has changed.

Amos 5:4 - Seek me and live!
To this day... seek me and live! The message is still valid.

Amos 5:14 - Seek good and not evil so that you may live!
The message is still valid.
In Luke 18:19 Jesus says that no one is good except God alone. Seek good. Seek God.

Amos then has several visions.
1. Locusts (Amos 7:1-3)
2. Fire (Amos 7:4-6)
3. Plumb Line (Amos 7:7-9)
4. Basket of Fruit (Amos 8:1-14)
5. Lord at the Altar (Amos 9:1-6)

Each vision was a form of judgment against Israel. Between the third and fourth vision there is mention of Amaziah, a priest, who was not happy with the proclamations that Amos was making (Amos 7:10-17).

Finally, Amos reveals a glimmer of hope. Restoration will come.

Please enjoy the videos about Joel and Amos from the folks over at Join the Bible Project.

Until next time.

No comments: