We’ve been studying the minor prophets this summer at church. They’re not minor because they’re not important, we’re assured, but because they’re short books.
God’s wrath sounds so strong in these Old Testament passages. I admit, it often still scares me. But our pastor Matt reminds us that God’s patience went for many, many years with Israel in those times, as they continually rebelled against him.
This week we studied Amos. The question was: Is God a God of wrath or a God of love? The answer, as I have known for years, is yes.
Does God care about the injustice that goes on in the world?
Amos 1: 2: He said: “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem;”
God tells how he will repay the wrong the nations have done, including Israel. Yet his desire was always that the people would come back to him.
Amos 5:4,14-15, 24: This is what the Lord says to Israel: “Seek me and live; Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph. But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!”
When Amos prayed that God would not bring tragedy on Israel, God promised to hold back their punishment.
God has always hated pride. He roars when people are treated with injustice and unfairness. But his great longing is for people to turn back to him for healing and forgiveness.
Amos 9:11-15: “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter—I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins—and will rebuild it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the Lord, who will do these things. “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,” says the Lord your God.