Friday, 12 October 2012

Amos 4: A mini-Bible study

For busy lives, here's something you can do in five minutes. If you do, may it bless your whole day. At the end of Amos 4, the prophet says of God:

For lo, the one who forms the mountains, creates the wind,
   reveals his thoughts to mortals,
makes the morning darkness,
   and treads on the heights of the earth—
   the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name! 

There are three remarkable things to note:
  1.  Amos, like all the eighth-century prophets, has woken up to a much bigger vision of God than the one in circulation. He paints a picture of a majestic, all-powerful, terrifying yet immensely appealing God. This God is no wimp. Our God is an awesome God! Imagine him treading on the heights of the earth, dancing across the Alps, standing over the Himalayas!
  2. Remarkably, this God communicates with us, revealing his thoughts to mortals! This is not what we expect to hear in the middle of this spectacular picture. It doesn't cut God down to size. Rather, it causes us who know and love this God to lift up our heads, and almost to bask in his glory. He has chosen to share the mystery of his plan with us, as Paul makes clear in Ephesians.
  3. We all know that names matter. God's name is no idle giving of a title. This God is the Lord of hosts, the Lord of heavenly armies. This is no pacific God, but a jealous, a zealous God who is so troubled by his people's unfaithfulness and neglect that he goes to war. The unpopular flipside of God's love, his wrath, which is the major theme of this prophet's speaking, must never be neglected if we are to relate to God as he really is.

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