Prepare To Meet You God

Amos was a unique prophet. He was neither from a priestly, nor, royal family, nor, was he the son of a prophet. Amos was a breeder of sheep and tender of sycamore figs, when the Lord called him to be His messenger.

At the time the nation of Israel was a divided kingdom. King Jeroboam II ruled in the north, while King Uzziah ruled in the south. Political unrest and rivalry, between the two kingdoms and within each kingdom had denied of unity, peace and security. Flare-ups and confrontations with their neighbours, Syria and Tyre in the north, Gaza in the west, Moab and Ammon in the east and Edom in the south only added to the difficulty of living peacefully.

The prophet, Amos, spoke the word of the Lord to the leaders, kings, and rulers of the divided nation and to the neighbouring nations.

However, the Lord specifically reproved Israel for their waywardness. " Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying: 'You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities'" (3:1,2).

Unlike any other nation, Israel, as the people of God, could observe the signs, warning them of the dangers ahead, and so, change their ways to avoid the consequences. Awkward though it might have been, the time had come for them to stop and consider what had happened. It was time to consider the signs, which indicated they had strayed, and for them to choose the correct path.

Consider this, O Israel, "Can two walk together unless they are agreed?" (Amos 3:2) The Lord and His people were not walking together because they were walking in the ways of the Gentiles. Just like the other nations, Israel preferred to rely on their own intellect and their leaders' abilities. Consequently, they could not walk with God. The path they were walking was contrary to His ways.

Consider this, O Israel, "Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?" (Amos 3:4) Listen to the roaring of your neighbours. Their roaring is unrestrained. They make such a noise against you. Israel had fallen prey to the scorn of the nations by following after them – engaging their rules, employing their regulations. Like the hunter over its prey, the nations held Israel in contempt. Israel was being judged by goyim (Gentile) standards.

Consider this, O Israel, "Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth, if nothing is caught at all?" (Amos 3:5) Israel was trapped. And it looked as if the nations had actually made a snare to catch them. Israel had been flying high, like a bird in the sky, independent from the nations. But now, the bird had been caught and the Gentiles would be made to pay for its independence. There was no way escape, Israel would be forced to make concessions. Their hostile neighbours were closing in, taunting them. Israel would be criticized and bullied into submission, and Israel was powerless to stop them.

Consider this, O Israel, "If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?" (Amos 3:6) The people were afraid because they did not have security. Their leaders could not provide it for them despite their good intentions. The people were afraid because of terror and the threat of violence. These were the warning signs. One should stop and consider them.

Consider this, O Israel, "If there is calamity in a city, will not the LORD have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless he reveals his secret to his servants the prophets." (Amos 3:7) Israel was ill prepared for what had taken place. They were caught napping, and now were helpless. Yet, Israel could be assured that all that had happened to them, the prophets had foretold.

Consider this, O Israel, "A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?" (v:8). The word of God is sure, and just as a lion's roar is feared, so too when God speaks then must His servants, the prophets, speak also. The word of God is to be feared, even as the roaring of a lion.

During the days of Amos, Israel had fallen prey to the taunts of their enemies, and failed to discern the sign of the times.

"'Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities. And lack of bread in all your places; yet you have not returned to me,' says the LORD.

'I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered. So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to me,' says the LORD.

'I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; your young men I killed with a sword, along with your captive horses; I made a stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; yet you have not returned to me,' says the LORD.

'I overthrew some of you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were plucked like a firebrand from the burning; yet you have not returned to me,' says the LORD.

'Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!'" (Amos 4:10-12).

The LORD GOD, the God of Israel, pleaded with His people to return. Sadly, the warning signs were not heeded, and so the people of God would suffer the consequences of their actions.

It is important to note that the consequences did not include rejection or replacement. God would not abandon His people. On the contrary, Israel were warned, " . . . prepare to meet your God, O Israel!" Israel has an appointment with their God.

God would not reject them or replace them, but He would reprove them, justly and righteously. And in so doing, God would prepare them to meet Him.

The prophet Amos outlined the steps involved in the preparation of His people. "'Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will utterly destroy it from the face of the earth, yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,' says the LORD. 'For surely I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, "The calamity shall not overtake us nor confront us"'" (Amos 9:8-10).

The first stage of Israel's preparation would see them scattered among the nations, throughout the earth. This process would see the nations sift Israel as grain. Though this would be painful, " . . . yet not the smallest grain shall fall . . . " .

The second stage would involve the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David. "'On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,' says the LORD" (Amos 9:11-12).

The tabernacle of David is linked with the Messiah and His Kingdom, as indicated by the terms of reference. "In mercy the throne will be established; and one will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness" (Isaiah 16:5).

This would, in fact, fulfill the covenant made with David, which promised " . . . your house and your kingdom shall be established for ever before you. Your throne shall be established for ever" (2 Samuel 7:16).

Because of Israel's disobedience and subsequent scattering among the nations, the tabernacle of David fell into ruin. Therefore, in order to fulfill this promise it would, at some stage, require rebuilding. Thus, in this second stage of Israel's preparation, God would begin raising up the tabernacle of David.

Then the angel, Gabriel, visited a devout young Jewish woman, Miriam, of the house of David. "Then the angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary (Miriam) , for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus (Yeshua) . He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David" (Luke 1:30-32). Thus, the Messiah came, and exactly as foretold, He was given the throne of His father David.

While celebrating the feast of Shavuot (Pentecost), the Spirit of the Lord came upon the followers of Messiah Yeshua and they began to preach and teach salvation in His name, in Jerusalem. Thousands of Jewish people believed, as recorded in the Brit Hadesha (New Covenant).

The message that the Hope of Israel had come began to spread beyond the borders of Israel and round the Mediterranean, wherever Jewish communities were established. Sadly, the message was not universally accepted by the Diaspora.

Amazingly, however, a great many Gentiles were converted. "Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).

Reports of increasing numbers of Gentile followers came to the elders in Jerusalem. Never before, in the history of Israel's custodianship of the Kingdom, had such numbers of Gentiles been converted and believed, therefore, they met to consider their response. How then, would these orthodox Jewish believers understand these events?

"And after they had become silent, James (Jacob) answered, saying, 'Men and brethren, listen to me: Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

"After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up, so that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, even all the Gentiles who are called by my name, says the LORD who does all these things."'" (Acts 15:13-17)

These Jewish believers in Messiah realized that God had begun the second stage of Israel's preparation: the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David. It was not surprising that thousands of Jewish people believed in Messiah Yeshua. What was so tremendously good news was the number of Gentiles who also believed! The numbers swelled to tens of thousands as many Gentile believers were being grafted into the olive tree, as branches alongside the faithful of Israel.

The tabernacle of David continues to grow today, as both Jewish and Gentile believers testify that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Anointed One. He is the promised Son, who will sit on the throne of David. " For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government there will be no end, upon the throne of David and over his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this." (Isaiah 9:6, 7)

Yeshua is the glory of Israel and the One who has brought light to the Gentiles. Simon, son of Jonah, a follower of Messiah Yeshua, gave witness to Him at the council of the elders of Israel, which also included the high priest. Simon who was a devout orthodox Jew from the Galilee, a fisherman by profession and a fisher of men by God's appointment declared, "Him God has exalted to his right hand to be Prince and Saviour, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) whom God has given to those who obey him." (Acts 5:31, 32)

A third stage of Israel's preparation to meet their God was also prophesied by Amos, and this is currently under way.

Amos predicted Israel's return to the land, and that the land itself would flourish under their control. "'I will bring back the captives of my people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,' says the LORD your God" (Amos 9:14, 15).

This is significant because the return of Israel to the land is happening in our time. Moreover, we can see how the land has blossomed, exactly according to God's Word. Israel is on track to meet with the LORD their God. Shema, O Israel! This is the Eternal who acts faithfully and regards His covenants to a thousand generations. He is the One who says, "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!"

Thus, the third is also the last stage of Israel's preparation to meet their God, and it is the most significant of all because it will climax with Israel's redemption. As the prophet Isaiah declared, "Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation . . . " (45:17)

Just as Israel was desperate for deliverance, during the days of Amos, and was called to stop and consider, so too, Israel in the latter days will stop and consider the signs. However, their predicament will be different as the nation will be in great distress. It will be "the time of Jacob's trouble." (Jeremiah 30:7) And it will be the moment for which God has been working and waiting – the moment Amos prophesied – Israel will meet their God.

At that time, the gaze of all Israel will look upon the only One who could be their Redeemer, as the prophet Zechariah declared, " . . . then they will look unto me whom they have pierced . . . " (12:10) He is Messiah Yeshua, the Son of the Living God, the God of Israel.

"Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in him" (Psalm 2:11,12).