Prepare To Meet Your God O Israel

Amos was a unique prophet. He was from neither a priestly nor a royal family, nor was he the son of a prophet. Amos was a shepherd when the Lord called him to be a prophet.

At the time of his message 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 the nation unity, peace and security.

Similarly, flare-ups and irregular confrontations with their neighbours only added to their frustration to live peacefully. Their neighbours at the time wereSyria and Tyre on the north, Gaza in the west, Moab and Ammon in the east and Edom in the south.

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

The Lord specifically addressed Israel for their waywardness: "Hear the 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).

As His people they had the benefit of knowing right from wrong, and of observing the danger warnings. They could look at what had happened, and what was happening; they must then realize when to stop and evaluate their position. Amos was God's messenger.

Consider this, O Israel: "Can two walk together unless they are agreed?" God was saying, "Look at you and me – are we walking together? No we are not, and the reason is because you are walking in the way of the Gentiles." Israel could not walk with God because they did not agree with Him and so despised His ways.

The Lord continues: "Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion roar out of his den, if he has caught nothing?" "Look around you, Israel, listen to the roaring of your neighbours. Why do they roar? Is it not because you have made yourself their prey?"

"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?" "Look at your situation; consider why you are trapped! Why is it that you have no way of escape? How is it that you feel as if your hostile neighbours are closing in? Look at them; how is it that they can make such noises and that you feel so helpless to stop them?"

"If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid?" "Consider why your people are afraid. Is it not because they have just reason; is it not because they do not have security; is it not because of terror and the threat of violence? The warning signs are there. Consider them, My people."

"If there is a 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." Consider what has happened to you. You have been caught by surprise; you are powerless to avert a disaster. Know for certainty that nothing has happened to you that the prophets have not foretold."

"A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The LORD God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?" The word of God is sure – just as a lion that roars is feared, so too when God speaks then must also His servants the prophets speak.

Israel during the days of Amos therefore had to observe and realize their dilemma. They had fallen as prey into the hands of their enemies and God warned them of the consequences of their actions.

The response of the God of Righteousness in an endeavour to warn Israel and to signal His faithfulness should be noted, not ignored.

"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 the rain from you, when there were still three months to the harvest. I made it raid 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 the sword, along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up in to 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 like a firebrand plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to me' says the LORD.

'Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel'" (4:6-8; 10-12)).

This is the God of Israel pleading with His people to return, but sadly, Israel either refused or ignored the warning signs. The consequences for doing so are not God's rejection or replacement of them; God would not abandon His people. On the contrary , they must prepare to meet Him. He would not let them go, but He would deal with them justly and righteously.

"'Behold, the eyes of the LORD 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 the nations, as grain in the sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. All sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, "The calamity shall not overtake us nor confront us"'" (9:8-10).

God would prepare Israel to meet Him.

In the first stage of preparation Israel would be scattered throughout the earth, and God would use the nations to sift them. The second stage of their preparation would involve the raising up 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."

The tabernacle of David is associated with the Messiah: "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 fulfil 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).

The "tabernacle of David" fell into ruin as a consequence of Israel's disobedience and subsequent scattering among the nations, therefore it would need rebuilding. Thus in this second stage of their preparation God would begin raising it up again.

And during this second stage, and exactly as foretold, the Messiah came and was given the throne of His father 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).

Following the receiving of the promise in Jerusalem, the followers of Mesiah Yeshua began to preach and teach salvation in His name. Thousands of Jewish people believed as recorded in the Book of the Acts.

The message of salvation began to spread beyond the borders of Israel and round the Mediterranean region wherever Jewish communities were found. Sadly the message was not universally accepted by the Diaspora, but 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).

When reports of the increasing numbers of Gentile followers came to the elders in Jerusalem they met to consider their response. Never before in the history of Israel's custodianship of the Kingdom had such numbers of Gentiles been converted and believed. How then would they 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).

The first Jewish believers in Messiah Yeshua, and elders of the Church, realized that God was fulfilling the second stage of Israel's preparation: the raising up of the tabernacle of David. And God continues to raise up the tabernacle of David today as both Jew and Gentile believe that Yeshua is the Son of God, the promised Messiah. Indeed, all who put their trust in Him will walk in the light, and though that person may die, Yeshua will raise him up at the last day.

Part of the conversation between Yeshua and Martha just prior to the raising of Lazarus from the dead, after he'd been buried four days, is worthy of note: "Jesus (Yeshua) said to her 'Your brother will rise again.' Martha said to him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.'

"Jesus said to her, 'I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me, even though he dies, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?'

"She said to him, 'Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world'" (John, Yochanan 11:23-27).

The final stage of Israel's preparation, however, would involve a return to the land, and 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 a gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their own land. And no longer shall they be pulled up from the land that I have given them' Says the LORD your God" (Amos 9:14,15).

We are living in significant days to witness the return of Israel to the land, and to see how the land has blossomed, exactly according to God's word. This is God dealing with His people. This is the Eternal who acts faithfully and regards His covenant to a thousand generations – He who says, "Prepare to meet your God, O 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 1:11,12).