Hope of a rapid harvest

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If God decides to bless his people, how blessed do you imagine they will be?


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Bible passage: Amos 9:11–15


Israel's Restoration
 11 "In that day I will restore
       David's fallen tent.
       I will repair its broken places,
       restore its ruins,
       and build it as it used to be,

 12 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.

 13 "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.

 14 I will bring back my exiled people Israel;
       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.

 15 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.

New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society


Audio Bible passage


The audio version of the passage is taken from the Contemporary English Version (CEV).

Explore


Image of hope
As we come to the close of the book of Amos we meet a full-blown description of the hope of God’s goodness. The nation is challenged and threatened with judgement throughout the nine chapters, but then comes this overwhelming image of hope.

Abundant harvests
Why should the nation respond to God? Not just out of fear, but also with great hope. Amos promised that a day is coming when God would restore the nation completely. Not only would they have their borders, but also abundant harvests – so fruitful that the person reaping the harvest would catch up with the person preparing to plant … instant fruit! The people would be brought back from exile and God’s promises would be fulfilled.

Promise-keeper
When God makes a promise, he keeps it. Even if his people sin and have to be disciplined for it. God is the great promise-keeper. The prophets could look beyond the imminent exile and scattering of Israel, to the ultimate hope of God’s plan coming to full fruition. What you do and how you live will have consequences. But there is nothing you can do to undermine God’s promise to be good to you in Christ. Your future is greater than you can even imagine! One day, sin’s great offensive will be over and God’s promises will be fulfilled.

Peter Mead

Respond


Thank God for his loving judgement, and for the hope that we have, precisely because God keeps his promises, despite us! God roars – he is not safe – but he is so good.

Deeper Bible study


The transition from verse 10 to verse 11 has been described as ‘abrupt and surprising … The sword of judgement gives way to the trowel of reconstruction.’1 After all the doom and gloom of the rest of Amos, how can we understand this change? The mention of ‘David’s fallen shelter’ (v 1, implying Jerusalem) hints that Amos’ words to the northern kingdom of Israel were relevant also to his own southern nation of Judah, which suffered a similar fate for similar reasons some 135 years after the fall of Israel. Many commentators believe that these last two oracles were written much later, therefore. Others look ahead to a time beyond the judgement. The most compelling thought for me, though, is that Amos never lost sight of the covenant relationship between the Lord and Israel/Judah. God’s commitment to his people had to lead to the grace of restoration. If judgement is the last word, then human sin has won: God has been unable to attain his goal of salvation for the world and therefore cannot be Lord of heaven and earth. The truth is that he is sovereign and will indeed bring all his good purposes for humanity and his world to fulfilment.2 The book ends with the words, ‘the Lord your God’ (v 15, italics added) – underlining that personal, loving covenantal relationship.

God can never overlook human sin – but human sin is never the last word. We Christians know that the new David, the Messiah, God’s anointed King, has come as the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham.3 Jesus is the one through whom God will bring blessing and abundant life on all the families of the earth. We know what it cost him to do so. We need to heed the warnings of this book as they apply to us; but we should also never lose sight of the hope of redemption and restoration for those who own him as their Lord and Saviour.

1 Hubbard, p250

2 Achtemeier, p235

3 Gen 12:1–3; see Galatians 3:8; Amos 9:11–12 are cited in Acts 15:16–18; see also Achtemeier p236

Vivien Whitfield

Hope beyond judgement


How are we to interpret verses 11–15?
Israel’s eventual return from exile is a partial fulfilment of this passage. But this mainly concerned those from the southern region of Judah.

However, prophets saw the future as something that included the whole nation (see Jeremiah 31:31–37; Ezekiel 37:15–28; 48:1–35). Post-exilic writings illustrate how all these tribes were represented (see 1 Chronicles 1–9).

What of David’s rule and other nations?
The Jews lived successively under Persian, Greek and Roman rule – with brief independence under the Hasmoneans (167–63 BC) – before the destruction of AD 70.

‘The remnant of Edom’ is referred to in verse 12. But when this is picked up by James in Acts 15:16–18, the Hebrew is translated into Greek as ‘the remnant of men’. This made sense to the Greek translators because it connected with the second part of the verse – ‘all the nations’ (v 12) and ‘the Gentiles’ (see Acts 15:17).

Hope is coming
The rebuilding of ‘David’s fallen shelter’ (Acts 15:16) is made complete by the coming of Jesus – leading to the conversion of people from ‘all the nations’. But the book of Amos can also be applied to the universal growth of God’s people in this age (vs 11,12), and gives a sign of the new creation to come (vs 13–15).

God’s judgement is not the end for his people – purification and restoration results from it. Beyond the cross is resurrection and new creation.

John Olley

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King of Kings, Majesty
Jarrod Cooper

Copyright © 1996 Sovereign Lifestyle Music
Buy this and other great worship songs at www.integritymusic.com

Ever faithful God
Paul Oakley & Chris Spring
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
www.integritymusic.com


Comments
  • freepress releaselist | Wednesday, 19 September 2018

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  • Oakley Bookworm | Friday, 21 September 2018

    Even so, Lord, quickly come, bring thy final harvest home; gather thou thy people in, free from sorrow, free from sin, there, forever purified, in thy presence to abide; come, with all thine angels, come, raise the glorious harvest home. - Henry Alford WORDS: https://hymnary.org/text/come_ye_thankful_people_come. MUSIC: (St George's Windsor) https://hymnary.org/media/fetch/180918

  • Alan Pang | Friday, 21 September 2018

    Prophecy is often telescopic. Israel was resurrected as a nation in 1948 after it ceased to exist for some 1800 years. For me, that is more amazing than the return of the exiled during Cyrus' reign. It has much more ramifications than a spiritual interpretation of Amos 9.

  • Noel Prabhuraj | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Peter Mead's explanation in the Explore section, is deeply encouraging and exegetically faithful. Thank you, it was a blessing to read it.

  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Prepare: 'If God decides to bless his people'. He has blessed us and he told us we had a choice of either believe and receive or doubt and do without.

  • Angela Munday | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    “Everywhere you look, blessings!”.....We, God’s people, look to Jesus as He gathers us all together as one under His authority. PETER - Thankyou for the gift of this lovely song which, like you, I enjoyed and received God’s blessing. May we continue to praise God together here, in the beautiful city of Bristol.

  • Mark Vallack | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Oakley, thank you so much for the time, effort and thought you put into your daily hymn selection. It is much appreciated.

  • Linda Penrose | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    God is the Promise Keeper https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IvSfDgtVbFk

  • Jack Russell | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Alan - that's an interesting point that you make about Israel being "resurrected" as a nation in 1948 and prophecy. The parable that Jesus spoke of with the old and new wineskins does seem to have an allusion to the "new wine" mentioned above. The branches that produce fruit are pruned in order to produce even more fruit and those that do not are cut off and thrown into the fire!

  • Barbara Sabin | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    Let everything that has breath, Praise the Lord. https://youtu.be/oEAljL-1kNM

  • install updatenow | Saturday, 22 September 2018

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  • Gilvin Crisifeca | Saturday, 22 September 2018

    CANNOT BELIEVE COMMENT Above is bona fide so don't click on it folk

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