Pastor Mike will be speaking on In Anger Remember Mercy Part 1. He will be reading out of Amos 9:1-8.
Many Christians unfortunately have been traumatized by what God is doing. He is shaking up the world. But you be assured, my friends, that as your faith is rooted in the Word of God, all that can be shaken will only dissipate, and that which remains will be the kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Hello, this is Pastor Mike Sanders, and this is Hope Worth Having, we are grateful that you have joined us today to be a part of this radio program. We’re in Amos chapter 9. We’re studying the final chapter of the book of Amos.
When we think about Amos being a simple shepherd, his background reminds us that God calls all kinds of people to his service. Yet God pulled him out to take a message to his people, and I want us to begin to look at the scriptures together today in Amos chapter 9.
You have your Bible this morning. I want you to join me in the book of Amos chapter 9. Now we have finally made it to the end, the last chapter, the last section of the book of Amos. And you’ll remember that as we have started this last section, which actually began in chapter 7, that in this last section, there are five visions that are revealed to Amos.
And these are visions of God’s judgment upon his people and upon this nation that has rejected him. But there are also five promises. And so we’ll look at the final vision today, and then we’ll review those five promises.
What we’ve entitled the message is that in anger, remember mercy. We must note that there is great mercy even in the midst of God’s wrath. Sometimes when we experience the wrath of God or we experience the judgment of God, or even the chastening of God’s wrath upon us, and his discipline upon us, that we may question whether God is merciful, or whether he even loves us.
But let us be encouraged today to note that God always shows us his mercy and that even when he deals with what’s wrong in our life, he is continually showing loving kindness towards us. So as we begin to examine this passage this morning, the first thing that I want you to see is that when God judges, when God judges, what is going to take place when God judges?
Look at verse 1, the Bible says, I saw the Lord standing by the altar. So this vision that Amos has is that he sees the Lord, and when that phrase, the Lord, is mentioned in Hebrew, it’s adonai. That is God is the one who rules over.
It’s one of the names, the Hebrew names of God, referring to the fact that he is the one who rules over everything in this world. It is a reminder to us that God is intimately operating in the confines of time and space in this world and among his people.
Adonai, God himself is not standing at the altar to receive worship. He is not standing at the altar to even bless his people, but the Bible tells us he is there to bring judgment. Look at verse one again.
He says, I saw the Lord standing by the altar and he said, strike the doorposts that the thresholds may shake and break them on the heads of them all. I will slay the last of them with the sword. He who flees from them shall not get away and he who escapes from them shall not be delivered.
When God judges, we learn that we will not be able to escape. Nobody can escape the judgment of God. The people of Israel had become a divided nation, a northern kingdom, a southern kingdom. And that within this divided nation of Israel, they had established temples and worship centers where they were worshiping a false God.
God shows up at the altar of these false temples and he pronounces judgment that these doorposts are going to be struck. That is the pillars of the temple which upheld these vertical beams that upheld the roof of the building and they held together the structure of the building.
God was going to destroy those pillars or the walls of the temple. those door posts. Now why would God do that? Well again, let’s go back to chapter three and understand what God is doing because God is not just out of a fit of anger and he’s not just out of emotion being reactive to his people, but rather after many years of wooing them and many years of reaching out to them and calling them to bring their lives in alignment with him, he is now bringing that judgment upon them.
We look at chapter three in verse 14, the Bible says that on that day, I punish Israel for their transgressions. I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground.
They had erected in this divided kingdom, they had erected these false temples. One of them was in Bethel and there they worshiped. false gods. And though they had been very religious, they had developed a man-centered religion.
Jump over to chapter 5 in verse 21. Again, we see this, in chapter 5 in verse 21 of the book of Amos. The Bible says, I hate. I despise your feast days. I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fat and peace offerings.
Take away from me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. So they were having these feasts and these worship services, and they were gathering together. And though they were pretending to worship God, their heart was far from God, reminding us that on the outside, we can do the right things.
But on the inside, Jesus said, you can be far from God. You and I have to be careful that we don’t fall into this trap where we have a man-made religion that is always worshiping on the outside but is not worshiping from the heart.
Jesus said that God is a spirit, and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. The word spirit is not the Holy Spirit, but it’s talking about my personal spirit that I was creating in the image of God.
I was created with a spirit. I was created with the spirit that connects with God. God is a spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in a spirit that is authentically from their heart. From their inner being, they worship God.
They’re true. They come before God, and they don’t just go through the motions, but they are calling out upon God. They’re singing their songs from their hearts as they cry out to God. They’re not just doing the religious thing.
calls us to worship Him in truth. And that is that our hearts not only align, but our practices align with what God says. And so again, God not only looks upon what we do as our actions, but He looks at our attitudes.
And so the people of Israel had now drifted and they were not truly worshiping God. Yes, they were having feasts and yes, they were religious and yes, they sang the songs and yes, they showed up, and yes, but it was a man-centered religion.
And God says in verse one that He’s gonna strike the doorpost. Look at verse two, which says though they dig into hell from there my hand shall take them. Though they climb up to heaven from there I will bring them down.
And though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, meaning Mount Carmel, from there I will search and take them. Though they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it shall bite them.
Though they go into the captivity before the enemies, from there I will command the sword and it shall slay them. I will set my eyes on them for harm and not for good.” We often say if God is for us, who can be against us?
The Bible says that. But have you ever considered that if God is against us, who can be for us? If God has set his eyes upon you for harm and not for good, why would God get to this threshold? Because they had rejected him and that’s what I’m saying.
When God judges, when you pass that threshold and God brings down his judgment, whether it’s upon a nation, a people, or a person, we will not escape it. He refers here to the doorpost, the pillars being shaken, as a reference to an earthquake, and all throughout the Bible, Amos has been warning the people that part of what God is gonna do is bring about an earthquake to bring judgment upon them.
I want you to back up again into chapter one. I want you to see these threads that are woven within the book of Amos so you can see it all culminating together in chapter nine. Amos was describing the times in which he had pronounced these judgments upon the nation of Israel and received these visions from God.
At the end of verse one of chapter one, the Bible says two years before the earthquake, which gives us context and understanding of what had taken place, that there was a great earthquake that swept across the land and Amos had been warning them.
As we mentioned to you last week, God uses natural disasters to speak to our hearts. He uses calamities to awaken us to him and to draw us to him. We come over to chapter two of Amos, verse 13. He says, Behold, I am weighed down by you as a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.
Therefore flight shall perish from the swift. The strong shall not strengthen his power nor shall the mighty deliver himself. For he shall not stand who handles the bow. Swift of foot shall not escape, nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.
The point is simply this, that in the midst of this earthquake, there will be no escape. There will be no escape for anyone when God brings this judgment upon. Jump over to chapter three and verse 14.
In chapter three and verses 14 and 15, he says, In that day I will punish Israel for their transgressions. I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground.
I will destroy the winter house. Along with the summer house, the houses of ivory shall perish and the great houses shall have an end, says the Lord. God was gonna cause a great earthquake to come and shake the very land and people’s houses and the temples would all come crumbling down.
Jump over to chapter six in verse 11, and chapter six in verse 11. The Bible says, for behold, the Lord gives a command. He will break the great house into bits and the little house into pieces. Then we come to chapter eight and verse eight.
He said, shall the land not tremble for this and everyone mourn who dwells in it, all of it shall swell like the river heave and subside, like the river of Egypt. What he is describing here is the earthquake and the movement of water and rivers and the expansion and the swelling of all that is taking place relating to God’s judgment as he’s bringing the earthquake.
The Bible reminds all of us this morning that the time has come that judgment must begin at the house of God. And if it first begins at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
You see, God is bringing his judgment and he begins with his people. He begins with our hearts and we have to be careful that as we read this, we don’t distance ourselves from what God is trying to say.
As we taught you last week, we see these warnings. We see these judgments. We see these pronouncements, these visions and they are designed to speak to our hearts. Not that we would go down that path but that we would run from the path of spiritual complacency and apathy towards God that you and I would understand.
that God wants to address any disobedience in our hearts. It’s important that as we walk with God, as we spend time with Christ every day in our prayer time, our Bible time, as we open the word of God for our devotion time, that it’s so much more than just a little pick me up to get me through the day.
We recognize that God wants to change things in our life and that the questions that we should be asking God are, is there any sin you want me to confess? God wants to confront our hearts. Is there anything in this passage of scripture, God, that you’re speaking to me about that you want me to change in my life?
God is about his people being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. And so when we come to passages like this, that are very stern and strong, they are designed to be a warning to each of our hearts, to shake us out of our complacency.
and to remind us that no one is ever beyond the reach of his judgment. You might think, well, God’s never gonna do that to me. No judgment comes first at the house of the Lord. The expectations upon us as God’s believers and followers supersede even those outside of the church.
Yes, there’ll be judgment for those who do not obey the gospel, who do not follow Christ and love him with all their hearts, but there’s also judgment for us. If we do not sink our lives with him, because we look at this passage, we understand its implications to us personally, practically, and imminently right now.
But let’s also understand that there is coming a day in which God again is going to use earthquakes to bring judgment upon the world. So don’t lose your place in Amos chapter nine. Jump over to the book of Revelation, Revelation chapter six and verse 12.
Again, the scriptures are helping us to see what is to come in the future. He says I looked when he opened the sixth seal, behold, there was a great earthquake and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair and the moon became like blood and the stars of heaven fell to the earth as a fig tree drops its late figs when it is shaken by a mighty wind.
Then the sky receded as a scroll when it rolled up and every mountain and island was moved out of its place and the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave, and every free man hid into the caves and in the rocks of the mountains and said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the…
wrath of the Lamb of God for the great day of His wrath has come and who is able to stand? God has revealed that earthquakes in various places are gonna be a sign of His coming that is very imminent.
Jesus said in Matthew 24, verse seven, that nation shall rise against nation, kingdom against kingdom, and there shall be famines and pestilence and earthquakes in diverse places. All the chaos and confusion that we see unfolding are only the tea leaves of what is to come when God pours His judgment upon a world that refuses to believe in Him.
The most important question that you and I must consider this morning is do we have earthquake insurance? And I’m not talking about physical earthquakes, but I’m talking about, are you prepared? to endure such judgment.
You and I must note that these earthquakes in the future during the tribulation period are not for us because we will be raptured out, but only for those who believe in Christ, is that true? Again, I call your attention to Hebrews chapter 12.
Hebrews chapter 12, I want you to go there and I want you to see what the Bible teaches us, how we are not to be shaken because of our faith in this world. Hebrews chapter 12, verse 25 says, see that you do not refuse him who speaks, for if they did not escape who refused him, who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth.
But now he is promised saying, yet once more, I shake not only the earth, but also heaven. Now this, yet once more, indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us have grace by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear, for our God is a consuming fire. You say, why is God allowing so much of this going on?
I’m telling you right now that he is shaking the world so that what cannot be shaken is remaining and that the kingdom of Christ cannot be shaken. And those who find themselves in the shelter of the kingdom of Jesus Christ by having faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are only the ones who will be able to endure any shaking that’s going on in this world today.
Many Christians unfortunately have been traumatized by what God is doing. He is shaking up the world. up the world. He is shaking up the nation. He is shaking up lives. They are cowering in fear and running to hide, but no one can escape the judgment of God.
But you be assured, my friends, that as your faith is rooted in the Word of God and in the promises of God, all that can be shaken will only dissipate, and that which remains will be what cannot be shaken.
And that is the kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We go back to Amos, and we note in verse 4 of chapter 9 that God says, I will set my eyes on them for harm and not for good. There isn’t any person that will be able to escape the eyes of God.
We long that he watches over us as he does the sparrow and he cares for us. But even those who try to escape the judgment of God, there will be no escaping. No matter where they run, no matter where they hide.
Metaphorically, God says if you go into hell, you will not be able to escape. If you climb to the highest of the heavens, you will not be able to escape. There is no place, the book of Revelation says, they went into the caves and they hid into the mountains and they desired to be hidden from the wrath of God that is to come.
There is no escape. When God judges, we will not escape. When God judges, we will recognize who he is. We come to verses five and six and we have a declaration of who he is. Verse five says the Lord God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts.
And all who dwell there mourn, all of it shall swell like the river and subside like the river of Egypt. He who builds his layers in the sky and has founded his strata in the earth who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth, the Lord.
Adonai is his name. If you like to mark in your Bible, you might underscore that phrase, the Lord is his name. You back up to verse five, the Lord God of hosts. This is not some accident that has manifested upon the people who have rejected God.
This is not something that just was a quinkie dinked and seemed to come together at the right moment, but rather this was the hand of God and we will recognize him. They are reminded in this passage, we are reminded of his omnipotence, his great power.
It is revealed. revealed in creation, and he is sovereign over all the nation. We are reminded that he has the power to carry out all that he says that he will do. When God says that he will judge, he will judge.
When we think about when God judges, we understand that we’ll not be able to escape. We will recognize who he is, but thirdly, we will not be able to claim any special relationship. We come down to verse seven and the scripture says, are you not like the people of Ethiopia to me?
Oh, children of Israel says the Lord, did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt? The Philistines from Qaftor and the Syrians from Kerr? Behold the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth.
Yet, I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob. He 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 sea Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground Verse 10 all the sinners of my people Shall die by the sword who say the calamity shall not overtake nor confront us What he’s saying?
He is reminded the people of Israel They would not be able to claim any special favor or relationship that somehow would prevent God from bringing judgment upon them What happened to the nation of Israel?
They had become self -righteous They had become so focused on self and they believed that because they were a covenant people and that because they were a chosen people in no way would God ever bring judgment upon them that they had special protection And therefore they could live as they wanted They could pursue their self-interests They could walk through the motions of their religious practices, but God would never judge them But they are reminded in verse 7 through 10 That that is not true God shows no impartiality in his grace as well as his judgment There is no distinction upon the judgment of God that he will judge The nation of Israel he’ll judge his people Just like he would judge all people That distinction is gone.
There is no special favor that somehow Hey because of who I am because of my name my heritage my parents’ role in the church God is going to just overlook my lifestyle my attitudes and my actions that know my friends every Relationship with God is personal You not only cannot hang on to the coattails of your parents and your grandparents to get into heaven because God has no grandchildren.
And that every person must make a decision for Christ one on one. But as God is dealing with us, as he is confronting things that are wrong in our life, we cannot bring to God our heritage and our family name and some sort of a favor that we have somehow in our mindset.
And God will withhold just the opposite, my friends, to whom much is given, much is required. And so when God gives you that platform that you are born into the Christian home and you have been given the gospel of Jesus Christ and you have been given so much opportunity to be all that you can be for the Lord Jesus Christ, how much more is expected out of you than those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Oh, we must recognize. that we’re not able to claim any special relationship. But I want you to note, tucked into this judgment of verses 7 through 10 is a reminder to us of the incredible love that God has for His children.
Verse 9, for surely I will command and will sift the house of Israel among all nations. God’s heart is not to destroy you, but God’s heart is to shape you. It is to mold you into the image. He’s going to sift you as grain is sifted in the seed.
He is like the farmer who is trying to make sure that the grain is pure, and he is trying to make sure that the quality of it is good. And so it is that God will do that in our hearts and in our lives.
How does he do that? As believers, the Bible teaches us that sometimes through trials, temptations, through the transitions we go through in life, he sticks us into the fire. We find ourselves in the fire.
We are like the goldsmith in which the goldsmith melts the gold so that all the infirmities will come to the surface. And as those infirmities come to the surface, that goldsmith takes his tool and wipes it away and he cools down that gold so that he can have pure gold available.
What is God doing in your life? Very much like Job said, God is working in our life. Though he slay me, I will trust him, Job said. And he said I will come forth as gold. The name Amos means burden or burden bearer.
Amos was a burden for his country. He had a burden for the people of God. And this final message in chapter 9 is about eating. Even in God’s anger, Amos is calling on God to remember his mercy. And that’s the wonderful thing I want you to know, that even though, yes, God judges sin, because Christ took our judgment on the cross, through faith in Christ, we can receive his mercy, and our nation can be blessed again if we will only turn to Christ, only when we repent of our sins and turn to Christ, and that we call out to God as Amos did in his anger, Lord, please remember to have mercy upon us.
And I pray that that is true in your own heart. It’ll be true in your family, your church, and yes, even our nation, that God would show incredible mercy because of his wonderful grace and love for us.
Well, this is Pastor Mike Sanders reminding you that in Christ there is hope worth it. at having.