As we continue in Amos 3, God calls out to the leaders of His covenant people. He wants them to wake up and realize what they have done. Acknowledging our sin is the first step to repentance.
(Before we begin, I just want to clarify this translation of “Egypt.” Double Straits, or Double Entrenchment carries the idea of oppressing someone. In this case, the oppression is twice as great.)
Amos 3:9-11: (my translation)
“Tell those in the elevated places of power (Ashdod) and on the territory of double entrenchment (Egypt), to gather together and rise up to keep watch, and take heed of the many troubles, and the oppression and extortion among you.
“For those who treasure and esteem violence and cruelty don’t know how to do right.
“Because of this, says The Lord God, an enemy shall encompass you. He will prostrate your strength, and plunder everything you value.”
One word that has always been synonymous with the U.S.A. is pride. Somewhere along the way, we’ve forgotten James 1:17,
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”
Americans tend to believe it was our own blood, sweat, tears, and wisdom that made us everything we are. A more appropriate word to describe our nation would be blessed. Because our nation was created by and dedicated to The Living God, and our very government founded on His Word, God has poured out his favor on us.
But, rather than recognizing this and pressing in to Him in joy and thanksgiving, we’ve decided we no longer need Him. We’ve made His Name a dirty word, no longer allowed to be spoken or displayed in schools or the government. Even our businesses are pressured to hide the light of Christ to avoid “offending” anyone, and churches determined to obey God face prosecution. We have become as the nations, taking offense with the God of creation.
But, even our churches are filled with pride and works. Who needs The Holy Spirit, when you can choose the meaning of Scripture to your own liking? And why pray for our leaders, when we can judge, criticize, and mock them? How arrogant we’ve become!
God has been very patient, but we’ve seen Him withdrawing His favor from the U.S. in recent years. We’ve even felt the repercussions of His warning shots, in the crash of our economy and the attacks of 9-11. But, instead of repenting, we shake our fists at Him and declare our intent to rebuild, stronger than ever.
Now, God is poised to humble the leaders in the U.S., and perhaps the world, as they have never been humbled before. But, as this next verse in Amos shows, even in His judgment, there is hope.
“Thus saith the Lord; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch.”
On first reading, what you see is a sheep, ripped limb from limb by a predator. Dead. But God is still “The Good Shepherd.” This sheep represents the entire flock. But, notice it’s not the sheep in its entirety that’s taken out of the mouth of the lion. Two legs symbolize the knees that bow, and the piece of ear is just a part—those with ears to hear.
What’s really exciting is that the word taketh, is the Hebrew word, natsal, which means the same thing as the Greek word, harpazo, “to snatch away,” which in 1 Thessalonians 4:17, refers to the rapture.
Who is “snatched away?” We know that Samaria means “watch mountain,” and thus infers those who wait on and keep watch for The Lord. And the word “dwell,” yashab, means to remain, as in a constant state of waiting and watching.
Damascus means “silent is the sackcloth weaver,” which infers mourning. Dwelling in the corner of a bed, or more accurately, at the feet of the bed or couch, gives the picture of humility or mourning, as opposed to being stretched out on the bed in luxury, as those mentioned in Amos 6:4. This verse speaks to those completely given over to God.
Take a look at what The Lord said about this attitude in Ezekiel 9:3-4:
“Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple. And He called to the man clothed with linen, who had the writer’s inkhorn at his side; and the Lord said to him, ‘Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and put a mark on the foreheads of the men who sigh and cry over all the abominations that are done within it.'”
Remember, Jerusalem means “teaching of peace,” and refers to those in covenant relationship with God. This mark is the Hebrew letter, shin ש. It represents the name of Shaddai, God Almighty. It also represents, fire relating to man or a servant, to repentance regarding a complete change of thinking, and peace, wellness, and wholeness.
Does this remind you of Revelation 7:2-3?
“Then I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God. And he cried with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth, the sea, or the trees till we have sealed the servants of our God on their foreheads.'”
It should. This is the seal of God, that identifies us as His children. This is our beacon in the spirit world, the blood of The Lamb on our doorposts, bringing us peace in the midst of battle. And assuring our victory.
But it all starts with a broken and contrite spirit.
God’s grace and peace be yours,