By chapter nine, the last chapter of Amos, God is through delivering His promises of judgment and punishment to His chosen people. The window of opportunity for repentance and restoration has closed. There is a lesson there for us. Do not presume upon the goodness, mercy, and grace of God Almighty. He is not obligated to withhold judgment for any length of time. Your opportunity to repent and call upon His Name could end at any second. That opportunity exists only by His good pleasure.
Up to this point in Amos, the Lord has simply shown Amos visions of possible, impending destruction, followed by asking Amos what he saw. Now, the Lord shows Himself, standing beside the altar of idolatry; judgment has been passed and God has arrived on the scene, poised to carry out punishment bringing total destruction on His people. He describes the absolute futility of attempted escape. He declares that He will bring the very building which houses the idolatrous altar down upon their heads. Those who survive will be hunted down and punished no matter if they go to the depths of the sea, the tops of the mountains, or even to the grave. The Lord reminds them of His awesome, unequaled power, sovereign over all of nature. No one can stay His mighty hand. God follows this declaration of His mighty strength with three questions.
The three questions in Amos 9:7 can be paraphrased as, “What makes you think you are so special as to be treated any differently than the rest of the world?” God reminds His chosen people that they are no better than any other people. God created all the people of the world not just the Jews. God certainly brought the children of Israel up out of Egypt and gave them a land of their own, but He had done something similar for other nations as well, specifically the Philistines and the Arameans. The people of Israel had committed a grievous sin; they made a mistake that carried terrible consequences.
The nation of Israel had misinterpreted God’s longsuffering, patient, enduring of their sinful state. They believed that God would not call them to account because they belonged to Him in a special way that others did not. They thought judgment was a problem only for others to worry about. They felt at ease, secure in their place as God’s special, chosen nation. They could not have been more wrong. The principle that judgment begins at the house of God is an oft repeated idea in the Scriptures. Disobedience, rebellion, unrighteousness, etc. will always be punished. God’s longsuffering, patient delay in judgment is a merciful waiting for your repentance but be sure of this: Judgment delayed does not mean judgment is not on its way. The absolute justness of God’s character demands it. God ends Amos 9 with a reminder of His promise to save the Remnant.
God had earlier promised that His people would never be without at least a small percentage who were fearing Him, trusting Him, looking to Him, following Him. This Remnant would certainly suffer for a time because of the judgment which fell on the whole nation, but God promises a glorious restoration of the country for sake of the Remnant. Amos 9:10 explicitly and specifically warns us not to claim that judgment will not come. Are you part of the Remnant who will survive the judgment? You are if you fear the God of the Bible, repent of your sin, trust Him, look to Him, and accept His paid-in-full gift of salvation in Jesus.