A portrait of God in Amos’ prophecy


Sometimes we get glimpses of God in unexpected places in the Bible. Today, we finish our reading in the last few chapters of Amos, heavy with warnings of coming judgment and wrath, we are given a portrait of God.

Just WHO is this God?

For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
        and declares to man what is his thought,
    who makes the morning darkness,
        and treads on the heights of the earth—
        the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name! —Amos 4:13 ESV

John Piper:

He makes mountains like Play-Dough, and mighty wind with a whisper. He knows every thought of your mind before you speak it. He governs all the workings of the solar system, and steps from the Appalachians to the Rockies in one stride. Do you want to meet him roaring from Zion, or rejoicing over us with gladness?

Amos pauses again in 5:8 just to ponder who God is: “He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into morning, and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name.” In other words, prepare to meet the God who builds constellations in space like tinker toys, and spins the earth like a top in his hand, and beckons for a tidal wave like a man whistles for a dog.

And finally, in 9:5, 6, Amos pauses again before this God: “The Lord, God of hosts, he who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell in it mourn, and all of it rises like the Nile, and sinks again like the Nile of Egypt; who builds his upper chamber in the heavens, and founds his vault upon the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—the Lord is his name.” As if to say in each of these portraits: Remember, Israel, when I say the day of the Lord is coming, I mean the CREATOR! What will it mean when the creator says, “I will set my eyes upon them for evil and not for good” (9:4)?

So the large, strong, unavoidable trunk of this prophecy is the fierce judgment of God coming upon the northern kingdom of Israel. The day of the Lord is darkness and not light for those who have loved darkness. The Creator and Ruler of all things will roar out of Zion against all his enemies. So prepare to meet your God, O Israel!

from The Poor of the Land and the Pride of Jacob, a sermon from John Piper’s series on the Minor Prophets

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