This is what the Lord says:“For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent” (Amos 2:6a NIV).
Israel sinned by despising God’s grace (2:9-12). Think of the grace that they looked down on. God had protected them (2:9). The Amorite tribe was one nation among many of the Canaanite peoples. Though they were skilled and strong warriors, the Lord easily defeated all of them for his people. The Lord had provided for them (2:10; cf. Psalm 78:9ff). Many times God called his people Israel to remember what he did for them in their release from Egyptian bondage. In the same way the church is to recall and reflect on Christ’s greater Exodus. As a song has said, “Lead me to the cross, where we first met; draw me to my knees so that we can talk.”
Even more, God had spoken to them. The means was prophecy (2:11-12). Yet Israel did not want to hear these men whom God had sent to them. The same thing happens today. Many church goers do not want to hear God’s word; most want it diluted to a formless, powerless slop of mushy words. Faithful ministers are blessings from the Lord to his people. See Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians 12. We should pray that God would continue to call men to preach his word.
Some ideas about the terrible nature of the sin of despising God’s grace: When a person despises God and his grace, the God who alone can help them, his or her case is truly desperate. People are in a dangerous condition when they reject, suppress, or even merely ignore God’s message to them (2 Corinthians 5:20). We should be careful to remember the mercies that God has given to us. This was important for Israel (Deuteronomy 8:2, 18; 15:15; 24:18, 22), and it remains important for the church (Luke 22:19).
What were the consequences of Israel’s sins (2:13-16)? How awesome their judgment was! (2:13) God would crush them. This finally fell on them when they rejected Jesus the Messiah. Their house was left to them desolate (Matthew 23:38). Human strength would completely fail as a means of escape (2:14-16).
However, praise the Lord, hope continues! There is one who was crushed for us, in order that we might not be crushed (Isaiah 53:5). Seek the Lord while he may be found.Grace and peace,