God’s mighty hand of judgment looms, and there will be no escape. “Not one will get away; none will escape. Though they dig down to the depths of the grave, from there my hand will take them. Though they hide themselves on the top of Carmel, there I will hunt them down and seize them. . . Though they are driven into exile by their enemies, there will I command the sword to slay them. I will fix my eyes on them for evil and not for good” (9:1-4).
Israel’s sins all spring from their blessings: They are all out to “get theirs” and they will oppress all who get in their way. They despise authority and correction and love to revel in the finest the world has to offer. But they have no time for God, and no time for the needy. Such a people, in the eyes of God, do not deserve to live.
God will not, however, do away with them all. They are, after all, God’s people. And so, after a time of great trial and destruction, God promises to restore his people and show the world that, while subject to his justice, are not subject to obliteration (9:11-15). This latter text is cited in the New Testament to refer to the Christian Church (Acts 15:16-17).
How do we make an application of this book? After all, it is addressed to the nation of Israel, not to our nation.
We cannot say if our nation imbibes the same sins of Israel, we will fall like she did. Our nation does not, as a nation sustain the same relationship to God Israel did, nor is it in covenant with God to receive its promises. The people of God, today, are Christians. The message of Amos is that God is serious about justice and mercy and fairness and true spirituality. If we buy into the value system of the world, we will suffer the adverse judgment of God no matter what our nationality in this world.
On the other hand, the beginning of Amos makes plain that God holds all nations accountable for the way they conduct themselves. Failure to pay attention to God’s standard of conduct will surely usher in an earlier demise. It is in the best interests of the world for Christians, in whatever nation they reside, to live and promote the ways of God, both for our own future, and for the benefit of those among whom we live.