Amosby J.R. Hudberg
There are very few guarantees in life, especially when it comes to circumstances or events. Things are often beyond our control. We may promise others the world, but, at times, find that we cannot follow through on our word.
It goes without saying that these limitations don't apply to God. If He says it, He will do it. He is the perfect example of what Jesus encouraged us to do–″Do not break your oath . . . All you need to say is simply 'Yes,' or 'No'″ (see Matthew 5:33-37). So, when we read statements like ″The Sovereign Lord has sworn by himself″ (Amos 6:8), we should pay attention. God is going out of His way to let Israel (and us as readers) know that He is saying something important.
In Amos 6:9-11, God gives both the indictment (the crimes and sins of Israel) and the discipline that is coming because of it. The new charge against Israel is laid out in synonymous statements that say the same thing in two different ways: God ″abhor[s] the pride of Jacob″ and ″detest[s] his fortresses″ (v. 8). The repetition serves to reinforce the point that Israel is relying on herself and not on God. Israel was guilty of taking pride in her military, which suggests that they not only believed themselves invulnerable, but also credited themselves for their own position and success.
Their discipline will disabuse them of this pride (vv. 8-9, 11). Their military will not be able to save the city that God is going to destroy (v. 8). He will smash the houses, both great and small, into rubble (v. 11). The picture is one of a city razed to the ground.
This destruction is further elaborated in verses 9 to 10. The punishment extends from a general destruction of homes (v. 11) to a more personal one of individuals being killed–even those who are left and those hiding from the punishment (vv. 9-10). It is so severe that the survivors live in deep fear, unsure about which of their actions will evoke further punishment. They are so bewildered and confused that they dare not even mention the name of the v (v. 10), lest this inadvertently provokes His wrath.
Have you ever found yourself confused by God, whether in your personal experience or by stories in the Bible? How have you dealt with that confusion?
Pride is one of the things that God hates (See Proverbs 16:5). How can you avoid being proud while humbly and rightfully acknowledging your accomplishments?
Israel took credit for their military success instead of giving it to God. What do you attribute to God, and what do you not? What else might you need to give God credit for?