Amos 5:24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
Justice requires fairness in court, fairness in business, and protecting the vulnerable. Righteousness requires integrity toward God and others. As God looked upon his people, he wanted to see both justice and righteousness, since both are both essential to a healthy society.
It is more important to stand up for others, however, than to insist upon our own rights. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also (Luke 6:29), said Jesus. So, when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23), wrote Peter. Therefore, when our own rights are trampled underfoot we too can entrust ourselves to him who judges justly.
Amos 6:1 Woe to you who are complacent in Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria.
The problem with spiritual complacency is that it leads to spiritual decline. If we are not growing closer to God, we will soon be drifting away from him. If we are not moving in the right direction, we will soon be moving in the wrong direction.
This was the problem with the church in Ephesus. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first (Revelation 2:5), said Jesus. The Lord even threatened to take away their church if they refused to repent. And there are places in the world the church no longer exists because it grew complacent.
Satan does not care if he turns believers away from Christ all at once or gradually. If we turn away from Christ just one degree per month, in fifteen years, we’ll be diametrically opposed to him. If we are not growing in holiness, we are growing in sinfulness. And it all begins with complacency.
Amos 7:7-8 The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, What do you see, Amos? A plumb line, I replied. Then the Lord said, Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
A plumb line is a string with a weight at the end; it is hung next to a wall to see if the wall is straight. Israel was leaning badly, and would have to be torn down. This happened when it fell to the Assyrians. If Israel had built itself according to God’s word, it would have remained standing. But since it leaned toward sin, it had to come down.
We can apply the same idea to ourselves with the hope of repair. If our lives are leaning toward sin, they can be rebuilt according to God’s word. But for this to happen, we must read the Bible almost daily. This will make us aware of our faults, so we can make repairs, before a collapse occurs. There are many degrees at which we can lean, but only one at which we can stand straight. The Bible is God’s plumb line for our lives.
Amos 8:9 In that day, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
Amos foresaw a cosmic disturbance on the day of God’s judgment. This came to pass when Jesus was crucified, and it was recorded in three of the gospels. From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land (Matthew 27:45). At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon (Mark 15:33). It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, for the sun stopped shining (Luke 23:44-45). With the death of Jesus Christ the light of the world (John 8:12) went out.
But three days later, Jesus triumphed over death (Matthew 28:1-10), and the light of his resurrection has been spreading ever since. Jesus bore God’s wrath on our behalf, so we could have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), wrote Paul. The darkness has passed for those who believe, and the light of God’s grace is shining upon us (Proverbs 4:18).
Amos 9:11 In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter.
Israel was a house that would collapse, and later be rebuilt. The northern kingdom would fall to the Assyrians (722 BC), and the southern kingdom would fall to the Babylonians (586 BC). But when all was apparently lost, God brought his people back to the Promised Land (539 BC).
The nation of Israel has struggled ever since, but when Jesus Christ returns, he will rule the world from there, as King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16). David’s fallen shelter will be fully restored, and his throne will be established forever. For no matter how many promises God has made, they are Yes in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20), wrote Paul.
Reflection and Review
Should Christians ever stand up for themselves?
Why do believers grow complacent?
How is the Bible like a plumb line?