Actions Have Consequences, Consequences Have Actions (Amos 7-9)

141110_timwaiWe are on the last of 3 sermons on the book of Amos. It is my hope and prayer that you will take the time to read through the whole book of Amos again and really listen for God's voice. Whenever we read the Bible, there are three questions we can always be asking, "Who is God? What is God like? What is God asking of me?" In our final segment of the book of Amos God declares, "I will spare them [Israel] no longer." Actions have consequences. In their time of peace and prosperity, the nation wasted their blessings by oppressing the poor and dishonoring the true worship of God.

In Amos 7 and 8, God shows Amos four visions representing God's judgment on their actions: a) locusts (Amos 7:1); b) fire (Amos 7:4); c) a plumb-line (Amos 7:7) and d) a basket of ripe fruit (Amos 8:1).

The people and the leaders did not like this message. In Amos 7:10, Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to the king of Israel accusing Amos of a conspiracy. Amaziah then sent word to Amos to go back to where he came from.

Because the people stopped listening, God stopped speaking. Israel was not following God, did not have His heart for the poor and oppressed, were self-seeking and proud. Their actions would bring the consequence of judgment. Their way of life would be destroyed (Amos 7:9, 8:3, 8:9-12).

Just as actions have consequences however, consequences can lead to action:

As God shows Amos the visions of judgment, Amos does a surprising and wonderful thing. He prays for the people! After Amos is shown the vision of the locusts and the fire, Amos cries out for God to forgive and to stop.

God loves it when His servants pray for His people. God is not interested in destroying sinners but in repentance. Ezekiel 33:11 "As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live."

The consequences of God's actions should lead us to prayer. The figure of Amos praying for the people and acting as their advocate is the role that Jesus plays for us (1 John 2:1) and a role that we can play for those around us.

The consequences of Amos' prayer is that God took action and responded with mercy and grace. When Amos cried out to God, God responded! Amos asked God to stop the judgment by locusts and fire and God relented. But God is not a pushover. When confronted with the vision of the plumb-line and the basket of ripe fruit, God was firm.

But His anger doesn't last forever (Psalm 30:5). The book of Amos doesn't end just with a note of doom. It ends with a word of hope and promise (Amos 9:8, 9:11-12, 9:14-15).

God would eventually bring judgment, defeat and exile both to Judah and Israel. But after the fulfillment of those consequences, God's ultimate action in response to the consequences is that He would send His Son to not only be the Savior for the nation of Israel but for the whole world (Acts 15:12-20).

Israel's actions brought the consequence of judgment. But the story doesn't end there. The consequences of judgment can also lead to action. Amos prayed, God responded and ultimately God sent His Son.

The good news of Jesus Christ is that the consequences of our sin have been dealt with for all time on the cross. Because of this consequence, what will be the action you will take?  Galatians 2:20 "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me."

How will you live? How will you help? How will you pray as a follower of Christ this week?