Scripture Reading: Amos 8:1-14, Amos 9:1-15, Psalm 53:6, Ezekiel 37:25
I live on the west side of a Civil War town in middle Tennessee. Our kitchen windows face the setting sun, the view framed by tall oaks and the distant red barn that sits on a neighboring horse farm. My mornings begin with coffee at the table, as I watch the settled fog lift to show the glory of the day; evenings end with the sun sliding behind the treeline, welcoming the scattering of stars.
But many summer afternoons, a strong wind comes and chases away the sun, and from the west we’ll see gathering clouds that can only mean one thing: a pop-up storm. Almost without warning, it will rain so hard we can’t see past our fence. The thunder will rock the ground, and lightning threatens to strike closer and closer with every bolt.
When I read Amos 8 and 9, I feel the heavy heartbeat of a summer thunderstorm. I can imagine Amos, seeing the clouds gather, trying to warn the people that the storm of God’s judgment is coming and it will not miss them.
Amos shows us a portrait of an angry God we often shy away from as the God of the Old Testament, as if we are any less culpable than the Israelites who repeatedly turned away from Him. This passage is an important reminder that who God is will never change. His hatred of sin, His anger at those who turn against Him—these are the hard mysteries of His glory, the things we have to wrestle through as we fight our way to the New Testament where we find the unfathomable, gracious, merciful gift of Jesus.
But we have to weather the storms with our ancestors in faith. We have to feel every thunderclap and lightning bolt to understand the power of our God, which makes His great mercy and faithfulness that much more unimaginable, His promises that much more precious.
Because after all of His promises of judgment, God makes another kind of promise in chapter 9, verse 11:
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen, and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.”
God promises Israel that they will never be uprooted from the land He has given them. The storm will end—maybe not for these Israelites in their lifetime, and maybe not for us in ours. The brokenness of the world walks in lockstep with the calendar, each day bringing its own grief and reminders that Christ has not yet come again. But as God promised the Israelites at the end of Amos, restoration is coming. We will not be uprooted. We know the rest of the story. We know our pure, holy, and just God could never be content with the evil and brokenness of sin. But it’s His anger toward sin that led to the greatest mercy of all: the gift of His Son Jesus Christ.
When those afternoon storms pass, our backyard is left in the humid haze of the setting sun. The world is clean, the earth watered and refreshed. God has not promised us a life free from storms, but He has promised that one day the storms will end. It’s then that we will dwell with Him in perfect peace forever.
Melanie Rainer is the director of content for JellyTelly, where she writes and edits family spiritual formation resources. She is a graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary, a passionate home baker, and makes her always-messy home with her husband, Price, and their delightful daughter, Ellie, near historic downtown Franklin, Tennessee.