Amos 9:11-15: The Real Celebration

The shout goes out, “The party’s over!”  The last call for alcohol is now past, and the barkeep is locking the door.  Perhaps, the fat lady is concluding her song.  Soon, the closing curtain descends, covering the stage.  Well, people are leaving, and you must wake up in a few hours for work.  So, one event transitions into another.

So, too, in our Old-Testament reading.  Now, Amos isn’t talking about the necessity to stop drinking wine.  For him, the curtain is closing, and something is finishing.  In his case, God concludes speaking His final words of judgment. 

Earlier, the prophet spoke five, condemning decrees of God, all dealing with Amos’ world of political power-plays and the people’s false faith-life.  Done unleashing His fire-filled warnings and burning brimstone, God also shows He is love and mercy, not only an all-consuming fire.

What did God earlier wish to tell His people?  Through Amos, He unfettered His killing message of the Law.  Take in these searing words from Amos 9:1, “The Lord stood beside the altar, and He gave the command, ‘Strike the doorposts, so the thresholds tremble.’”  Don’t assume otherwise; this party is long over!

So, what follows after God crashes the party?  At last, Amos describes what the Almighty held back for almost nine, long chapters.  A gracious God starts to unwrap His covenant blessings to come, packaged in the promise of a people coming home from exile.  The day will arrive.  The survivors of Israel will find restoration—and not only them—but all the nations, beyond their human imaginings (Eph 3:20).

God’s earlier demolition served its purpose—to pave the pathway of salvation.  The God who is “devouring fire” can also be a “compassionate God” (Deut 4:24, 4:31).  So, after the Law’s destroying function, comes the rebuilding by the Gospel.  Though Yahweh tears down when needed, He also heals (Hos 6:1).  Though He may kill what must die, He will also make alive (Deut 32:39, 1 Sam 2:6, 2 Kings 5:7).

So, God will “restore the fallen tent of David, repairing its breaches, raising its ruins, restoring its former glory” (Amos 9:11).  Divine judgment will give way to mercy, and death to resurrection.  For our redemption, God will raise David’s fallen tabernacle!

Every Sunday, in some way, is a celebration of this reality.  For the God of all wants what is best, not only for Israel of old.  No, He will possess the “remnant of Edom” (Amos 9:12), and the mountains and hills will drip with new wine (Amos 9:13).  All this becomes real in Jesus.  From a false party to a real celebration.

The Word, Jesus, gave life to everything created, and He is the Life who brought light to humanity (John 1:4).  Doesn’t Christ declare Himself to be life-giving bread (John 6:35)?  When still a disciple, Peter also came to this realization, “Your words [Jesus] give eternal life” (John 6:68).  No wonder our Lord taught, “I came to give life” (John 10:10).  To these eternal truths, the Apostle Paul raises his triumphant fist, “Death is swallowed up in victory” (1 Cor 15:54).

Every celebration, however, comes with questions.  First, am I invited?  Yes, because Amos doesn’t leave you guessing.  The tabernacle of David, where God became present to His people to save them, will also include what remains of Edom (Amos 9:12).

Now, Edom means little to most of us.  The Edomites descended from Esau, Jacob’s brother, both sons of Isaac, grandsons of Abraham.  Nevertheless, these Edomites separated themselves from Israelites, becoming Gentiles and enemies of God’s people. 

So, Amos plays on this point, including the resonance and sound of the word, “Edom.”  For if you aren’t paying attention, you might think Amos meant “Adam.”  Those words, Adam and Edom, sound alike, more so in Hebrew. 

Now, “Adam” can refer to the first man, but also all humanity.  Listen to the rest of Amos 9:12.  Don’t miss how God reveals He will include Edom is His salvation, referring to them as “nations,” “Gentiles.”  So, Edom does double duty representing Adam’s descendants, showing God also chooses to rescue people like us.

Now, is your pastor going crazy here?  Let’s check out the Greek version of the Old Testament, which translated “Edom” as “mankind.”  So, the Bible Jesus and His Apostles used spoke of God inviting every descendant of Adam into His redeeming work!  The Apostle Paul will later describe this.  “The Gentiles are fellow heirs… partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel” (Eph 3:6).

Other questions may arise about this festivity.  Should I bring a gift?  To this, God responds, “Bring nothing, if it will take from my gift for you.”  To this celebration, we can add nothing.  All is to flow from a heart of gratitude.

Attend to Jesus in one of His parables.  “At the time of the banquet, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, for everything is now ready’” (Luke 14:17).  The Host, Jesus, prepared everything.  The invited but need to show up. 

In the next verse, Amos 9:13, God confirms this, using farming imagery to deliver His point.  In the days to come, the grain crop will be plentiful.  The “one plowing” will also be in the field with the “one reaping.”  Both, on the same day?  Yes! 

The season of sowing and harvesting will merge into one.  The winter of hunger will disappear.  The “one crushing grapes” will be doing so while the planting is taking place.  The wine is always made ready.  Such is the picture God provides, from the Provider who supplies our salvation with new wine dripping down the mountains.

Though the cost to us is nothing, not so for God’s Son, who made this possible.  The Savior’s lips cracked and swelled, and congealed blood and spit caked to His cheeks.  Tight nerves threatened to snap as death sang its morbid melody.  The severest of His sufferings, however, is when the sinless One became sin for us.

Now, Amos directs us to the other side of the harvest.  At the communion table, God bestows on us the gifts of His saving wine, bringing our deliverance.  All this comes to us in Christ’s body and blood, through which God nourishes us to life everlasting!  Like the physical body needs food to stay alive, so God feeds us with spiritual nourishment.

Well, what should we wear?  What’s the dress code?  In whatever way you want to show your appreciation for the God who approaches to save.  The real question is something else.  The answer is, “Come as you are, with all your sins.”

With honest eyes, when you peer deep within, you don’t miss what’s real.  My face is haggard with worry, as heavy burdens hunch my shoulders.  My lips dirty themselves from lies and slander, as callouses form on my heart toward others.  My finger is stuck, pointing accusations against another, as bitterness and resentment fill my soul.

The entire book of Amos, preceding today’s reading, burned and buried the world of power politics and false religion.  The prophet understood government and spirituality, businesses and lives, all going awry.  Still, what did God say?  “Come as you are.”

The sin inside us boils over most in our family life.  Every day, we attempt to manipulate and control one another, sometimes in subtle ways, sometimes through the unrelenting wither of words.  Do you not realize—you are no different from the Israel of old?  Despite your occasional, self-chosen exile from God, He still pledges to reconcile, “I will restore the fortunes of my people” (Amos 9:14).

In Hebrew, the turn of phrase God uses to bring back His people resonates in a strange pattern, “I will turn a turning.”  In other words, God is changing His earlier course, resolving to turn away from what He earlier did, overturning His curse.  The people will do more than come home from captivity.  No, this is a complete reversal of God, who previously allowed an enemy to banish His chosen. 

What does this mean?  A merciful God does more than rescue you from your sinful failings.  In love, He also saves you for eternal life.  True salvation is liberation from something and for something.  Today, we live in the echo of our Father reversing His curse—of Him turning away from His previous turn to deport His people.  The outcome of this is Jesus.  Now, those groping in darkness can bask in the light.  The blind receive sight and the dead rise to new life—all because of our liberating Lord!

Through His Son, God smiles on you in compassion, “Come as you are!”  Now, don’t stay as you are, remaining in your sin, for as God turned, so also are you.  With your sins, come to Him, and leave forgiven and cleansed.  Now, you live as such.

Through Amos, the Lord reveals this feast is neverending.  Delight in His truths, “I will plant the people of Israel in their land, no more to be uprooted” (Amos 9:15).  In ages past, God first fulfilled this in the first Promised Land, when a remnant returned from Babylon.  Now, those who are “in Christ” (Rom 6:11, 8:1; 1 Cor 1:30; Eph 1:13), possess these promises because they reside in a land, an inheritance, which will “never perish, spoil, or fade” (1 Pet 1:4).  What is this?  The new heaven and earth to come (2 Pet 3:13).

So, as we wait for the Savior to return on the Last Day, Jesus vows no one will snatch us from His hand (John 10:28).  At His second coming, all believers will inherit this kingdom and reign with Him forever in heaven’s heights (Rev 1:5-6).  Now, talk about a party!  For this celebration, the marriage feast of the Lamb, will never end!  Amen.