Amos – Chapter 6 – Lord God
To date, I have written twenty four devotions on the book of Amos. There are nine chapters and we are currently working our way through chapter six. I have no idea how many more it will take to get all the way through the book. I’m not even sure we will make it all the way to the end. When I embarked upon this particular adventure, I did so because I felt it is one of the lesser known books in the Old Testament. If you’ve read the Bible through devotionally you’ve encountered the book, but unless you’ve spent some time studying it you’ve missed some real gems. The reason it’s easy to miss things is because Amos uses lots of metaphors and analogies to communicate God’s message to Israel.
Even though this is study twenty five, we have been moving pretty quickly through the book, leaving many golden nuggets unmined. Today we slow down again. Let’s start with a single verse and see how far we get.
Amos 6:8 The Lord GOD has sworn by Himself,
The LORD God of hosts says:
“I abhor the pride of Jacob,
And hate his palaces;
Therefore I will deliver up the city
And all that is in it.”
Zooming in to a microscopic view we first consider three words, “The Lord GOD”. Actually, we need to examine each of the words individually, then reassemble them. Maybe you are thinking, “The first three words need no exploration! I know exactly what they mean! Don’t bore me, Let’s move on.” There is however intricate beauty to be appreciated in this carefully crafted verse if we have eyes with which to see it.
The word “the” here is not in the language in which this verse was penned. There is a word in the Hebrew for the word “the” (pronounced ha), but here the translators have added it thinking the target language (English) reads smoother with it. That may be true, but I wish they would not have included it, because it actually, if ever so slightly, misdirects our understanding.
When we encounter the word “the” before “Lord GOD” we tend to treat the reference as a bit redundant. The author seems to be saying “the Lord” and “GOD”, when he could just as easily have said one or the other and we the readers would have clearly understood who was being talked about.
This may be true, however the the phrase “Lord GOD” is not only indicating who the author is talking about, it is telling us something specific about the person being discussed. It is not “the Lord [comma] GOD”. It is simply “Lord GOD”.
I feel my readers staring blankly back at me. Maybe this will make more sense if we define the words, “Lord” and “GOD”. The word translated “Lord” here is the Hebrew word Adonai, and it actually means “Master”. In the Old Testament It can be used by a slave addressing his owner, or a wife addressing her husband. As an example Sarah called Abraham master. It’s a word that indicates the position an individual holds above another. We could say “Lord” is a positional word communicating submission and respect for the one bearing the title. Personally, I wish the word Adonai would have been translated “Master” instead of “Lord” in the Old Testament.
Next, let’s look at the word “GOD”. Here the Hebrew word is Yahweh. When it is preceded by the word Adonai the translators capitalize it. They do this because other places they translate the word Yahweh as LORD (all caps). So in our modern day translations whenever you see LORD or GOD in all capital letters you are seeing the Hebrew name of God, Yahweh.
Consider the following paragraph from www.knowingthebible.net:
“The name Yahweh is best known from the famous “I AM” interaction with Moses (Ex. 3) and references the fact that God has always existed and will always exist. Though this is true, it is also a very basic understanding of the meaning of Yahweh. In the ancient world, names communicated something about a person’s character, so a name carried much meaning with it. God in His infinite sovereignty chose to reveal Himself in the name Yahweh. Consequently, one should expect this name to communicate a lot about the character of Yahweh.”
I would incourage you to read the whole article at https://www.knowingthebible.net/the-meaning-of-yahweh.
Yahweh is the personal name of God. It is the very name He used when He entered into a covenant relationship with the nation of Israel. Jesus claimed this name for Himself when he used the “I am” phrases in the gospels. Jesus’ “I am” claims were claims to be Yahweh, claims to be the covenant God of Israel. Jesus’ claim to be the self existent God is why the religious leaders of His day hated Him, and it is why people hate Him today.
You don’t have far to look to find a more technical discussion of the name Yahweh. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon to the Old Testament is one excellent resource which sheds some additional historical light on the usage of the word Yahweh.
Maybe you have heard the definitions for Lord and GOD before, but I hope you never grow tired of considering the depth of their meaning. The God we know and serve is the Master “I am” of all of creation. He is the only one worthy and capable of bearing the name. He is Holy and worthy of all our praise and worship.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.