Amos – Therefore?
Amos 3:11 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:
“An adversary shall be all around the land;
He shall sap your strength from you,
And your palaces shall be plundered.”
When I first began this study in the book of Amos I was determined I would not go verse by verse through the book, but rather do more of a quick survey. I thought it would be easier to lend historical or cultural context where it seemed most needed. But truth be told I can’t help myself. When particular observations catch my eye I feel compelled, almost driven to slow down and explore the details. This propensity causes me to stop immediately upon the first word in Amos 3:11. It is the word “therefore”.
I’m sure you are asking, what could possibly be interesting about the word “therefore”? We all understand the word. The word is a conjunction. Conjunctions are joining words. “Therefore” can really only convey two different (yet related) meanings. It either means “because what I just said is true, what I am about to say is true” or it means “because this thing I just told you about happened, this thing I’m about to tell you will or did happen”.
Amos 3:11 employs the second meaning I described. The first part of the verse is communicating that God is saying something. The word “therefore” is telling us that something happened that caused God to speak. Looking back in the text we find that Israel’s wicked behavior caused God’s voice to be heard.
We’ve all heard of the universal law of cause and effect, right? This law, also known as the law of Causality, states that for every effect there is a definite cause. Predictably this universally accepted truth can be read the other direction saying, for every cause there is a definite effect.
We don’t always know why God does what He does (Isaiah 55:8–9). We wouldn’t necessarily know what prompted God’s oration beginning in Amos 3:11, without the simple conjunction “therefore”. Let me encourage you to remember there are no throw away words in the Bible. Each Biblical word, when connected to subsequent words, convey a particular and precise meaning.
I believe that God not only chooses to operate within the universal law of cause and effect, He in His sovereignty created it. If you’re looking for a simple yet rewarding study, grab a pencil, and circle every place the word therefore is used in the nine chapters of of Amos. If you’re feeling particularly ambitious you could move over into the New Testament and locate additional cause and effect examples.
One clear concept emerges as we uncover causality as identified by the word “therefore”. God responds to what we say and do. But my question is do we respond to what God says and does? Many in today’s world don’t even acknowledge His existence.
I don’t know why it is, but it seems we make a disconnect between what we read in the scriptures and what we believe about how God interacts with mankind today. Sure both the Old and New Testament scriptures are full of empirical evidence demonstrating that God responds to the wickedness of man. The pages of God’s Holy message to us are also replete with examples of Him rewarding righteousness. We see Him executing judgement upon the nations, but somehow we don’t believe we are accountable to Him today.
What God has declared to be sin, we have collectively decided as a nation they are really only individual preferences. What is sin to me, we say, may not be sin to you. Don’t judge me and I wont judge you. We need to wake up! We have every evidence that God still executes His judgement! They are His laws we are breaking and He will hold us accountable for every transgression.
For the individual the only way to escape God’s righteous indignation is found in the person of Jesus Christ. He was crucified for our sin. The grave couldn’t hold Him! Jesus was resurrected in victory over sin, death, and hell. Simply put your faith in the saviour.
For a nation the only way to escape God’s wrath is to repent and turn back to Him before it is too late. Tear down the idols and false god’s we have erected. Agree with God and call sin sin, not a disease or a preference. Get back to using the Word of God for the foundation of right and wrong, good and evil. Honor the Son of God who died to take away the sins of the world.
All Scripture quotations taken from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.