Amos 9 has the prophet describing his final vision. “I saw the Lord standing beside the altar”. In this final vision, Amos sees the Lord at the temple, supervising the judgment. Amos wants us to know that God isn’t detached from this His hard work of judgment. God says, You can run, but you can’t hide. “Not one of them shall flee away; not one of them shall escape”. God is really serious about sin. There will be a punishment and judgment that all sinners will face. The only exception will be those who allow the blood of Jesus to cover their sin.
God’s dead serious about it. “I will fix my eyes upon them for evil and not for good”. An essential part of the Old Covenant was the promise of blessing or cursing based on Israel’s obedience. If Israel was in continued willful disobedience, they could expect that God’s eye toward them would be for harm and not for good. They will be under God’s punishment. “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground, except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob”.
God wants all His people to understand clearly that they cannot presume upon His mercy or the fact that they are His people. Sin carries a price, God’s people or not, and He is intent on making sure Amos makes that perfectly clear. God has many ways to accomplish that punishment based on the judgment of their bad choices which led them to sin against God. “All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword”. It’s a pretty complete judgment – all the sinners – and while Amos was talking to the people of his day, it still applies to us today. All sinners will face God’s judgment and will die. Only those who claim God’s grace through Christ will be set free from the penalty of sin.
Yet even in His anger, God is in the restoration business. “I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them”. After the judgment and punishment and removing those who are guilty of sin, God wants to restore His people, then and now, to Himself. God loves us and wants us to be in right fellowship with Him!