I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and He said:
“Strike the doorposts, that the thresholds may shake,
And break them on the heads of them all.
I will slay the last of them with the sword.
He who flees from them shall not get away,
And he who escapes from them shall not be delivered.
“Though they dig into hell,
From there My hand shall take them;
Though they climb up to heaven,
From there I will bring them down;
And though they hide themselves on top of Carmel ,
From there I will search and take them;
Though they hide from My sight at the bottom of the sea,
From there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them;
Though they go into captivity before their enemies,
From there I will command the sword,
And it shall slay them.
I will set My eyes on them for harm and not for good.”
The Lord GOD of hosts,
He who touches the earth and it melts,
And all who dwell there mourn;
All of it shall swell like the River,
And subside like the River of Egypt .
He who builds His layers in the sky,
And has founded His strata in the earth;
Who calls for the waters of the sea,
And pours them out on the face of the earth —
The LORD is His name.
The vision of the autumnal presentation of ripe fruit is here succeeded by a fifth and final vision revealed to the prophet Amos. As though a veil has been removed, in this vision we find the chief Agent of judgment to be the Lord Himself. Not insignificantly Amos has hitherto used the covenant name “Yahweh,” but here in verse 1 uses “Adonai,” to describe the Lord standing by the altar; this serves as a sign that it is as judge and ruler over all that He visits Israel . The Sovereign Lord of the universe has now replaced the human offering of ripe fruit beside the altar. Alec Motyer writes in The Bible Speaks Today (©1974 Inter-Varsity) Commentary on Amos: The counterfeit is replaced by the real, the human by the divine, the king who had come to prop us his dynasty by the King who had come to throw it down. The day of pretence was over and the war on pretence had begun.
Once God comes in wrath there is no escape for man; there is no supernatural or natural refuge where he may run. There is one thing that is worse than death itself, and that is the wrath of an angry God. Under such wrath, death itself may even be sought as an escape (see Jer 8:3, Hos 10:8, Luke 23:27-31, Rev 6:16-17). It is the essence of the human’s sinful nature to try to escape encountering God. From the very first sin, after which Adam and Eve sought to hide themselves from God, mankind has ever since sought to throw a cloak of religion and pretence over his self-governed life. People use God and religion to cover their own selfish desires. But the Psalmist knew of God’s omnipresence (Psalm 139:7-8): Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend into heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.
Cross References: Exodus 20:18-19, 1 Kings 8:27, Jer. 23:23-24, Jonah 1:3-4,10
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