9/25/14 “Raising Up the Ruins” (Daily Bible Reading: Amos 5-9)

“ ‘Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,’ says the Lord. ‘For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, “The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.” ‘On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old’ ” (Amos 9:8-11).

Have you ever seen a building or stadium being demolished? Can you imagine trying to put the ruins of it back together after it had been destroyed? As the opening verses above indicate, through the prophet Amos, God speaks about raising up the ruins of the nation of Israel following their being taken captive by another nation because of God’s coming judgment upon her because of her sins.

The prophet Amos is sent from the southern kingdom of Judah to prophecy against the northern kingdom of Israel (Amos 1:1). Amos’ name is derived from a Hebrew word which means, “To lift a burden, to carry”. Thus, his name means “Burden” or Burden-Bearer”. Amos lived up to the meaning of his name by bearing up under his divinely given burden of declaring God’s judgment to the rebellious nation of Israel.

Because of her sins, the nation of Israel was ripe for God’s judgment. Amos writes, “Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit. And He said, ‘Amos, what do you see?’ So I said, ‘A basket of summer fruit.’ Then the Lord said to me: ‘The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. And the songs of the temple shall be wailing in that day,’ says the Lord God—‘Many dead bodies everywhere, they shall be thrown out in silence’ " (Amos 8:1-3). It must have been a heavy burden for Amos to bear in having to tell the people of the nation he loved that God’s dreadful judgment was about to come upon them.

Although Israel had brought this terrible judgment upon themselves because of their rebellion against God, was there any future hope for them? Yes, there was. As the opening verses above indicate, God would repair the damages of the temple, raise its ruins, and rebuild it (Amos 9:11). Furthermore, God states: “ ‘I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them,’ says the Lord your God” (Amos 9:13-15).

We often times make a mess of our lives because of the choices we make and the action we take. During such times, we look around and all the dreams and desires we had, now appear to be just a pile of ruins. God is still able to take the ruins that we have made of our lives and put them back together and raise them up into something wonderful for His glory. Today, I rejoice that when I have made a mess of my life because of my mistakes, if I will humble myself before God and seek His Will, He will raise up my ruins!

“When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord," and You forgave the iniquity of my sin’ ” (Psalm 32:3-5).