The King & the Kingdom
Sermon Text: Amos 9:11-15
Sermon Theme: The LORD keeps His promise, and we get to rest in the King and the benefits of His Kingdom.
Christ died to gather together the children of God that were scattered abroad — those who were called by His name. The Lord says this, who does this, who can do it, who has determined to do it, the power of whose grace is engaged for doing it. Amos 9:13-15 may refer to the early times of Christianity, but will receive a more glorious fulfillment in the events which all the prophets more or less foretold, and may be understood of the happy state when the fullness both of the Jews and the Gentiles come into the church. Let us continue earnest in prayer for the fulfillment of these prophecies, in the peace, purity, and the beauty of the church. God marvelously preserves his elect amidst the most fearful confusions and miseries. When all seems desperate, he wonderfully revives his church, and blesses her with all spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus. And great shall be the glory of that period, in which not one good thing promised shall remain unfulfilled.
[From Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary]
- Have you noticed how God is going about His way to restore His Church? God gives a designation to His Church, particularly the New Testament Church — “The tabernacle of David.” However, the present case of the tabernacle of David; it is fallen; there are breaches made in it; it is in a ruinous condition. But we have a promise of rebuilding David’s tabernacle ― “I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old” (Amos 9:11). Amos speaks of restoring the tabernacle of David instead of the house of David. A tabernacle being a house — a humble one. This is a promise that in time or season this will be done ― “In that day.” For God many times ushers in a glorious work of reformation by very cloudy, dark, and dismal dispensations of providence. This is God’s ordinary way of working, both towards particular persons and particular Churches. Illustrated by God’s planting a Church for Himself in the land of Canaan. The return of the children of Israel from the Babylon captivity. The times of Constantine. The revival of the Church upon the downfall of Antichrist. Why is it that God goes to work in this way? That He may be avenged on the persecutors and enemies of His Church and people. That He may remove the abounding offences in the visible Church and roll away the impediments that hinder her reformation. And there is something transcendent, great-like, and majestic in this way of working in respect of God Himself. In respect of the people of God, and the effect that this way of working has upon them. That God has His own time and way of rebuilding or reforming His Church, when she is brought to a very low and ruinous condition. However, even if it is not a time of remarkable blessing and restoration, the work of God still deserves our energy and effort. “The duty of the Church is not to be measured by her success. It is as much the minister’s duty to preach the gospel in adverse times as in propitious seasons. We are not to think, if God withholds the dew, that we are to withhold the plough. We are not to imagine that, if unfruitful seasons come, we are therefore to cease from sowing our seed. Our business is with act, not with result. The church has to do her duty, even though that duty should bring her no present reward” (Spurgeon).
- Are you seeing the lessons of grace in Amos? God is gracious in his dealings with His people. He is gracious with Israel. He is gracious with the church. One of the lessons that God has used Israel to teach is that obedience is followed by blessing, and disobedience by judgment. This applies to Israel, but it also applies to individuals, the church, and nations. Will our nation seek God and walk in his ways? If so, God will bless our nation. If not, we will be judged. Will those who are Christians humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways? If so, God will bless them and prosper the church. If not, there will be chastisement. The holy God demands holiness in those who follow him. The question for us is: Will we respond to God’s grace or turn from it? No wonder that Paul said in Romans when he was overwhelmed by the wondrous grace of God and he cried out in what is one of the Bible’s greatest doxologies: “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! ‘Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?’ ‘Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?’ For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 11:33-36). This is our God. We may not completely understand the past, and we certainly do not understand the future. But we see enough to marvel at the grace of our God and respond to him.
- What view do you have of the Golden Age to come? This has interest many people, because dreams of a Golden Age have often intrigued philosophers, statesmen, poets, and people in general. And in our century communists speak of utopia as a classless state. Capitalists think of such an age in terms of material prosperity brought on by capitalism. The difficulty with each of these visions is that men and women seem unable to achieve it. They dream of what a Golden Age should be. They draft plans for how their dreams might be achieved. But they always fail. History teaches that such plans are inevitably followed by disillusionment. In fact, the lesson of history might well be that if such an age is ever to be established, it must be God who establishes it. This is exactly what the Bible teaches. For believers will have a Golden Age where God’s blessing are new every day in His kingdom. For His promises are not exhausted when they are fulfilled, for when once performed they stand just as good as they did before, and we may await a second accomplishment of them. Amos 9:13-15 say several important things about the coming Golden Age. First, it will be a time of blessing for Israel particularly. Second, this is to be a time of great material prosperity. Third, the passage teaches that the blessings to come, unlike the many past blessings, will be permanent. That is, they will not be followed by a falling away on our part and a consequent judgment by God. The blessings will continue forever or at least by a transformation of that time into the time of eternity.
- God has fulfilled many of His promises. Others await fulfillment at a time of God’s choosing. Even in life’s darkest moments, do you depend on God to restore you and fulfill his promises to you? The final promise in Amos centers in the Jerusalem tradition of David, not in the northern tradition of Jeroboam. That hope is more than just a rebuilding of the monarchy. The new David will have power over the remnant of Edom. But who is Edom? Edom is the nation that traces back to Esau – Jacob and Esau. Jacob being the people of God and Edom being the enemies of God. And God declares that they may possess the remnant of the enemies. In other words, is Edom going to be obliterated? No says God; I am going to pick people from my enemies. For “all the nations that bear my name, declares the Lord, who will do these things” (Amos 9:12). So, God is going to work to build up his people to health, and he is going to bring in people from all the nations to share in His kingdom. For this will be a time when the curse is off of the land, and one crop is not fully eaten, until another crop is ready to be picked. There will be an abundance of food in that day. No one will be in want. When Jesus sets up His kingdom here on this earth, there will be no need at all. Everyone will have all their needs taken care of. This will be that Sabbath of rest for the believers in Christ, the new David. For the Lord who forms nations is going to do a new thing. Rather than have one nation, separate from the world, defined by their ancestry or by their heritage, instead the Lord would draw out of all nations – a people not created by blood, not created by heritage, not created by geography – but a people created by an allegiance to a common name – His Name – the name of Jesus Christ. How can you be sure this will happen? The same way you can be sure judgment will happen. It is Yahweh, the LORD, who will do these things. Whose word is true, whose power is great, whose grace is efficacious, to accomplish all that is here promised and foretold.
- What is God’s final word to His creation? Judgment is not God’s final word; his eternal purpose is to create and bless a people who depend on him. Those who assembled the prophetic books of the Old Testament knew that if God’s judgment was the last word, then God was defeated. God promised to Abraham in the beginning of the history of Israel, that all the families of the earth would be blessed through it (Genesis 12:3). During the reign of David, God promised that there would never be lacking a Davidic heir to sit upon the throne (2 Samuel 7). Similarly, in the beginning, God intended human life and his world to be “very good” (Genesis 1:31). But when human sin corrupted God’s good creation, God set out to make His world good again, beginning a history of salvation by calling Abraham out of Mesopotamia. And God’s intention was to form, through Israel its cornerstone (cf. Isaiah 28:16), a universal people, encompassing all the nations of the world in a faithful community that knew how to live in justice and righteousness under God’s lordship (cf. Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-4; Zephaniah 3:9-10; Zechariah 8:20-23). In other words, in answer to human sin, God set out to establish a kingdom on earth even as it is in heaven. But if God’s judgment on this sinful people is the last word, then human sin has won, God has been unable to attain his original goal for the universe and is thus not Lord of heaven and earth. Above all else, the prophecies of Amos are a proclamation of the fact that the God of Israel is sovereign over all — that this is Yahweh Elohim Sebaoth — the Lord God of all the hosts of heaven and of earth who will bring all his good purposes for humanity and His world to fulfillment. God can never overlook human sin (cf. Jeremiah 7:16-20; Habakkuk 1:13). The inhabitants of the northern kingdom could not profane the name of Yahweh and go unpunished; otherwise, Yahweh would not be the Lord. But human sin is never the last word. God has the final say. And because God is a good God of love, the final word is always one of hope and restoration and salvation. With God alone rest all our hopes for salvation. We cannot save ourselves; we cannot bring in the kingdom of God on earth. But Yahweh Elohim Sebaoth can bring it and is doing so. Christians know that the new David, the Messiah or anointed Davidic king, has come. And he is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:20), the one through whom God will bring blessing on all the families of the earth (Acts 3:25-26; Galatians 3:8). Through the church’s preaching of Christ, God is calling all nations into a covenant people (Acts 15:16-18), that the abundant life promised in Amos may belong to all people under the lordship of the one God, Yahweh Elohim Sebaoth (LORD God of Hosts, the Almighty).
- Are you taking God’s Word seriously? Have you examined your religious practices such as prayer, worship, and giving to see if they meet God’s standards or if they are something you do to try to win his favor? Israel’s expectations were also quite different from the picture Amos painted of God’s absolute judgment on their land. Many laughed him off as a fanatic. Others took his word seriously and despaired. Yet Amos surprised Israel with a new word — a word of hope in the midst of doom. God would bring restoration and renewal out of judgment. He struck fear into those who didn’t take God seriously and gave hope to those who did. We can take a lesson from Israel. We should take His warnings of discipline seriously — but cling also to His words of hope. For God’s last word promises renewal and hope for a punished people. So, let the faithful Judge of all the earth, help us to see the reality through His eyes. And do not let us create a false picture supported by false theology. But show us our sins and help us to repent of those sins. Giving us mercy and grace to turn to God in faith and obedience. And it’s a good thing just to stop every now and again to ask – Is the eternal life in me? This is not to frighten you, but it’s just to check yourself.
- Do I have the signs of life?
- Do I speak to God as my Father?
- Do I speak to Jesus as the Lord?
- Do I love His Word?
- Do I relate to his people?
- Do I serve his people?
- Has my life changed?