This sermon was preached at Lochee Baptist Chapel on September 2, 2018, Lord’s Day evening. You can listen to it here (20 min.) or read the manuscript below.
Tonight, I have the privilege of leading us through the last passage in Amos, Amos 9:11-15.
This is a hard book in the Bible. It’s a book of rebuke. It rebukes Israel. It rebukes me. It rebukes you.
It’s a book promising severe judgment on the unrepentant.
You’ll remember that King Solomon’s son, Rehoboam, was a fool. So, Israel split into two kingdoms. Judah and Benjamin in the South under Rehoboam, a king in David’s line. The other ten tribes in the North under Jeroboam, of the house of Ephraim.
The northern kingdom has made it 150 years when Amos begins preaching.
It will fall. It will be conquered and utterly destroyed. Hallelujah.
Last week ended with two promises from God.
Look with me at verses 8-10.
“Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom,
And I will destroy it from the face of the earth;
Nevertheless, I will not totally destroy the house of Jacob,”
Declares the LORD.
9“For behold, I am commanding,
And I will shake the house of Israel among all nations
As grain is shaken in a sieve,
But not a kernel will fall to the ground.
The picture used here is a farmer sifting wheat. He puts his harvested wheat in a sieve, shakes it, the useless stuff flies off or falls to the ground. But the sieve holds each kernel of grain.
It’s what the farmer wants to keep. The CSB says pebble. This verse has nothing to do with pebbles. So, like Amos, I’m going to talk about kernels tonight.
10“All the sinners of My people will die by the sword,
Those who say, ‘The calamity will not overtake or confront us.’
First promise: God promises to destroy the sinful kingdom from the face of the earth, to shake the house of Israel among the nations in a kingdom-ending exile.
Ultimately, this promise is not just for the northern kingdom, where Amos is prophesying. It’s also for the southern sinful kingdom, Judah. The north to be destroyed by Assyria. The south to be destroyed by Babylon.
Second promise: God promises to not destroy, forsake, or lose a single one of his elect. Though the sinful kingdom will fall, his elect, those whom he’s chosen to save apart from any worth of their own, will be kept. They will remain faithful. They will be saved.
Though they will all face the horror of exile, the bitterness of losing homes, being cut off from the land, to die among pagans, salvation is their end.
Our passage tonight, the end of Amos, is for those elect kernels of grain, and for us.
First, I want to show you what the passage means for them. We’ll end by seeing what it means for us.
Get in the heads of those Jewish kernels in the north. They’re listening to Amos in faith. They know he’s from God. They know what he says will happen. They’ve seen idolatry all around them their entire lives.
They know the coming judgment is deserved.
But knowing that what is coming is good does not make it easy to receive.
They’ll be looking back at what’s been promised. They’ll see what’s at hand.
Will they be crushed by the cup from which they must drink? Might they even be tempted to doubt God’s Word?
God promised Abram that his family would grow into a great nation. He promised that the whole world would be conquered for blessing by this nation, that all her enemies would be cursed.
But now cursing has come upon Israel.
God promised Israel that, if they kept covenant, they’d stay in the land, chase their enemies with the sword, drink deeply of blessings for generations upon generations.
The kernels know what could’ve been. And they know Israel has broken covenant.
They know they will not taste these blessings in the land.
God promised David that his line would be established forever, that his son would take the throne of Israel and reign as king forever.
But not only has the kingdom lost glory in splitting, both kingdoms are soon to crumble.
This is a bitter cup for the faithful to drink.
Our passage tonight is to be their strength as they face the Assyrians and go into exile, never to return to the blessed land. Our passage tonight is to be the joy set before them, that they might endure what is to come.
In Braveheart, William Wallace tells his men that even if the English take everything, they can never take their freedom.
Amos here speaks to the faithful: Though the Assyrians will take everything from you, they can never take this from you. So, hold it like your greatest treasure. Keep it close to your heart.
Verse 11…In that day
These three words are joy and strength for God’s people, about to descend into the Valley of the Shadow of Death.
In that day, the Day of the Lord’s Anointed, the Day of the Promised Savior.
I will restore the fallen shelter of David:
Though God has brought his judgment upon the house of David, he promises to raise up David’s fallen tent. He won’t fail to keep his Word. He won’t fail to keep his covenant.
David’s son will be King.
I will repair its gaps, restore its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old.
God speaks of both the house and the city of David in ruins. Walls breached. Towers fallen. But God guarantees restoration and rebuilding.
David’s son will be on the throne, not as a vassal to any lord of the earth, but as King in power and splendor and majesty.
Here is the fulfillment of Psalm 132.
13For the LORD has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His habitation.
14“This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.
15“I will abundantly bless her provision;
I will satisfy her needy with bread.
16“Her priests also I will clothe with salvation,
And her godly ones will sing aloud for joy.
17“There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth;
I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.
18“His enemies I will clothe with shame,
But upon himself his crown shall shine.”
This is Jacob’s blessing on Judah come to pass.
“The scepter shall not depart from Judah,
Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet,
Until Shiloh comes,
And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.
11“He ties his foal to the vine,
And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine;
He washes his garments in wine,
And his robes in the blood of grapes.
12“His eyes are dull from wine,
And his teeth white from milk.
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name —this is the declaration of the Lord; he will do this.
Under this Promised King, God’s people will defeat even their worst enemies. In fact, all nations will be conquered. This is the declaration of God. This is what he will do. This is what the suffering faithful can look forward to in faith.
13 Look, the days are coming —this is the Lord’s declaration —when the plowman will overtake the reaper and the one who treads grapes, the sower of seed.
In the day of the Lord, not only will all enemies be conquered, but God’s people will live in the land once more. And the land will be so blessed that the farmers will be overwhelmed with the blessing. There won’t be a long growing season between plowing and reaping, sowing and treading.
The harvest will be so plentiful that it will just always be harvest time.
The mountains will drip with sweet wine, and all the hills will flow with it.
No droughts, no famine, the mountains and hills themselves will drip and flow with sweet wine. Mountain streams of Cabernet-Sauvignon. Dripping with Merlot and Shiraz.
Abundance never before seen. Paradise.
14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel. They will rebuild and occupy ruined cities, plant vineyards and drink their wine, make gardens and eat their produce. 15 I will plant them on their land, and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them.
The Lord your God has spoken.
The Lord has spoken. He spoke to the faithful remnant. He spoke that they might not lose heart, that they might endure for the joy set before them, knowing that, one day, in the Day of the Lord, God would save his people, God would establish them under David’s King forever in the Land, overwhelmed with blessing.
Kernels, know that you will not fall to the ground. Know what is coming in the future. Though the road will be deadly, I am still your God, and you are still mine. Now, go face the destruction well.
That’s what our passage means for them, those hearing with their own ears Amos’ preaching.
But what about us? What is its significance for us?
These verses call us to two things.
First, remember the coming of the kingdom.
“That day”, long ago foretold by Amos, has come. Our long-awaited King, Jesus of Nazareth, came. He died for our salvation. He has taken his throne.
Through faith, God has given us in Christ every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, where our King from David’s line sits enthroned, reigning over all.
He is ours and we are his forever. He’s taken all the curses we deserve on himself. There is only blessing in abundance for us.
There’s only good, even when it’s hard to receive, from God for us.
He came and conquered our worst enemies, sin, Satan, even death.
And the gospel of his victory has been proclaimed and has conquered the nations, from the rising of the sun to its setting.
We do not have the hardship of hearing this good news on the brink of an enduring exile. We know it today as those who live under the reign of this king.
Second, look forward to the coming of the kingdom.
As his first coming happened at just the right time, so shall his second coming happen at just the right time.
King Jesus will return to earth with the armies of heaven. He’ll finally put away the conquered foes. Satan, put away. Sin, put away. Death, put away.
The rebels will bow to him in hell. His people shall bow to him in exaltation.
He will make the world new. It will be harvest time forever. The plowmen will overtake the reapers, the treaders of grapes him that sows the seed.
Mountain streams will flow with the choicest wine.
We will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Our now and our future is full of blessing from God forever. This is by grace alone. This is to the praise of his glory.
So, face your trials with joy. Face them with confidence. Enjoy the smell of the air. Don’t be afraid. Know that Paradise awaits.