One portion of scripture that had given me some “trouble” and had caused me to chew on for quite some time was Amos 3:1-8. Particularly troubling was Amos 3:6 - “…does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?” It seems that God, through the prophet Amos, has asked a series of questions in order to show Israel that judgment and disaster was immanent. God, through these questions, had Amos ask Israel by looking at nature and certain sequence of events which leads to predictable outcomes to see his working. For example: A lion does not roar unless he is about to make a kill or has made a kill. So unless Israel takes action – repents & returns to the Lord, God is about to make a “kill” In other words, disaster is certain. The Israelites are to see a natural sequence of events; their sin leads to God’s judgment through such things as what we would call natural disasters. In verse 6, the word disaster is an important word. It is usually translated evil. It is used for concepts of, evil in general, to moral evil, or to disasters of any kind. The same word and idea is used in Jonah 3:10. What is the lesson? If there is a disaster taking place in the land, the Israelites should not chalk it up to: “Bad luck” Nature out of control Global warming A conspiracy theory Satan They are to take note that God is at work. If God is at work then they should respond accordingly. VS 7 – God does nothing without revealing some truth and purpose to his people. God gives His perspective on things that happen in cities, like disasters, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, rivers overflowing, earthquakes, and etc. God did not destroy the earth by flood or Sodom & Gomorrah by fire because of heinous sin and then decide to go on break. He still hates sin, he is still grieved by sin, and he still judges sin. Whole cities may not be destroyed by fire and brimstone, but Hurricanes, Tsunamis, earthquakes, and overflowing rivers are still God’s way of calling people to repentance. You say they don’t see this? That’s our job. Just like Amos’ job was to tell Israel that disasters don’t happen in a city unless God causes it, disasters didn’t happen to New Orleans except that God caused it and his message for the New Orleanians and the rest of the country was to repent. Historical events need to be interpreted accurately and proclaimed accurately.
God sends trials into our lives to give us his perspective and to call us to repent, and to prune our lives in order to reflect his glory. We can’t miss the significance of trials in our lives. Needless to say, not all trials are a result of our being guilty of sin – God permits trials for a number of reasons. As we recognize God working in our lives through a trial and the pruning process by a fiery furnace we need to examine our lives and see if there is any sin present. If sin is present then we do need to repent.
This passage is extraordinary to me since we live in an age where the love of God is improperly emphasized. We don’t like to think of God acting in such a manner. Looks like we occasionally need to readjust our thinking doesn’t it?