Amos 9:1–10 (NKJV)
9:1 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.
2 “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;
3 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;
4 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 pronounces judgment on Israel that is complete and all-encompassing. He speaks of His own omnipresence, in that He will be able to find the Israelites, no matter where they may hide, to the expanses of the earth and heaven and hell. They will not be able to hide from the shaking that is going to take place, bringing their idolatrous world down on their own heads.
5 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.
6 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.
7 “Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me,
O children of Israel?” says the Lord.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
The Philistines from Caphtor,
And the Syrians from Kir?
The Lord then identifies Himself as the Creator, Deliverer, and Judge of the Earth. God has all power, and has proven Himself over and over again. He deserves to be obeyed, served, and worshipped. The audacity and foolishness of Israel was that He would not mind that they worshipped other gods!
8 “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.
9 “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.
10 All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword,
Who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.’
Finally, the Lord speaks of the extent and nature of His judgment on Israel. He will destroy the kingdom, but not every person. He will sift it, but not completely discard it. The sinners will die in their arrogance, but the Lord will keep a remnant. God will always have a church made up of the faithful. He will not utterly destroy. Like Noah in the ark, like the Hebrew children in Babylon, like the faithful spies Joshua and Caleb, God has a remnant. Be part of the remnant. When the sifting comes, you will survive and thrive!