Read Amos 1 and 2. Why does the Lord warn that punishment is coming?
The first two chapters in Amos’ book contain seven prophecies against neighboring nations, followed by a prophecy against Israel. The foreign nations are not judged because they are Israel’s enemies but because of their violations of universal human principles. Two things stand out in Amos’ condemnation: the absence of loyalty and the absence of pity.
For instance, Tyre was a leading merchant city located on the Mediterranean coast north of Israel. Because of its almost impregnable island fortress, the city boasted of its security. Moreover, the leaders of Tyre secured peace treaties with several surrounding nations, such as the Philistines. The city was allied with Israel by a “treaty of brotherhood” during the reigns of David and Solomon (1 Kings 5:1, 12) and even of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:30-31). It is not surprising to read in 1 Kings 9:13 that Hiram, the king of Tyre, called Solomon “my brother.”
Yet, the people of Tyre had violated the “covenant of brothers.” Tyre was not condemned for taking away the captives, but for handing them over to Israel’s enemies, the Edomites. Thus, the people of Tyre were responsible for the cruelties that these captives suffered at the hands of their enemies. From God’s perspective, the person who assists and supports a crime is as guilty as the person who commits it.
Because God is all-sovereign, He holds the destiny of all the world in His hands. He has purposes and concerns that reach far beyond Israel’s borders. The God of Israel is the Lord of all nations; all human history is His concern. He is the Creator God, who gives life to all, and all are accountable to Him.
Who among us does not bristle in pain at the incredible injustice we see? Were there no God, what hope would we have of justice ever being done? What does the promise, found throughout the Bible, of God bringing justice and judgment to the world mean to you? How can we learn to cling to that promise amid all the injustice that we see now?