There was a remnant of true believers in Israel that faithfully served the Lord during the time of Amos’ prophecy. Sadly, this godly remnant would have to suffer desolation and alienation alongside the rebellious.
In spite of their circumstances, Amos assured them they are the object of God’s love and reminded them to remain faithful to the Lord: “But let [your] justice run down like waters and [your] righteousness as a mighty and ever-flowing stream” (5:24).
Though exile was imminent, the Lord encouraged the remnant with the hope of restoration to the Land of Promise (9:11-15). Unfortunately for them, that restoration would not take place until the fall of the Babylonian empire in 538 B.C. (184 years after Israel’s exile to Assyria).
In the meantime, their nation was destroyed, their friends and neighbors were brutally killed, their homes were burned, and the survivors (godly & ungodly alike) were hauled off into slavery in a foreign land.
For some of you it may seem inconceivable that the covenant people of God would have to suffer the consequences of God’s judgment alongside the rebellious majority, but that misconception is the result of wishful thinking, not biblical truth.
The Bible (both Old and New Testaments) makes it abundantly clear that the godly will suffer in this world; and history confirms this reality. Consider Jesus, the apostles, the early church fathers, and the countless martyrs and missionaries that have suffered for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Christian suffering continues to this day in many nations around the world.
Friends, the Christian’s reward is heavenly and eternal — not earthly and temporal. God has not promised you easy living; he’s promised you eternal life.
It’s destination – not location — that separates the godly from the ungodly.
The Christian’s hope is built on the promise of eternal rewards in the kingdom of God, made possible by the blood of Jesus Christ. Everything between now and then is just filler.
The challenge for followers of Christ in a culture that has rejected God and His Word is to remain faithful to the Lord when hell breaks loose all around us.
I’m not saying it easy; I’m just saying it’s worth it.
Hebrews 10 (NLT):
32 Think back on those early days when you first learned about Christ. Remember how you remained faithful even though it meant terrible suffering. 33 Sometimes you were exposed to public ridicule and were beaten, and sometimes you helped others who were suffering the same things. 34 You suffered along with those who were thrown into jail, and when all you owned was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew there were better things waiting for you that will last forever.
35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
37 “For in just a little while,
the Coming One will come and not delay.
38 And my righteous ones will live by faith.
But I will take no pleasure in anyone who turns away.”
39 But we are not like those who turn away from God to their own destruction. We are the faithful ones, whose souls will be saved.