Tuesday, August 15, 2023

The Lord of All Nations

 By Alistair Begg

The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem … “I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael … I will break the gate-bar of Damascus.”

Amos 1:2, Amos 1:4-5

The God of the Bible is the God of justice. He sees all, He knows all, and He promises to settle all accounts. This is wonderfully good news for God’s people, who can rest knowing that no injustice we endure escapes His eye. As the psalmist writes, “God reigns over the nations; God sits on his holy throne” (Psalm 47:8). All will give account to Him for their conduct. These are truths made powerfully clear through the prophet Amos, through whom the Lord pronounced judgment on six nations.

In Amos 1:3 – 2:3, God begins His pronouncement with Syria and its capital, Damascus, which He says will face judgment for being ruthlessly cruel to the people they conquered. Then comes Gaza, who are involved in trafficking and slavery. Next is Tyre, who are also guilty of human trafficking. He turns then to the people of Edom, whose hatred and wrath condemn them. Next comes Ammon, whose lust for land has led them to barbaric violence. Last is Moab, guilty of cruel vengeance.

From these verses, we not only learn what God thinks of these specific ancient nations and their particular wicked actions; we can also draw conclusions about what He loves and hates more generally. We can be certain that God hates people made in His image being treated as things or property. We can be sure that God will not tolerate unmitigated hatred and violence, especially at the expense of the helpless. We can know that God will call to account those who value profit over people or who do not keep a pledged word.

God has not changed His mind on these matters since Amos declared them. The Lord still hates these sins and will call every nation and every person who proves guilty of them to account. So, when these deeds are committed against God’s people, we can be certain that justice will be done. Justice will come in the course of history for some nations and individuals; it will come in eternity for all of them.

This is comforting news when we suffer; but it is also sobering news because we sin. We should ask ourselves whether any trace of these behaviors exists in our own hearts. We may not be guilty of acts of cruel violence or of land lust, but the hatred, anger, greed, selfishness, and pride that lead to such deeds may well find a place within us. It is always wise to ask the Lord to search us and mercifully reveal to us areas where sin remains. As God’s people, we can do this not fearing judgment but knowing that our judgment has been endured for us at Calvary by the Lord Jesus Christ. God rules the nations, and God rules eternity. May He reign in your life as well, in how you confront the injustice in this world and repent of the injustice in your heart.

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