Through a series of seven rhetorical questions in Amos 3, the Shepherd/Prophet brings clarity to the inevitable judgment that was coming for Israel.
The thrust of these questions is to impress on Israel that events do not happen out of nothing. In particular, the coming judgment and discipline from the Lord, is directly connected to their acts of disobedience. The point is that any second event does not happen unless it was first preceded by a first event. Once that first event has been put into motion, the second one is sure to follow. In relation to disobedience and discipline, the point is certainly understood.
It seems that a greater principle would also flow out of this chapter and these seven rhetorical questions. Events in our life, like trials, hardships, conflicts, suffering, (the list goes on and on), are never for nothing. God, in His sovereign providence, doesn’t waste a thing (or a trial, a season of suffering, pain, hardship, etc.).
The seven questions in Amos 3…
Do two walk together,
unless they have agreed to meet?
Does a lion roar in the forest,
when he has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from his den,
if he has taken nothing?
Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth,
when there is no trap for it?
Does a snare spring up from the ground,
when it has taken nothing?
Is a trumpet blown in a city,
and the people are not afraid?
Does disaster come to a city,
unless the LORD has done it?
Each event is related. Each has a cause-and-effect feel to them. The pairs are inseparably connected to one another. The second doesn’t happen without the first.
Events have causes. Reminds me of the book of Job, sometimes life’s events have causes that are not seen. Reminds me of life, sometimes in hardships we are left in the fog of not being able to comprehend what is behind it all.
The Bible Knowledge Commentary gives a helpful insight to the progression of the seven questions…
“The seven examples of related events began innocuously, but become increasingly foreboding. The first example (Amos 3:3) had no element of force or disaster about it. The next two (v. 4), however, concerned the overpowering of one animal by another, and the two after that (v. 5) pictured man as the vanquisher of animal prey. In the final two examples (v. 6), people themselves were overwhelmed, first by other human instruments, then by God Himself. This ominous progression, to the point where God Himself is seen as the initiator of human calamity, brought Amos to a climactic statement (vv. 7-8).”
And how does Amos apply this?
“For the Lord GOD does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?”
The lion has roared.
Nothing happens out of chance. Everything has a purpose. God is sovereign and he is active in every detail of life, including the hard stuff, the messes, the stuff that we’d rather ignore.
The lion has roared. Fear God.
Lord, give me daily, a healthy respect and sense of awe of who you are and what you are doing! Your acts are always full of mercy and purpose!