Word for the Week
Short reflections on Bible passages, with a frontline focus...
In that day
I will restore David’s fallen shelter –
‘The days are coming,’ declares the LORD,
‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the ploughman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
‘They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,’
says the LORD your God.
What does hope look like?
Maybe it looks like plane tickets booked to see family. Maybe it’s two lines on a pregnancy test, or one line on a lateral flow test. Maybe hope looks like a clear scan after years of health issues. Maybe hope looks faint for you right now… but you’re clinging onto it nonetheless.
After nine chapters of relentless judgement and warnings and powerful imagery of destruction, Amos takes a breath and finally begins to speak of hope.
Restoration. Reparation. Return. Reestablishment.
In the verses before today’s passage, Amos has explored how God keeps his promises of judgement, how he is inescapable and mighty, and the ultimate downfall of false pride and fallacious prejudice. Through this, we realise that hope is not something which exists alone, rootless and unfounded. Instead, authentic hope comes from God and God alone – based solely on his nature and his promises.
Encased within these verses are five promises – rebuilding, repossession, the land’s prosperity, the captives’ return, and the reestablishment of the covenant between the Lord and his chosen people.
Through Amos, we see that God keeps to his promises of judgement, and so we can be certain that he will keep to his promises of restoration as well. For the ‘remnant’, the few who repent and turn back to the Lord, there is the fulfilment of a promise.
Hope is at hand for those who take God at his word.
The same is true for us today. In our journey through Amos, we have reflected on the weight of God’s righteous judgement, and the fact that with great power comes great responsibility. We have considered the place of justice in our worship, and the lethal nature of pride.
Today, in front of a just and holy God, we consider his faithfulness to his word. For it is in Jesus Christ – God incarnate – that we meet authentic hope. Founded in God’s nature and his promises, Jesus establishes the righteousness with God we could never truly earn through his death on the cross. He alone is our righteousness. He alone is our hope.
So, what does hope look like in our everyday, ordinary lives?
It looks like trusting in God’s character and promises, even if things feel bleak right now. It looks like truth-telling, peace-making, and community-building… even when it comes at a cost. We can do all these things and more because we know that future restoration is coming, and God will be faithful to the very end.
Alianore is an Associate Speaker for LICC and Church & Theology Executive at International Justice Mission
How can you point to God’s future restoration and live hopefully on your frontline this week? Join the conversation in the comments below.