Amos 1: Perfect Justice
We made it to Amos 1. We are dropped right into the middle of the action where we have a list of people that are going to punish by God for their sins.
Amo 1:3 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron:
Amo 1:4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad.
Amo 1:5 I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD.
The other locations that are mentioned are Gaza, Tyrus, Edom and Ammon. They all begin with the same prelude regarding three and four transgressions, and God is not turning away the punishment thereof. Obviously, the following verses deviate a little bit regarding what is going to happen or why it’s happening, but the structure is very similar.
This reminds me of the fact that God takes sin very seriously. He has been generous and does not always immediately punish. We can see that from the fact that there were three transgressions already, but the people have reached the boundary where it is time to face the music. Yesterday, I wrote about justice, and I wrote how as humans, we are comforted by the fact that there will be justice.
God, being perfectly just, also executes judgment that we might not be so comfortable with. If you break the law, you pay the price. It is just like our system here in the United States. You do the crime; you do the time. It is perfectly consistent with the just character of God to discipline people for breaking the perfect law.
Some people argue that God should just let everything go. If He was truly loving, He would never punish anyone. However, they forget about this characteristic of God. He certainly is loving, but loving someone does not mean forgetting justice. We confuse our definitions.