Scripture Focus: Amos 9.8-15
8 “Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord 
are on the sinful kingdom. 
I will destroy it 
from the face of the earth. 
Yet I will not totally destroy 
the descendants of Jacob,” 
declares the Lord. 
9 “For I will give the command, 
and I will shake the people of Israel 
among all the nations 
as grain is shaken in a sieve, 
and not a pebble will reach the ground. 
10 All the sinners among my people 
will die by the sword, 
all those who say, 
‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ 
13 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, 
“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman 
and the planter by the one treading grapes. 
New wine will drip from the mountains 
and flow from all the hills, 
14 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. 
15 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.

Reflection: A Hint of Broken Curses
By John Tillman

We get beautiful pictures of God’s restoration in the same books that give us terrifying pictures of God’s judgment.

Amos’s first image was God roaring in anger. His final one is God kneeling in the dirt. The God who destroys wickedness replants and nurtures the righteous with his own hands.

God promises justice that distinguishes between the wicked and the righteous. He says, “None will escape” (Amos 9.1), but he also says, “I will not totally destroy.” (Amos 9.8) God used the picture of a sieve shaking grain at harvest. The grain, the good seed, will be preserved. The husks, chaff, and stones will be removed. This shaken yet saved grain will be lovingly replanted. The righteous will suffer along with the wicked yet be saved from total destruction and preserved for the future.

Amos says that God will replant Israel, but he also says that “all the nations” will be included under David’s restored “tent.” In Acts, James interprets this restored “tent” as the church itself. (Acts 15.13-19) This restoration was already happening in James’ day, yet is not yet complete in ours.

By this point, reading through the prophets, we have seen over and over the pattern of God’s people forsaking him, suffering judgment, returning to him, and being restored. It resembles a “Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer” pattern. Fall harvesters strip the fields. Winter’s plowmen turn under or sometimes burn the stubble. Spring planters sow new crops, and Summer yields an explosion of life.

Amos promises that there will be an end to this pattern. The plowman will come and find the harvest still occurring. The planter will come and find the fields overflowing with wine from good fruit still growing. The curse of the land (Genesis 3.17-19) will be removed. The land will no longer require the toil and sweat of laborers and will no longer produce thorns and thistles. The cultivation of faith and the enjoyment of the fruits of righteousness will continue, never again to be interrupted.

Our lived-out faith should be beautiful to behold—a peek at a better world. A hint at the breaking of a curse.

Let our lives show the evidence of the kingdom to come. May our hearts be transformed into repentant fields that never need plowing. May we produce everlasting harvests of bounty, ever-flowing springs of living water, and bottomless vats of wine of the new and joyous covenant.

Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the house of the Lord. — Psalm 118.26

– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

​Today’s Readings
Amos 9 (Listen 3:08)
Psalm 73 (Listen 2:56)

Read more about The Curse Reversed
Even as he speaks the curse of Eden, God purposes and promises to break it. Scripture describes a God constantly working to reverse the curse

Read more about When God Shakes Our Foundation
When sin is revealed and an organization crumbles, it was God who struck the blow, not an enemy.