This program is a rebroadcast from September 28, 2019.
God’s Message of Hope for Israel
This week we’re concluding our series on the book of Amos. Learning about true justice, biblical justice, gives us a glimpse into what is close to God’s heart. The prophet Amos was called to shine a light on God’s imminent judgment that was coming for Israel. There was an abuse of power and oppression of the poor. Sometimes it feels like justice is never fully realized. But we know that we can look at Old Testament books such as Amos and see God’s justice and also His faithfulness.
Like many of the prophets, Amos doesn’t leave Israel in a state of hopelessness. He leaves them with the hope of restoration. That restoration did not happen right away for Israel; in fact, they are still waiting for the complete fulfillment! Listen for more!
If you missed the first 3 parts of this series, you can listen now on our archives page!
Steve Conover: Thank you for joining us for The Friends of Israel Today. I’m Steve Conover and with me is Chris Katulka. Chris, we selected a favorite past episode to air this week.
Chris Katulka: Yeah, you know with everything that’s going on in the news today about injustice and the abuse of power. You know whichever side you take on the issue, the one thing that we can’t escape is that justice does matter to God. The prophets not only cast a prophetic vision for Israel and the future, they also judged Israel for their lack of justice in the land. This series on Amos is vital I believe today because when you boil it down, the abuse of justice is really a spiritual issue. I hope this series enables you to cut through the noise. It’s loud noise out there, but I hope it enables you to cut through the noise that reveals the truth of what God’s Word teaches about justice. Because friends, justice does matter for Christians.
Steve Conover: We’re glad you’re with us. We hope you enjoy today’s program.
Steve Conover: This is The Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover and with me is Chris Katulka. We're concluding our series in Amos, and Amos was a prophet who desired to reestablish biblical justice in Israel.
Chris Katulka: And Amos wanted to reestablish biblical justice because Israel had gone astray. They became wealthy, and in their wealthy-ness they've left God, and by leaving God they became complacent when other people were being abused, their own people. And this is the reason God is going to judge Israel. But here's the thing, it's judgment, judgment, judgment. It can almost seem like God, what's going on here? But then all of a sudden at the very end of chapter nine, which we're going to talk about today, God leaves Israel with a message of hope.
Steve Conover: Stay with us for that. In the news, an ancient seal bearing a Hebrew name was uncovered in Jerusalem at the foundations of the Western wall. The seal bears the name and title of the most prominent position in the courts of the Kings of Judah and Israel, Adoniyahu, Royal Steward, the one over the King's house. This seal dates back 2,600 years.
Chris Katulka: Steve, these seals are amazing. I call them the business cards of the ancient world because they had the title of the person on there, the name, and they would use these bullas, they're called seals, to stamp on letters so that people would know where the letter came from and they're finding some amazing seals. We have Adoniyahu's here who was really the person that oversaw the house of the King, which is amazing. They found Isaiah's seal, of King seals, other people that have prominent positions in the ancient Kings of Israel and Judah's seals.
It's amazing what they're finding. But let me share with you what Daron Spielman, vice president of the City of David Foundation says, and the City of David operates the site where the seal was discovered and he says this about this find, which I think sums it up perfectly. He says this, “this tiny bulla or the seal has immense meaning for billions of people worldwide. The personal signet of a senior official to a biblical King from the first temple period. This is another link in the long chain of Jewish history in Jerusalem that is being uncovered and preserved at the city of David on a daily basis.” I couldn't have said it better myself.
Okay. We are concluding our series on Amos today and for the past few weeks we've been studying the reason why God called Amos, a very talented shepherd from Tekoa. And Amos was called to bring to light God's imminent judgment that was coming on Israel for the way the elite, the wealthy, the powerful were abusing their very own people. Wealthy Israelites were unjustly abusing the poor Israelites for their own bottom line, for their own personal pleasure.
And for the past few weeks, we have looked at the issue of the neglect of upholding biblical justice in the land of Israel. And it was certainly against the law of God to abuse others for one's own gain. And this is exactly what the elite and powerful Israelites were doing. Judgment was coming to Israel. Their unjust acts will be met with God's justice. And sometimes I think it's easy to look at our world and we think the same thing that was thought thousands of years ago that we see in the Psalms, which says this, in Psalm 73, 1-3, it says, "Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled. My steps had nearly slipped for I was nervous of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.'
Sometimes it feels as though justice is never fully realized. I believe America has one of the best justice systems the world has ever seen. But in truth, even the wicked prosper under our justice system. That's why God's justice is so important. And what Amos shows us is that God's justice will rule the day. God's justice will prevail. The wicked won't always prosper. There's a day coming when all the wrongs of this world will meet God's justice. And let me tell you something. That is the reason it's so important to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. It's important for everyone because the justice that you deserve, the justice that I deserve, is judgment from on high.
This is the reason God sent his son Jesus Christ, so that when God does bring this justice to earth, the wrath that was determined for you and me was ultimately poured out on Jesus Christ at the cross. And in Christ Jesus.... Think about this, you and I, in Christ Jesus, we stand blameless and innocent before a Holy God. And in this way, God becomes both the just and the justifier. Why? Because justice matters. And listen, it didn't sound good for Israel by the end of Amos. God's anger was palpable. Just listen to what he says here. It says, "Behold the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom." And I will destroy it from the surface of the ground. Why? Because Israel forgot God's commandments, they became wealthy and self-sufficient, and their leaders became less dependent on God's strength and more dependent on their own strength.
So they lost focus of God and they lost focus of the true source of biblical justice. Then according to Amos, in their forgetfulness and their self-sufficiency, Israel became boastful. They became boastfully complacent as the wealthy and powerful and elite of Israel abuse those Israelites who couldn't help themselves. And in their boastful complacency they flaunted, they paraded their luxurious lifestyle. Forgetting to give their best to God, they gave their best to themselves at the expense of others.
And can I tell you something? God had enough. And even though he gave them opportunity after opportunity to repent and turn back to him, Israel continued on in their luxurious lifestyle, just living the life they wanted to, honoring God the way they wanted to honor God. But let me tell you something about the prophets. The prophet's message was never just judgment, judgment, judgment. Even in the midst of Israel's sin, in their shame and their disgust, God's justice will be enacted, but God's faithfulness will always remain firm.
Just listen to how the prophet Amos ends his ministry to Israel. Listen to what the Lord says. I love this. Throughout nine chapters, the Lord is letting Israel know where they went astray, what they were doing, the litany of things that they were doing wrong, and how judgment is coming. And then at the very end, the last few verses, this is what the Lord says, "In that day, I will rebuild the collapsing hut of David. I will seal its gaps, repair its ruins, and restore it to what it was like in days gone by. As a result, they will conquer those left in Edom and all the nations subject to my rule." The Lord, who was about to do this, is speaking. "Be sure of this, the time is coming,'' says the Lord.
"When the plowman will catch up to the reaper and the one who stomps the grapes will overtake the planter. Juice will run down the slopes. It will flow down all the hillsides. I will bring..." Listen to this, I love this. "I will bring back my people, Israel, they will rebuild the city's lying in rubble and settle down. They will plant vineyards and drink the wine they produce. They will grow orchards and eat the fruit they produce. I will plant them on their own land and they will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them," says the Lord, your God.
God's faithfulness shines through here at the end of Amos, Israel doesn't deserve God's grace. They abused God's law. They trampled on God's grace to them, but it's God's faithfulness to his people that shines through. God is going to restore Israel despite their sin and shame, and there's a lot happening here. First, check it out. Israel was divided. Remember after King Solomon, Israel split in two. There was a kingdom to the North, that's primarily who Amos is ministering to, the Northern 10 tribes of Israel. And then you had the kingdom to the South, Judah where Jerusalem was.
And notice what Amos says here, "There will be a day when God will restore, rebuild, resurrect the collapsing hut of David. He will seal its gaps, repair its ruins, restore to what it was like in days gone by." This means that God is going to rebuild and restore David's throne. The throne that rules over Israel won't be in Samaria where the throne, where the Northern 10 tribes was. It will be in Jerusalem and God will restore the line of David to the way it was in the past. And when this happens, as a result, it says that they will conquer those left in Edom and all the nations subject to my rule, the Lord who is about to do this, is speaking.
This means that, through the restoration of David's throne, when the son of David sits on it, blessing will come to all the nations. Those who were once enemies of Israel will now come to bless Israel and honor Israel, as was intended in the very beginning. See, it's hard for God to use Israel when they're divided and split. God still wants to fulfill Israel's purpose. Listen to what verses 14 and 15 says, "I will bring my people back. Israel will rebuild the cities lying in rubble and settle down." Verse 15, "I will plant them on their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them." Which means that God's not going to enact judgment on them anymore, even after God's justice and judgment is enacted, God's faithfulness promises to restore them to the land, to rebuild those cities, and those orchards, and those vineyards.
God says, "I'm going to plant them on their own land." And here's what's amazing. God is not only saying that he's going to restore his people to the land, but that he's going to reunite the Northern Kingdom and the Southern Kingdom. Israel will be ruled by one King, a King from the line of David. And think about it, God used Amos to minister to a divided kingdom, to let Israel and Judah know that judgment is coming, but God also uses Amos to announce to a divided kingdom that God's intentions aren't for them to remain divided forever, but instead to be unified. God's mission for Israel isn't connected to their division. It's connected to their unification under one King.
And when we come back, we're going to look at, first, why God would remain faithful to Israel. And then second, who is that King Amos envisioned who would unify the broken nation of Israel? Stick around.
Steve Conover: The minor prophets are a treasure trove of practical truths and timeless messages that speak to the human condition. During the eighth century BC, Hosea, Amos and Micah warned that the Jewish people's rejection of God would surely bring his judgment. In this book, The Ruin and Restoration of Israel, David Levy paints a moving picture of God's deep love for his people and the hope of their restoration as he walks through the minor prophets, Hosea, Amos and Micah.
To order your copy of The Ruin and Restoration of Israel by David Levy, visit us at foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org. We'll have the link on our homepage, or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940 and someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343-6940. To order in Canada, call (888) 664-2584. Again, in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: Welcome back, everyone. We're talking about the other side of the prophets. For the past three weeks, we've been looking at the justice and judgment side of the prophet Amos, but there is often another side to the prophets. It's not all doom and gloom. The prophet Amos, like many of the prophets of the Old Testament would end on a note of hope. A hope of restoration, or a hope that God's not through with his people, Israel. God promised, even in the middle of their sin, to restore them to the land.
But why? Well, why would God do this? Let's be honest. Israel doesn't deserve to be restored. Israel doesn't deserve the extra grace that God is pouring out to them. Why is God so faithful? Well, it all goes back to that promise that God made to Abraham. In Genesis, chapter 12 and Genesis chapter 15, God made a promise with Abraham that he would give him the land of Israel and his descendants that the land he promised him in Genesis chapter 12 is one that was ultimately given to him in a promise, a covenant that was cut in Genesis 15 and as God was making in cutting that covenant with Abraham, you know what happened to Abraham?
That patriarch fell asleep, just as God wanted it. Abraham would receive the blessing of the covenant, but only God's name would be connected to the promise. See, if Abraham's name was written on that promise, I can promise you this one thing. Abraham would have broken it in a moment. Why? Because he's human and humans aren't perfect, and humans have ways of breaking the things that are Holy. Humans have ways of, in their sinful nature, ruining things. And God knew. If I put in Abraham's name on this promise, it's all done. It's ruined. It's the same reason in Ezekiel chapter 36, another prophet. God says that he's going to restore Israel to the land. Why? Because of his Holy name, because it's his Holy reputation on the line. If God doesn't return Israel to the land, just as Amos said he would in chapter nine, then God is a liar and that would contradict the nature and character of God.
Just listen to what Ezekiel chapter 36 says here, it's fascinating because he's going to connect Israel, returning the people to the land, to his Holy name. Listen to this. God says, "I was concerned for my Holy reputation, which the house of Israel profaned among the nations where they went. Therefore say to the house of Israel, this is what the sovereign Lord says; “It is not for your sake that I'm about to act, O house of Israel, but for the sake of my Holy reputation, in the Hebrew Holy name, which you profaned among the nations where you went. I will magnify my great name that has been profaned among the nations, that you have profaned among them. The nations will know that I am the Lord," declares the sovereign Lord, "when I magnify myself among you in their sight. I will take you from the nations, Israel and gather you from all the countries and then I will bring you to your land.”
“I'm going to sprinkle you with pure water and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my spirit within you when I take the initiative and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. Then you will live in the land I gave your fathers. You will be my people and I will be your God and I will save you from all of your uncleanliness." God is going to restore Israel to the land because of his Holy reputation. It's his Holy name on the line, and because God is just, and when God makes an oath, it's going to be a promise that he's going to keep and see through.
But let's talk about this too. Who is the King that Amos envisioned? Who's going to restore the hut, as it says, of David and unify the nation of Israel? Well, who's the son of David? It goes way back to Matthew chapter one. Jesus, the son of Abraham, the son of David. Jesus, the King of Israel will unify the tribes and be used as the King of Israel, as the hope of Israel, as Paul calls him. This is the beauty of Amos, everybody. In the midst of the sin and the shame of his people, God is going to restore them because of his faithfulness.
I don't know where you are in your life right now. I don't know the issues that you're dealing with. I don't know the heart issues that you have. As you're going through this series that we've been looking at with Amos, I don't know what personally is touching you, but let me make you this promise. God is calling you back to him and he's giving us the opportunity through hope to know him through Jesus, the Messiah, the King of Israel. He's the one who restores us and makes us right and who is our just and justifier at the same time. Lord, thank you. And it's in his name we pray. Amen.
Steve Conover: Israel, on the verge of becoming a state, a teenaged Holocaust survivor arrives on her shores alone. His name is Zvi Kalisher. Little did he know his search for a new life in the Holy land would lead him to the Messiah. Zvi, enthusiastic to share his faith, engaged others in spiritual conversations, many of which can be found in our magazine, Israel My Glory. While Zvi is now in the presence of his Savior, his collected writings from well over 50 years of ministry, continue to encourage believers worldwide. Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life of Zvi.
Mike Kellogg: A new law was recently passed in Israel saying Hebrew Christians must now be called simply “Christians.” Some of my so-called friends asked, "What are you doing in Israel?" You're not a Jew now, but a Christian. I told them I was born a Jew, and I'm living in the promised land. But I did not become a good Jew until I received the Lord Jesus as my Savior. It is not enough to call yourself a Jew. You must follow in his steps. "In who's steps," they asked. I replied, "In the steps of the Lord. He does not say this one is a Jew and this one is a Christian. This one is rich and this one is poor. All those who belong to him belong to one family, the family of God." I explained that although they have more earthly property than I, my family is happier than they.
Then one man said, "I want to show you what I have done." Although he looked sad, he did not understand how I could be happier than he with all his possessions, so he invited me to his home. He had a very large house, but his two sons look just as sad as he, everything seemed so empty. He finally asked, "What do you think of my house? “It is nice, but you are poor," I replied. He could not believe his ears. "How can you say that?", he asked. I told him, "Because you have no happiness in your home, therefore you really have nothing at all." "Do you think you have more?", he demanded. Oh yes, because I have the Lord in my heart, and in Him I have great possessions. "You speak like a crazy man," he told me. I then asked, "Do you have time to come to my home? Of course I do not have the nice things you have but the light of the Lord is there."
He and his two sons then accompanied me to my home. My children played music and sang for them and my wife, Naomi, provided fine hospitality. He remarked, "Now I see what you mean. But how can you be so happy?" Because it is written, whoever trusts in the Lord happy is he. "I want that," he said, "but we are Jewish and you're Christians". I told him, "Who we are makes no difference. The important thing is that we have one God and one law. You can read the Bible for yourself and learn of the one about whom it is written."
By this time his boys said they wanted to stay with us and he could see how happy they were. He confided, "I'm ashamed to say this, but I'm jealous of you. I now know that I am poor and you are rich. I am ready to give everything to be as happy as you." I told him such happiness can be yours right now and you can tell your family, you have put your trust in the Lord. It is written. “Come. Take up the cross and follow me.” Everyone who chooses to follow him is happy.
"How did you come to believe in him?" he asked. I was delighted to share my testimony. And then he said, "I want to be happy like you, but I do not have the courage." “Just open your heart to him. I will leave you alone for a while to think.” And when I came back he was smiling. The light had come to him and given him true happiness.
Steve Conover: A reminder, if you have not yet subscribed to Israel My Glory, that you can get a full year of our magazine at no cost. Visit foiradio.org. Again, visit foiradio.org.
Chris Katulka: Listen, The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry has been sharing the love of the Messiah and supporting Israel and the Jewish people since 1938, and so if you feel led to support our work, or you simply want to reach out to us, visit foiradio.org. That's foiradio.org.
In the United States, you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940. Again, that's (888) 343-6940. You can also write to us at FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio, PO Box 914, Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. For our Canadian listeners, you can contact the Canadian office at (888) 664-2584. That's (888) 664-2584. Let us know where you're listening when you call or write.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione, co-written by Sarah Fern, engineered by Bob Beebe. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide Christian ministry, communicating biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while fostering solidarity with the Jewish people.
The Ruin and Restoration of Israel
Apples of Gold: How Can You Be So Happy?
After Israel passed a new law saying that all Hebrew-Christians were to just be called Christians, Zvi’s public identity changed. People questioned him about his faith often. As one man bragged about all his possessions, Zvi changed his perspective. Zvi found happiness through trusting the Lord, Who had provided him with a happy home and family. This man had never known what he had been missing until then. Hear how Zvi taught the man about the true wealth that is found in the joy of the Lord.
Zvi’s story is available in Elwood McQuaid’s book, “Zvi: The Miraculous Story of Triumph over the Holocaust,” available at our online store.
More stories from Zvi are also available in his book, “The Best of Zvi,” available at our online store.
We here at The Friends of Israel Today consider it a blessing to be able to share with you, our listening friends, biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah, and it’s only possible because of you!
Your gifts help us reach people all around the globe with our message of truth to bless the Jewish people. If the Lord leads you and you believe Christians need to hear the truth about Israel and the Jewish people, we ask that you prayerfully consider a gift so we can continue to bring these truths to you and others as well. Any amount is a blessing to our program and we are so thankful for your support.
The Friends of Israel Today and Apples of Gold theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.