Amos 4:12
Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel: and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.
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(12) Thus will I do.—What is he about to do? It is left in awful uncertainty, but the doom is wrapt up in the boundless possibilities of the Divine judgment involved in the drawing very near of the Lord Himself, to execute what He has said and sworn by His Holiness in Amos 4:2-3. All that had previously been done in famine, drought, blighting pestilence, and earthquake, was not final, and had failed in its effect. The summons to meet God in some other unknown form than these is very solemn.

Amos 4:12-13. Therefore thus will I do unto thee — I will continue to send these several judgments upon thee till I entirely destroy thee. And because, or, forasmuch, as I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel — Expect that he will come to take full vengeance upon thee, and consider whether thou art able to contend with him; (so the expression of meeting an adversary is understood, Luke 14:31;) or if that be impossible, endeavour to avert his anger by confession of sin, humiliation, repentance, and reformation, before it actually break out upon thee. For lo, he that formeth the mountains, &c. — For lo, I am he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind — I am the former of all things, both those which are seen, and those which are so fine and subtle as to escape the discernment of man. And declareth unto man what is his thought — Who can search into the very thoughts of man, and declare what they are before they are put into execution, or are expressed in words. That maketh the morning darkness — The Vulgate reads, Forming the morning cloud. Houbigant and Grotius, however, with some others, read, He that maketh the morning, and the darkness, namely, the day and the night, or, as the latter interprets it, gives prosperity to the godly, and adversity to the wicked, as the Chaldee here explains it. And treadeth upon the high places of the earth — That is, says Grotius, Who treadeth under foot the proud: in other words, who can humble the great and mighty, and overthrow the strongest fortresses, or places of strength. The Lord, The God of hosts is his name — Whose sovereign power all creatures obey, and act for or against us as he willeth. Let us humble ourselves before this God, and give all diligence to make him our God. For happy are the people whose God he is, and who have all this power engaged for them! 4:6-13 See the folly of carnal hearts; they wander from one creature to another, seeking for something to satisfy, and labour for that which satisfies not; yet, after all, they will not incline their ear to Him in whom they might find all they can want. Preaching the gospel is as rain, and every thing withers where this rain is wanting. It were well if people were as wise for their souls as they are for their bodies; and, when they have not this rain near, would go and seek it where it is to be had. As the Israelites persisted in rebellion and idolatry, the Lord was coming against them as an adversary. Ere long, we must meet our God in judgment; but we shall not be able to stand before him, if he tries us according to our doings. If we would prepare to meet our God with comfort, at the awful period of his coming, we must now meet him in Christ Jesus, the eternal Son of the Father, who came to save lost sinners. We must seek him while he is to be found.Therefore thus will I do unto thee - God says more by His silence. He had enumerated successive scourges. Now, with His hand uplifted to strike, He mentions none, but says, "thus." Rib.: "So men too, loth to name evils, which they fear and detest, say, "God do so to me, and more also." God using the language of people" Jerome, "having said, 'thus will I do unto thee,' is silent as to what He will do; that so, Israel hanging in suspense, as having before him each sort of punishment (which are the more terrible, because he imagines them one by one), may indeed repent, that God inflict not what He threatens."

Prepare to meet thy God - In judgment, face to face, final to them. All the judgments which had been sent hitherto were but heralds, forerunners of the judgment to come. He Himself was not in them. In them, He passed no sentence upon Israel. They were medicinal, corrective; they were not His final sentence. Now, having tried all ways of recovering them in vain, God summons them before His tribunal. But although the judgment of the ten tribes, as a whole, was final, to individuals there was place for repentance. God never, in this life, bids people or individuals "prepare to meet Him," without a purpose of good to those who do prepare to receive His sentence aright. He saith not then, "come and hear your doom," but "prepare to meet thy God." It has hope in it, to be bidden to "prepare;" yet more, that He whom they were to prepare to meet, was "their God." It must have recurred full often to the mind of the ten tribes during their unrestored captivity of above seven centuries before the Coming of our Lord; a period as long as the whole existence of Rome from its foundation to its decay; as long as our history from our king Stephen until now.

Full oft must they have thought, "we have not met Him yet," and the thought must have dawned upon them; "It is because He willed to "do thus" with us, that He bid us "prepare to meet" Him. He met us not, when He did it. It was then something further on; it is in the Messiah that we arc to meet and to see Him." Jerome: "Prepare to meet thy God," receiving with all eagerness the Lord coming unto thee." So then, is this further sense which lay in a the words , "he (as did Hosea at the end) exhorts the ten tribes, after they had been led captive by the Assyrians, not to despond, but to "prepare to meet their God," that is, to acknowledge and receive Christ their God, when the Gospel should be preached to them by the Apostles." Rib.: "God punisheth, not in cruelty, but in love. He warns then those whom He strikes, to understand what He means by these punishments, not thinking themselves abandoned by God, but, even when they seem most cast away and reprobate, rousing themselves, in the hope of God's mercy through Christ, to call upon God, and "prepare to meet their God." For no one's salvation is so desperate, no one is so stained with every kind of sin, but that God cometh to him by holy inspirations, to bring back the wanderer to Himself. Thou therefore, O Israel, whoever thou art, who didst once serve God, and now servest vilest pleasures, when thou feelest God coming to thee, prepare to meet Him. Open the door of thy heart to that most kind and benevolent Guest, and, when thou hearest His Voice, deafen not thyself: flee not, like Adam. For He seeketh thee, not to judge, but to save thee."

12. Therefore—as all chastisements have failed to make thee "return unto Me."

thus will I do unto thee—as I have threatened (Am 4:2, 3).

prepare to meet thy God—God is about to inflict the last and worst judgment on thee, the extinction of thy nationality; consider then what preparation thou canst make for encountering Him as thy foe (Jer 46:14; Lu 14:31, 32). But as that would be madness to think of (Isa 27:4; Eze 22:14; Heb 10:31), see what can be done towards mitigating the severity of the coming judgment, by penitence (Isa 27:5; 1Co 11:31). This latter exhortation is followed up in Am 5:4, 6, 8, 14, 15.

Therefore, because none of my former methods have succeeded, as in reason might have been expected,

thus will I do unto thee, in some more terrible manner will I now proceed against thee, O Israel; you of the ten tribes.

Because I will do this unto thee, and therefore my last advice to you is to consider it well; if you think well of it, possibly you may see and prevent the threatened evil.

Prepare to meet thy God; if you humble yourselves, and so return, it will be mercy to you; but if you proudly and sinfully refuse to return, know ye that you must perish, for you can never make good your cause against God, and yet you must meet him, for he will ere he hath done with you end the controversy.

Thy God; who once was thy God, and whom thou still ownest for thy God, and who would yet be thine if thou repent. Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel,.... What he would do is not expressly and particularly said; it is commonly understood to be something in a way of judgment, and worse than what he had done, since they had no effect upon them; or these things should be done over again, until an utter end was made of them; or the reference is to Amos 3:11; and the following words are usually interpreted, either, ironically, since the Lord was coming forth as an enemy to issue the controversy with them; they are called upon to meet, him in a hostile way, and muster up all their forces, exert all their power and strength, and make use of their best weapons and military skill, and see what would be the consequence of all this; feeble worms set in opposition to the mighty God; thorns and briers he can easily go through, and burn up quickly: or else they are seriously addressed, and exhorted to meet the Lord in the way of his judgments, by humiliation, repentance, and reformation; not knowing but that after all he may be gracious and merciful to them, and turn away the fierceness of his anger from them; see Amos 5:15; but I rather think the words are a promise or intimation of doing something to Israel in a way of special grace and kindness, notwithstanding their conduct and behaviour, and the ineffectualness both of judgments and providential mercies; for the words may be rendered, as the same particle should be in Hosea 2:14; "notwithstanding", or "nevertheless, thus will I do unto thee" (w); what I have from all eternity purposed and resolved to do, and what I have promised again and again, by the mouth of all the holy prophets, from the beginning of the world, I would do; namely, send my Son to be thy Saviour and Redeemer:

and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel; the Messiah that was then to come was God, and so equal to the work of redemption and salvation he was to do; and the God of spiritual and mystical Israel, even all the elect, Jews and Gentiles, to be redeemed by him; was to be their Immanuel, God in their nature, and therefore to be met with the utmost joy and pleasure; see Zechariah 9:9; for this meeting him is not to be understood in a hostile way, and as spoken ironically to the enemies of Christ to oppose him, encounter with him, and mark the issue of it, who in time would cause them to be brought before him and slain, as some interpret the words; but in a friendly manner, as he was met by those that were waiting for his coming, such as Simeon and others; and by those John the Baptist called upon to prepare the way of the Lord; and as he was by his own disciples, who embraced him by faith, received him with joy, and left all and followed him; and as all such are prepared to meet him who are made truly sensible of sin, and of their own righteousness as insufficient to justify from it, and have seen the glory, fulness, and suitableness of his salvation. Christ is to be met with in his house and ordinances; and men are prepared for it when the desires of their hearts are towards him, and their graces are exercised on him; which preparation is from himself: he will be met at his second coming by his spiritual Israel; and they will be prepared for it who believe it, love it, and long for it; have their loins girt, and their lights burning, and they waiting for their Lord's coming; see Matthew 25:1; and so at the hour of death, which is the day of the Lord; a preparation and readiness for which lies not in external humiliation, outward reformation, a moral righteousness, or a bare profession of religion, and submission to ordinances; but in regeneration, in faith in Christ, and spiritual knowledge of him; in a being washed in his blood, and clothed with his righteousness; for which readiness all truly sensible sinners will be concerned, and which is all from the grace of God; see Matthew 24:43. The Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, read it, "prepare to call upon thy God"; and the Targum paraphrases it,

"to receive the doctrine of the law of thy God;''

rather the doctrine of the Gospel; but the former sense is best; for the confirmation of which it may be observed, that when God is said to do a thing to any, it is usually in a way of grace; and that when preparation is made to meet a divine Person, it is always meant of the Son of God; and that it is a common thing in prophecy, that when the Lord is threatening men with his judgments, to throw in a promise or prophecy of the Messiah, for the comfort of his people.

(w) "nihilominus tamen". Vid. Noldium, p. 507.

Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to {n} meet thy God, O Israel.

(n) Turn to him by repentance.

12. The sentence. All warnings have passed unheeded: no amendment is visible in the people; Jehovah must therefore proceed now to still more extreme measures. What these measures are, however, is not explicitly stated,—in order, doubtless, that Israel, roused to alarm by the prospect of unnamed but not therefore unimaginable evils, may be moved the more effectually to penitence.

Therefore thus will I do unto thee] By thus the prophet points his hearers forwards to the threatened, but unnamed, judgments still impending.

prepare to meet thy God] as He approaches, viz. in judgement. The implication is, prepare thyself to meet Him, so that thou mayest be acquitted; a last chance of amendment is offered to the heedless nation,—or at least to those members of it whom the five-fold chastisement has spared; if they will but avail themselves of it, the Judge may be moved to mercy, and the sentence be mitigated.Verse 12. - Therefore. Because all previous judgments have been in vain, therefore will I send upon them something more terrible still. Thus. God says not how; he leaves the nature of the coming chastisement in mysterious uncertainty, that the very suspense may work fear and repentance. Because I will do this (pointing back to the mysterious "thus" above) unto thee; because I am ready to bring on thee still heavier punishment. Prepare to meet thy God; Septuagint, Ἐτοιμάζου τοῦ ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τὸν Θεόν σου, "Prepare to call upon thy God." Make ready to meet thy God in judgment, turning to him with changed heart, if perchance he may forgive thee and withdraw his heavy hand. Another explanation, derived from Symmachus and adopted by a Lapide, Schegg, and others, "Praeparare ut adverseris Deo tuo" - an ironical encouragement to them to withstand God - deprives the following verse of its suitability to the context. For the prophet would hardly invite them to this contest by expatiating upon God's almightiness. "And I became like a lion to them; as a leopard by the wayside do I lie in wait. Hosea 13:8. I fall upon them as a bear robbed of its young, and tear in pieces the enclosure of their heart, and eat them there like a lioness: the beast of the field will tear them in pieces." The figure of the pasture which made Israel full (Hosea 13:6) is founded upon the comparison of Israel to a flock (cf. Hosea 4:16). The chastisement of the people is therefore represented as the tearing in pieces and devouring of the fattened flock by wild beasts. God appears as a lion, panther, etc., which fall upon them (cf. Hosea 5:14). ואהי does not stand for the future, but is the preterite, giving the consequence of forgetting God. The punishment has already begun, and will still continue; we have therefore from אשׁוּר onwards imperfects or futures. אשׁוּר, from שׁוּר, to look round, hence to lie in wait, as in Jeremiah 5:26. It is not to be changed into 'Asshur, as it is by the lxx and Vulgate. סגור לבּם, the enclosure of their heart, i.e., their breast. Shâm (there) points back to ‛al-derekh (by the way).
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