The Non Desirable ‘Day of the Lord’
A continuation in our series in the book of Amos
The “Day of the Lord” is a phrase used a lot by the prophets, and depicts God’s judgment upon the wicked, and His justice restored. For some in Israel, they saw the “Day of the Lord” as a time God would destroy Israel’s enemies, and they would become more prosperous, but as we have seen, Yahweh is hardly a tribal god, destroying all of the tribes enemies, and keeping them safe. God is first and foremost about His glory, and will judge any person or nation that chooses to rebel against Him. He has that right, as the creator and God of the universe. His perfect justice will prevail. The “Day of the Lord” in God’s economy is a brutal day of judgment for ALL. Thus Amos is warning them that ‘you don’t want what you think you want,’ because the angel of death that destroy your enemies, is at your own door. In this passage, Amos shows us (As do the Gospels and the Prophets), God hates religion and those that hypocritically say one thing with their words, but quite another thing with their actions. So often we see hypocrites as those doing outward acts of sexual perversion or debauchery, but the scriptures highlight those that oppress the poor in far more places. God desires justice and righteousness, and deplores those that exploit the poor in the name of their country and their God. It hurts the name of Yahweh, and that’s why there will be the “Day of the Lord.” This ultimately happened when Christ came. Judgment, and thus God’s justice was placed on Jesus, where all His wrath against oppression and sin came down on His back for our sake. Justice was restored. God has given us a gracious way to forgo this judgment, but unfortunately many, in their pride, will not turn to Christ for the forgiveness of their sins, but will incur the perfect, righteous justice of God on themselves. Justice will prevail one way or another. On Jesus, or on ourselves, based on our works, which fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).
- Why is religious hypocrisy so damaging?
- In what way(s) is it easy to forget about the poor and contribute to their problem?
- How relevant is this topic in our day and age?
- How can we become a church that is different than what is described here?
The “Day of the Lord” In Amos
The phrase the “Day of the Lord” or some of its close relatives “in that day” or “that day” are used both in the Old and New Testaments. The phrase almost always carries with it the idea of judgment. The earliest use is found here in the book of Amos 5:18-20, “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light, as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?” and clearly appears to be prophesying judgment against Israel.
There are some that believe that these “Theophanies” (God manifesting Himself) point to God’s protection over Israel, but it seems clear that there are also verses that show the opposite (See Micah 1:2-4; Nahum 1:3-5). This of course is in line with Amos 1:2, which serves as a solid summary verse for Amos. We see this in other prophets as well (See Isaiah 2:12ff; 13:6, 9; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Obad 15; Zephaniah 1:7, 14; Zechariah 14:1). All of these refer to God’s judgment against sin and wickedness.
In Malachi 4:5b we see that the “Day of the Lord” referring to Christ’s coming who will bring justice to Israel (It appears this refers to His 1st coming, which meant that the judgment in that day would be placed on His back). But much of the references (Including the “Day of Jesus Christ) in the New Testament appear to refer to Jesus’ second coming, and it too seems to refer to Christ’s judgment (See 1 Corinthians 1:8; 5:5; Philippians 1:6, 10; 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2f; 2 Peter 3:10-12).
In the end, the references to the “Day of the Lord” or its like phrases mostly refer to the judgment of God and the re-righting of justice in the world. Again, we see God doing something about injustices, but we really aren’t too thrilled with His own judgment. The “Day of the Lord” is God pushing the reset button and making things right again! And He is doing so with perfect justice and perfect actions and solutions, because He is God and is capable of exacting perfect justice in this universe; His creation.