‘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. ‘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. All the sinners among my people will die by the sword, all those who say, ‘Disaster will not overtake or meet us.’ ‘In that day, I will restore David’s fallen shelter - I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins - and rebuild it as it should be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,’ declares the Lord, who will do these things. ‘The days are coming’, declares the Lord, ‘when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading the grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, 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. I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them.” says the Lord. - Amos 9:8-15

In this passage, it is easy to look at the first verse and focus on the wrath of God that is coming across (see "I will destroy it from the face of the earth"). However, when God spoke, he followed with a "yet." This means there is a caveat. Somehow, the wrath and justice of God has something preventing everyone from being destroyed. I believe that what is truly on display in this passage is the connection between God's justice and mercy.

With all the destruction that happens in accordance with this passage, God is on display as one who restores. God wants to destroy "the sinful kingdom." I believe God desires this for us on a personal level as well. God wants to rid of us our sin (destroy the thing that destroys us), and rebuild us in those spots that have long been strongholds in our lives.

God is extending his mercy to us so that we don't have to be subject to just one side of God. We can step into the fullness of who God is in accordance to both his justice and mercy. God has plans to rebuild and restore the places in our lives that have been places of destruction for our own lives. Praise God that He offers us freedom from the things that destroy us!

God, I pray that I would turn to you to take away the things in my life that are not from you. Take the strongholds that have been a part of my life for a long time. I want the freedom and mercy you offer so show me how to give myself to what you have for me. Amen.

- Daniel Bailey