What does rejection from God look like? We are told it is hell, that it is the worst thing ever but what is that like? Is there any way we can picture God’s rejection.
In Amos 5:1-3, Amos gives us a haunting account of Israel’s fate under God’s wrath. In it we get a clearer picture of the wrath of God and what rejection from him truly means.
A Virgin in Death
The first image Amos gives us is this:
“Fallen, no more to rise,
is the virgin Israel;
forsaken on her land,
with none to raise her up.”
Amos 5:2 (ESV)
Amos describes Israel as a helpless virgin, fallen on the ground. A virgin in Amos’ day wouldn’t have been very old, probably around 12 years old.
Picture a twelve year old girl who has just been beaten by a fully grown man. She’s lying on the floor. She is helpless. She is unable to do anything to save herself.
It’s the same with Israel in this passage, helpless. She can’t raise herself up, she is utterly decimated. So too for the unbeliever.
But there is no one to rescue her now. Her God, her betrothed, would have come in to rescue her at a moment. But he isn’t there now for she has rejected him.
We don’t realise how utterly dependent we are of God for everything. If we went through God’s wrath without his help we would soon see how much we needed him to raise us up. Rejection means abandonment when we face trials.
A Town Torn Up By War
Amos gives us another picture:
“The city that went out a thousand
shall have a hundred left,
and that which went out a hundred
shall have ten left
to the house of Israel.”
Amos 5:3 (ESV)
This of course happened to Israel. Yet Israel’s rejection is a pattern for the rejection all will experience.
Imagine, a thriving city (in those days) of a thousand young men. They send those men to war and only a hundred return.
Imagine what sorrow would be in those towns. 90% of women are widows, 90% of children are orphans, 90% of mothers have lost a son. Bitter sorrow reigns.
Another picture of utter decimation. God’s wrath is fearful.
What do we do with a passage like this? A few applications:
- See how awful rejection is. Consider for yourself: do you want to face this. If you are a non-Christian, don’t wait to turn from sin come to him now. If you are a Christian, remember it was Israel that fell, those who seemed to be God’s people. Sin is not safe ground for you either
- Yet also realise what Jesus has done. When he said “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” this was what he experienced this dreadful abandonment. He was obliterated by God for your sin and mine. We all deserved his fate, but for those who trust in him he bore our punishment. Praise him for his grace.