Forgiveness is Revealed in Actions

“Forgiveness is Revealed in Actions”
Amos 7:1-9
Conformity to God’s character and commandments shows true forgiveness.
1) Sin Brings Destruction
2) Forgiveness Shows Life
Sin Brings Destruction
Amos 7:1-6
1 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late
crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings. 2 And so it was, when they had finished
eating the grass of the land, that I said:
“O Lord God, forgive, I pray!
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!”
3 So the Lord relented concerning this.
“It shall not be,” said the Lord.
4 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire, and it consumed the
great deep and devoured the territory. 5 Then I said:
“O Lord God, cease, I pray!
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!”
6 So the Lord relented concerning this.
“This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.
There are two visions in verses one through six that God shows to Amos about His plans of
destruction for Israel. The first is the vision of the locust. The king took the first cutting of hay as a tax
upon the people, leaving the people to eat from the second or late cutting of the crops. The devastation
the locusts would have caused on the harvest would have left the people with no food for their families.
They would have been destroyed by the discipline of God if this was allowed to be done.
Amos’ plea to God on behalf of the people was what the prophet was supposed to do. Prophets
delivered messages from God, but also in many ways were to act for God on behalf of the people. In this
case, Amos pleads for the people by asking God to forgive them. The Lord answered Amos’ plea on behalf
of the people and relented. Forgive and Relent are the two words that we need to understand in order to
grasp what took place between God and His prophet.
The word translated forgive in verse two is the Hebrew word sâlach which carries the meaning of
forgive, pardon, and spare. Amos understands there is no way for Israel to survive if the Lord would bring
this judgment upon His people. The prophet’s cry is to save the people of God from destruction in the

same way Moses often stood before God on behalf of the exiles who came out of Egypt. They certainly
had deserved whatever judgment the Lord had planned for them, but those God called to be prophets
among His people were often torn between love and concern for the people’s well-being and broken heart
over the disgrace the people were bringing upon the name of God. Amos knew the only way for the people
to be spared is if God forgave them and pardoned their sinful behavior; yet he was fully aware of God’s
justice. In response to Amos’ cry of forgiveness, God relented and did not bring this judgment upon the
The translation of relented in verse three is nâcham which means sigh, be sorry, pity, console, and
repent. In many of the translations and versions of the Bible, except for a few like here in the New King
James and the Holman Christian Standard Bible, this Hebrew word is translated repented. This is true to
the accuracy of the word, but it does not do justice to the character of God. The Lord never has and never
will need to repent of anything. It is not wrong or some kind of mistake for this word to be translated in
this way at all, for it is remaining true to the meaning of the word and what God had decided. The Lord
did not bring the judgment of the locust on the people which He had shown to Amos in the vision.
God was showing Amos what the people deserved. The Lord had every right to bring destruction
on Israel as He had destroyed the people of Canaan whose land they were now living in had suffered. The
connotation of God repenting in the mind of people makes it sound like God in some way had sinned.
The Lord has said about Himself, “19 God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should
repent. Has He said, and will He not do? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?” (Numbers 23:19,
NKJV). It also must be remembered that God does not change His mind either, “17 Every good gift and
every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation
or shadow of turning” (James 1:17, NKJV).
God did turn away from what He had showed to Amos in the vision of what He was going to do.
The Lord did repent as the word is defined, but at no time was God wrong or sinful in His judgment to
bring this upon His people since it is what their sin deserved. God displays His mercy and grace in
choosing not to bring the destruction upon His people, but also wanted the people to know through the
Prophet Amos that it was in His right to bring it upon them.
The idea of God changing His mind is to make the Lord equal with mankind. Making God “more
human” in the Old Testament is to distort His holiness and righteousness. Even in the Incarnation when,
“…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory…” God remained completely God
without doing injury to His nature as He became flesh in order to be the perfect sacrifice to satisfy His
judgment upon sin (John 1:14, NKJV). This balance of Jesus being completely human and completely
divine in the same exact time is beyond the ability of human logic and only possible in the miraculous
power of God. We accept it because it is true and forgiveness is null and void if Jesus was less than who
He was: fully God and fully Man.
In this first vision, God is destroying the people and causing them to suffer. The judgment is upon
them personally to bring about their physical death. In the second vision, God is bringing destruction
upon the land and all their possession. This would leave them destitute and homeless, but alive.
The second vision Amos received called for conflict. The way in which God could have also chosen
to deal with His people is through fire in order to destroy all they had. This would “…consume the great

deep and devour the territory” (Amos 7:4, NKJV).
God could have taken away from the people all they had and left them alive as well. In Amos’
response to God in view of this devastation he cried out, “…O Lord God, cease, I pray!…” (Amos 7:5, NKJV).
In both of these responses, Amos’ reasoning is the same, “…Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!…”
(Amos 7:3, 5, NKJV). Israel and Judah were both small in comparison to the nations who surrounded
them as is still the case even in the twenty-first century. The standing which Amos is speaking of here is
being the representation of God among the nations. Amos’ reasoning was out of love for the people, but
more so out of longing to see that God was honored among the nations. Moses had the same concern
when confronting God on behalf of the lives of the people.
“9 And the Lord said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! 10 Now
therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will
make of you a great nation.”
11 Then Moses pleaded with the Lord his God, and said: “Lord, why does Your wrath burn hot against
Your people whom You have brought out of the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand? 12
Why should the Egyptians speak, and say, ‘He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the
mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth’? Turn from Your fierce wrath, and relent from
this harm to Your people. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore by
Your own self, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven; and all this land
that I have spoken of I give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ ” 14 So the Lord relented
from the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:9-14, NKJV).
Moses’ plea for the people was concern for the people and also for the reputation of God in the
eyes of the nation. The prophets of God were always torn between understanding what the people
deserved in their judgment before God in their sin and their desire to see the name of the Lord lifted up
and honored among the nations of the world. In many ways, all leaders in the body of Christ whether
they be apostles, pastors, teachers, elders, or deacons will struggle with this heartache caused by the sin
of God’s people and the longing to see the name of God honored throughout creation.
The leader in the body of Christ who does not hold this tension will find themselves becoming
increasingly antagonistic towards the bride of Christ and lacking compassion towards those who are
struggling in their faith. The leader who loses sight of the reality of God’s holiness and righteousness will
make God so human that He becomes unstable in all He does by changing His mind and being ashamed
for the things He allows to come into the lives of people. Both of these positions are wrong and must be
repented of by the leader in order to represent God properly.
Sin is always destructive. It destroys lives and property alike. There is no way of escaping the
judgment of God, unless the Lord provides forgiveness of the sin. Forgiveness is something that is
acquired only through the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22). This is seen in the Garden of Eden
immediately following mankind’s rebellion against God when God made them clothes from the skin of
an animal and the first offering that was recorded being presented to God (Genesis 3:21, 4:3-5).
Therefore, forgiveness is revealed in the actions of people in what they do and how they present
themselves before the Lord. If the blood of Christ is not what makes us acceptable in the eyes of God, a
person is believing in salvation that is empty and powerless to save them from the destruction that God

is bringing upon the world due to sin. It is only in Christ that a person can ever be forgiven. Receiving
forgiveness changes a person visibly so that all who see them will be able to tell there is something
different about them. It is why Apostle Peter instructed all believers, “15 But sanctify the Lord God in your
hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you,
with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15, NKJV).
Forgiveness Shows Life
Amos 7:7-9
7 Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb
line in His hand. 8 And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”
And I said, “A plumb line.”
Then the Lord said:
“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
In the midst of My people Israel;
I will not pass by them anymore.
9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!”
The final vision God revealed to Amos was that of a plumb line. This weighed object at the end of
a string is the standard used in construction to see if something is perpendicular. Whatever the plumb
line is placed beside will quickly be revealed as true or out of alignment at a simple glance. God asked
Amos to identify what he saw, and then God explained His plan which would not be changed regardless
of the plea of the Lord’s prophet.
The plumb line was going to be placed among the people of God which would reveal the sin which
was causing their destruction. The sin of Israel was known by all but never talked about publicly by
anyone. It was the hidden sin of the idol worship taking place on the hills surrounding their towns and
cities and the pagan sanctuaries which were overlooked in the community. The people’s behavior gave
testimony to the rebellion and spiritual prostitution they engaged in daily.
Amos could not respond in a way that could be interpreted that he was appalled at what God was
planning to do. Those who were innocent had nothing to fear since they would not be overcome by the
widespread devastation. Those who were guilty would be overcome by the judgment of God due to their
sin of idolatry. The land would not suffer punishment for the people’s rebellion either. The mercy of the
Lord is revealed in the plumb line vision much in the same way God allowed Abraham to intercede for
the righteous who possibly lived in the towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.
21 I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it
that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.”

22 Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom, but Abraham still stood before the
Lord. 23 And Abraham came near and said, “Would You also destroy the righteous with the wicked? 24
Suppose there were fifty righteous within the city; would You also destroy the place and not spare it for the
fifty righteous that were in it? 25 Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the
wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth
do right?”
26 So the Lord said, “If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for
their sakes.”…32 Then he said, “Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose ten should
be found there?”
And He said, “I will not destroy it for the sake of ten.” (Genesis 18:21-26, 32, NKJV)
The great sin of Sodom and Gomorrah was more than the horrible sexual sin, but something much
worse in God’s eyes which brought their destruction. “49 Look, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom:
She and her daughter had pride, fullness of food, and abundance of idleness; neither did she strengthen the
hand of the poor and needy. 50 And they were haughty and committed abomination before Me; therefore, I
took them away as I saw fit” (Ezekiel 16:49-50, NKJV). The behavior of the people in Israel was not
displaying the evidence of a people who worshiped the Lord. Their actions revealed their sinful lusts,
selfishness, and lack of submission to the commandments of God.
Those who have received forgiveness from God acknowledge His will, law, and ways are better
than their own. The one who understands this will rid their lives of sin by admission, confession, and
repentance. Those who were in Israel reflected the sins committed by the same nations God drove out of
the land in order for them to possess it. The Lord even warned His people that if they did what was done
by the inhabitants of the land, He would also expel them as He did the nations of Canaan. God’s
proclamations were given to the Israelites before they even entered the Promised Land,
“24 ‘Do not defile yourselves with any of these things; for by all these the nations are defiled, which I
am casting out before you. 25 For the land is defiled; therefore, I visit the punishment of its iniquity upon it,
and the land vomits out its inhabitants. 26 You shall therefore keep My statutes and My judgments, and
shall not commit any of these abominations, either any of your own nation or any stranger who dwells
among you 27 (for all these abominations the men of the land have done, who were before you, and thus the
land is defiled), 28 lest the land vomit you out also when you defile it, as it vomited out the nations that were
before you. 29 For whoever commits any of these abominations, the persons who commit them shall be cut
off from among their people” (Leviticus 18:24-29, NKJV).
There is no way a person can proclaim forgiveness and allow any sin in their lives to go
unchallenged. The actions of those who have accepted the forgiveness Christ offers through His shed
blood reflects the character of God as a new creation in Christ rather than their old nature of sin. Paul
explained to the Corinthian believers, “16 Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh.
Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer. 17 Therefore,
if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become” (2
Corinthians 5:16-17).
God revealed to Amos the reality of the standard of living He demands through the

commandments, laws, statutes, and precepts that He has given to the people to follow and pass on to
future generations. The plumb line does not change, neither does the laws and commandments of God.
God’s justice must be satisfied since it cannot be amended or changed. Sin will bring about the
destruction of people and all of creation if it is not satisfied. Christ is the propitiation (satisfaction of
God’s judgment against sin). The one who is forgiven does not view sin any longer as something that can
be lived with at all. There is no compromise that can be struck in order to coexist with sin. Sin is revealed
and known as a deadly thing.
Only as a person finds forgiveness in the shed blood of Christ can they recognize the plumb line
God is holding out to all mankind in Christ. As we lift Christ up in our lives the differences between our
behavior and the life of Christ are clearly seen. Those things showing a person to be out of sync with God
and His commandments require a decision to be made. A person can either submit, confess, and repent
of our errors, or be destroyed by the sin they refuse to acknowledge if they reject Christ’s forgiveness.
Those who are children of God who have been knocked down by sin’s seduction will be hounded and
made miserable by God until they confess and repent of their sins.
Those who have received forgiveness in Christ have no need for any other mediator than Christ
Himself. It is Christ who sits on the right hand of the Father making intercession for His people. Paul
proclaimed this in his letter to the Roman believers,
“34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the
right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written:
“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
37 Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am
persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things
to come, 39 nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of
God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:34-39, NKJV).
Those who realize they are no longer in fear of judgment from God but residing in His blessing in
Christ have the ability to replace the fear of their hearts with the joy of the Lord; they will be able by the
power of the Holy Spirit living within them to rejoice and demonstrate peace that passes all
understanding in spite of heartache and loss. The reality of being kept in Christ and held safe in the love
of God without worry of separation from Him is often forfeited due to a misunderstanding of what
forgiveness is and what it is not.
Forgiveness is received by God and then revealed in the lifestyle of the one who has received the
right to become a child of God through faith in Christ Jesus. The one who is forgiven can, by the power
of the Spirit of Christ within them, choose to call their sin out, honestly deal with their struggle with it,
and then confidently ask others to assist them to keep them accountable to walk in the Spirit and deny
their fleshly appetites.
Therefore, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25, NKJV).

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