Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.

The Burden

The punishment fits the crime.

Amos 2:13–16

“Behold, I am weighed down by you,
As a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.
Therefore flight shall perish from the swift,
The strong shall not strengthen his power,
Nor shall the mighty deliver himself;
He shall not stand who handles the bow,
The swift of foot shall not escape,
Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.
The most courageous men of might
Shall flee naked in that day,”
Says the LORD.

This reminds me of the classic line parents use when spanking their children, “This will hurt me more than it hurts you.”

While this passage prophesies some tough punishments, notice the love. Israel’s intransigence is a burden for the LORD. “I am weighed down by you.”

God now has the unenviable task of correcting His children. Therefore, a bunch of horrible things will happen.

And notice the pattern. Everything seems optimized to embarrass and shame. God describes many “powers” and knocks them down, one-by-one.

The swift can’t flee. The strong can’t help. The mighty can’t save himself. The archer can’t stand (can’t hold their position). The swift of foot can’t escape. He who rides a horse can’t deliver himself.

But most shameful of all, the most courageous men of might shall flee naked,

God’s punishments have a curious way of fitting the crime. Today’s passage begins with, “I am weighed down by you as a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.” The analogy is of a cart that has reached its weight limit. God’s point is that the weight of Israel’s incessant sin has hit a limit.

This is born of overconfidence and cockiness. They count on God’s blessings but don’t appreciate them.

So, God’s punishment is to smash their pride.

That’s why what’s coming is so finely tuned to embarrass them.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

Subscribe to Ailbe Newsletters

Sign up to receive our email newsletters and read columns about revival, renewal, and awakening built upon prayer, sharing, and mutual edification.

No