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

Making an Example

even for the enemies.

Amos 3:9–11 (ESV)

            Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod
                        and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt,
            and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria,
                        and see the great tumults within her,
                        and the oppressed in her midst.”
            “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD,
                        “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”

            Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:

            “An adversary shall surround the land
                        and bring down your defenses from you,
                        and your strongholds shall be plundered.”

The LORD is making a point here about strongholds. These are often the highest elevation places, as they are easiest to defend and hardest to attack. They’re supposed to be almost invincible. Samaria (the capital of the northern kingdom) is one such stronghold.

But the people are putting their trust in strongholds. So, they feel free to do anything they want, including store up violence and robbery in their strongholds, knowing that no one can touch them.

But strongholds mean nothing to God. What matters to Him is that those who store up violence and robbery are so steeped in evil that they don’t even know how to do right. They’ve forgotten the covenant and they’ve forgotten His law.

So, God is going to hit them where it hurts. Strongholds have a weakness; they’re easily surrounded. Whether a walled city or a mountain, or even a walled city on a mountain, a siege can cut it off from the outside world. Eventually, the stronghold runs out of food and water and is forced to surrender.

Then comes the plunder.


The key to this passage isn’t the horrible end; it’s the beginning. The point of all this isn’t the punishment; it’s the lesson. The LORD wants the people in the strongholds of Ashdod and Egypt to gather at Israel’s stronghold (Samaria) and open their eyes.

“Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressed in her midst.”

But notice that the LORD wants Ashdod (a Philistine city) and Egypt to see the lesson. You might think that God would want to avoid the embarrassment of everyone seeing His chosen people be evil.

But that’s not how He works.


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:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

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

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

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.


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:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

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

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

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.

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