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The DEEP

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Qualified to judge.

Amos 9:5–6

The Lord GOD of hosts,
He who touches the earth and it melts,
And all who dwell there mourn;
All of it shall swell like the River,
And subside like the River of Egypt.
He who builds His layers in the sky,
And has founded His strata in the earth;
Who calls for the waters of the sea,
And pours them out on the face of the earth—
The LORD is His name.

Just as the previous passage showed that there’s no avoiding God’s judgement, this passage shows that there’s no arguing whether God is qualified to judge.

The Hebrew at the beginning sounds clumsy to an English speaker, so it’s translated loosely. The passage literally says, “The Lord, Yahweh, of the heavenly armies, He who strikes the land, and it melts.” Melted land is lava from a volcano, which instantly turns life into mourning for all who dwell there.

The River of Egypt is the Nile, which floods seasonally. Land swelling and subsiding sounds seismic—an earthquake or the heaving associated with some volcanic eruptions. In any case, it’s awe inspiring.

The Hebrew translated as “layers” (מַעֲלָה “ma-ala”) literally means stairs. It’s a reference to the highest heavens. God commands the waters too. The LORD’s power and reach know no limits.

The last line declares, “Yahweh [I AM] is His name.” That’s everything.


Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” — John 8:58

It’s no surprise that they took up stones to throw at Him (John 8:59a). He was claiming to be the great I AM—Yahweh. You can do every miracle in the book, and that’s still nothing compared to I AM.

Marvel movies have become all the rage lately, especially since Disney took over. The characters have amazing powers and live amazing lives. Their adventures make great movies.

But you and I have more powers and live more amazing lives. Why? Because we’re real and they aren’t. They’re fictional characters. They don’t actually live amazing lives at all. They don’t live any lives.

That’s what I AM is all about. Yahweh is not a created being. His existence is real in a way ours isn’t.

This hints at the true meaning of eternal life in Christ. No one can fully imagine it, but it’s glorious.


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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