Tag: Amos

A Bright Future

Amos 9:11-15

Anyone familiar with Bible as whole would certainly agree that some portions of it easier to grasp than others. Some are even downright difficult – either to understand their meaning and/or proper application. So we don’t get into a hermeneutical swamp, interpreting texts in haphazard way, is vitally important to have sound starting principles of interpretation with respect to the Bible. Here a couple to help get started:

“The “analogy of Scripture” …emphasizes more explicitly that Scripture is consistent with itself and thus does not contain contradictions. Because of this consistency, obscure passages are to be interpreted by other clear and parallel passages in the Scriptures.” H. Wayne Johnson

“It is of the greatest importance to understand at the outset that Scripture has but a single sense, and is therefore susceptible to a scientific and logical investigation. This fundamental principle must be placed emphatically in the foreground, in opposition to the tendency, revealed in history and persisting in some quarters even up to the present time, to accept a manifold sense,- a tendency that makes any science of Hermeneutics impossible, and opens wide the door for all kinds of arbitrary interpretations.” Louis Berkhof

Now bear in mind, may be innumerable applications of a particular text, although only one correct interpretation. That correct interpretation corresponds with what God Holy Spirit intended to communicate. Is especially helpful when the same Holy Spirit who inspired the writing of a prophecy later in Scripture inspires the writing of its interpretation. Is true for part of present text. More on that in few minutes.

One commentator has said:

“The funeral dirge is turned into a song of mercy. The prophet is rewarded for faithful service and is comforted with the thought, that after the destruction of ungodly elements, Divine grace shall rear, enlarge and prosper a kingdom which shall never be destroyed.” James Wolfendale

Incredible promises made personally by God himself! What he intends to do at some point in future, making plain he had not nor would he abandon his people indefinitely. Also important to keep in mind: God’s promises all have more than this world / this age in view.

A. I will raise up v.11

the tabernacle/booth of David

not referring to “tabernacle” David erected for Ark of Covenant for its return to Jerusalem – 2 Sam. 6:17

is referring to “house” God promised to build for David – read2 Sam. 7:11-16

at time of Amos, David’s houise in total disarray – needed more than redecorating, renovating… needed total rebuild – prophet reminding people God’s promise still in force

on a better foundation

David built his house on loyalty to God, quality largely lost in generations that followed him; would need to be redone from ground up in order to endure

abundantly clear from history that any man-engineered dynasty eventually crumbles – enduring dynasty requires God establishing foundation and building on it

with better walls

breaches need to be repaired… for protection of inhabitants from assaults of the enemy, #1 being Satan and his agents

like foundation, walls need to be raised up in such a way as to last forever – God doesn’t build things with limited lifetime

and restored materials

materials had been damaged, knocked out of place, rendered useless – God excels at restoring things to better than new

materials are of far better quality, greater usefulness – since he promised house and kingdom established forever, can’t use same old things to build it with

B. I will rebuild v.12

on “international” scale

will include near neighbors – Edomites, descended from Israel’s brother Esau – and all surrounding nations: πάντα τα έθνη

newly rebuilt booth of David much larger than old booth – stretches far beyond Israel’s geographic and cultural/religious borders

that is inclusive

those from “all the nations” who belong to God – not just ethnic or religious Jews who stand under protection of David’s booth

includes people from every tribe, tongue, people and nation redeemed to God by blood of Christ and made kingdom of kings and priests to glory of God

and ongoing – see Acts 15:14-18

we know this to be true… because Bible interprets itself – read apostle James’ conclusion given at Jerusalem Council

for beginning years of God’s people, largely limited to one people group – not replaced by another people group but added to: raise up rebuild, repair but no hint of replace

absolutely essential component of foundation in restored booth – “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.” Psa. 118:22

is eternal self-existent YHWH doing this

no room for boasting – is God through Christ who does the building: no mortal man can ever fashion anything eternal

regardless of what man might build that looks like Christ’s kingdom, is only the one he builds that counts, endures

C. I will bring back v.14

my people from captivity

God’s people from Adam to last saint without exception in captivity, powerless to extricate themselves… if even desired to

God does two things – gives people new desires, incl. desire for him, and releases from captivity in sin so can act on desires

in fulfillment of my word through Isaiah – see Isa. 61:1-2a; Luke 4:17-20

God promised, Jesus claimed fulfillment – “proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison” – occurs each time sinner made alive

God will continue releasing captives until “the day of vengeance of our God” comes – continuously building booth until complete

and make them productive

chain gang gets some work accomplished, never as much as free people with a mind/heart to work – cf. Neh. 6:15, 52 days

build and live, plant and drink, grow and eat – can / does happen to some extent now… but only in limited ways

D. I will plant v.15

on their own land

not on foreign soil, on their own land promised to them – no, not at far end of Mediterranean, promises are way too big for that

land that God has given to them for which Canaan only a down-payment – has real, eternal Paradise in view, new universe

never again uprooted

God guarantees will never be pulled up from that land – that obviously has not happened yet where we can see it

iow, an eternal planting

time and place where future not in doubt – security and productivity guaranteed by God, no possibility of interference by anyone

E. great blessing v.13

in a land of mind-blowing productivity

land and plants trying to outdo themselves – grow and produce so rapidly not enough time to harvest before time for next planting

ground itself overflowing with goodness, nothing remaining to retard or reduce productivity – all things functioning in top form as designed by Creator-God

like the valley of Eschol – Numbers 13:23, 27

two men carrying one cluster of grapes on pole, land overflowing with richness, luxuriant growth not before seen by Israelites

yet more so

because the Curse is removed – nothing hinders productivity of either God’s people or the place they inhabit – creation cooperates willingly with their labors

this kind of character applies to life in next age in every respect, blessing and productivity not limited to agriculture but extending to all aspects of eternal existence

“The importance of these principles is illustrated in the prophecy of Amos regarding “raising up the tabernacle of David” (Amos 9:11-12). Written prior to the Assyrian invasion of 722 BC, Amos describes a glorious Israel inhabiting a land of supernatural fruitfulness and ruling over elect Gentiles from around the world. Reading this prophecy without any further clues might lead one to imagine a future theocratic kingdom of Israel, replete with a temple, priestly service, and a king ruling the nations.

However, as the NT church began to grow, James declared to the council meeting in Jerusalem that the flood of Gentiles coming to faith was in fact the fulfillment of Amos’s prophecy (Acts 15:12-17). David’s raised tabernacle is nothing less that the NT Kingdom of God comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles.” David Daniels

Christ is building his church but not with ultimate conclusion in this age – is building it for time of future complete redemption, eternal existence in new heaven and new earth. God himself has declared what he is doing and he is working on a timetable. We don’t know precisely where we are on timeline; we do know end of this age is coming. Must do our part now to help others prepare for then.

The fact that God is raising up, rebuilding, restoring is what gives confidence to his people. Means that when we faithfully declare truth, results are up to God. We know from his word that he will use faithful children living and speaking what is pleasing to him to bring about his good purpose. May mean getting outside comfort zone… just like Moses. Like him, have assurance that God goes with his people, guides their steps, makes their labors productive in building his kingdom. And he has an unimaginably glorious future in store for all his people.

 

Tough Love

Amos 9:1-10

Paul in 1 Cor. 10:1-11 makes plain Israel’s experiences under Moses’ leadership were ordained by God to serve as example for us. Also ordained the written record to instruct us by their example. Don’t believe is straining the principle to say it applies to other situations also. For instance, present text.

The back story: group of people brought out of place of tremendous persecution. Long arduous journey to new country, protected and guided by God all along the way. Given comprehensive set of laws with principles to govern all aspects of life, established in new country as nation distinct from neighbors. Governed for generations by God through appointed judges, then given visible king to rule. Three kings, 40-year reign for each, then issues simmering beneath surface erupted into divided people. One of first casualties following political division – proper worship of true God. Loyalties and worship rightfully belong to God routinely diverted to false gods including self. Was difference of degree on either side of divide, yet both ultimately guilty of disobedience and disloyalty to God.

Sure seems like are striking parallels between Israel as described and later nations including our own. In response to waywardness, God sent messengers to warn – turn back to true God or he would bring down judgment. Instead of heeding warning:

Neh. 9:26“Nevertheless they were disobedient And rebelled against You, Cast Your law behind their backs And killed Your prophets, who testified against them To turn them to Yourself; And they worked great provocations.”

When Stephen later levelled same charge against Jews, turned on him and stoned to death. (Acts 7:52ff) Did not turn on Amos in that way, certainly did show great disregard for his prophetic warnings. In first 10 verses of chapter 9, gives final warning of coming judgment; closing portion does give promise of hope for future. Yet is clear – all who deserve God’s judgment will be unable to escape. Most impressive of all: is God speaking and acting. God no longer showing things to Amos, rather standing there in person for him to see, probably in a vision. Declares what must be done, part He will play in it, his purpose to preserve a believing remnant.

Most prominent feature of this passage: is God himself who will bring calamity on nation of Israel. Highly unpopular concept in most circles, including Christian ones. Comfort zone is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life” whether specifically stated or not. Yet at particular times in history and certainly the future God says: “I will set My eyes on them for harm and not for good.” (v.4) God will not be provoked endlessly without responding. His children need not fear, He will take good care of them.

Keep in mind what is most important here: relationship between God and man. Lots of description about other things – places and calamities described. But is God’s actions and intents in light of people’s attitudes and behaviors that are central.

A. God strikes v.1

standing by the altar

mosts likely pseudo-altar in worship space at Bethel the one in view where judgment starts – God’s presence there no sign of approval… any more than Jesus’ presence showed approval of mnoeychangers (John 2:13-16)

even though God promises fearsome judgment, shows grace by giving clear warning well in advance – leave idolatry, return to God, will be spared

strike the capitals – Samson

capitals: the top part of a pillar or column – strike top of doorposts, driving them from underneath supporting structure of roof

slightly different action but same result as Samson at close of his life, Philistine temple – middle of sacrifice to Dagon, roof brought down with great loss of life (Judg. 16:28-30)

slay the survivors

if any should survive, God himself will kill them; if any still surviving, God himself will hunt them down wherever try to hide

is God who brings about this calamity… on purpose… in just judgment on those who remain stubbornly rebellious

not giving Yahweh what is rightfully his, instead giving to idols; not taking from Yahweh what he would generously supply, instead seeking supply and safety from idols

B. God searches v.2-4

the grave

David covered some of these places but from positive perspective – Psalm 139:7-12Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?…”

short answer: absolutely nowhere! is good if are on friendly terms with God, explains futility of those trying to escape judgment

hell = Sheol = grave: whether literally try to hide underground or choose death (suicide) God’s purpose will not be thwarted

death does not necessarily bring individual to better place – for impenitent, is far worse than anything imaginable because God is there pouring out his wrath on sinners who keep sinning against him

heaven – Babel

if were possible to get to heaven’s door by own effort, God not St. Peter will meet them and forbid entrance

Babel is not but should be sufficient lesson that only stairway to heaven is the one God has established through faith in Christ

hilltop – Elijah

a century earlier God clearly demonstrated his presence on Mt. Carmel, at same time his superiority over Baal and prophets

people got it right, even though short-lived: 1 Kin. 18:39​Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”

sea bottom – Jonah

audience might have been closely acquainted with story of Jonah – he and Amos both active during reign of Jeroboam II

Jumping (or being thrown) overboard no way to escape hand of God – God has total authority over all that inhabit oceans, commands them according to his pleasure

even foreign captivity

tempting to say: “ok God, now I’m a POW in foreign Gentile (shudder) land; you’ve made your point, I’m safe now, right?”

God is neither provincial nor powerless: his sphere of activity not confined to land of Israel as was thought about other gods

in fact, Adonai Yahweh Tsabaoth (Lord GOD of hosts) not provincial at all unless consider his province to be all creation – and he exercises full power and authority over every last particle of it

C. God is sovereign v.5-7

“Lord GOD of hosts” — “​​​​​​The sovereign LORD who commands armies”

so there’s no confusion, this is God who is speaking, the one about whom Amos is speaking – not one of false gods worshiped at Bethel and throughout northern kingdom

the God who all without exception should worship, especially his particular people, is sovereignly governing all his creation

for devoted child striving to do Heavenly Father’s will this concept brings comfort and peace beyond understanding; same concept should strike terror into hearts of all estranged from him

those “hosts” give full obedience to sovereign Lord – to bring help of all kinds to his children, hindrances of all kinds to enemies

over earth and sky

God’s power not limited to doing things on the earth, he can do things with the earth – can as easily bring calamity as blessing

same is true about entire universe surrounding the earth – can make surface of earth toss and turn, create and destroy stars and galaxies, cause drought for years in California and reverse it all in a week

over people

God governs the actions of all people in all places at all times – places limits on behavior, changes desires, causes actions whether good or evil to achieve his purpose

side note: if God not sovereign over the lost, none would ever come to faith – requires God doing his work first to regenerate, give faith and life

friends

was time when children of Israel were God’s friends – heard their cry and sent deliverer, dealt with them gently, w/compassion

continues along same pattern: Matt. 7:11 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”

enemies

friend or enemy matters not when it comes to exercise of God’s power and authority – Prov. 21:1 “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.”

repeatedly God used nation’s enemies to teach lessons, corrective discipline; then taught those other nations their own lesson

because of idolatry had become no better/different than heathen neighbors – should expect no different treatment from God

D. God shows mercy v.8-10

destroys yet not utterly

God did indeed destroy the nation… but not the people – yes, is nation or political state of Israel today, estab. 1948; don’t confuse with people God formed into nation during time of Moses

God always careful to preserve his believing remnant, common theme throughout prophets, continued into NT

Rom. 11:5Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”

that believing Jewish remnant will be grafted into olive tree along with believing Gentiles, adding their number to people of God

justice coupled with mercy

God committed to justice, is his nature to be just; yet God shows mercy whenever possible and prudent – is not a vengeful tyrant, is a just judge

distinguishes sinner from saint

God does not treat everyone equally – equality is often unjust: “you’re all gonna stay in seats until someone tells me who did it” not just for the innocent

another side note: God doesn’t treat his children equally in all situations, often for very good reasons, always for his glory

remedy

Amos 5:14-15Seek good and not evil, That you may live; …It may be that the LORD God of hosts Will be gracious”

same remedy is open to all today as was during Amos’ day – seek good, love good, first as is found in Christ, then follow him in faith – message of life to the lost

God preserved those loyal to him, yet at great cost to them. His purpose not to cause unnecessary pain and suffering but to demonstrate his greatness, bring glory to himself and sanctifying grace to his people. Is tough love that brings about greatest change in people.

 

The End Is Coming

Amos 8:1-14

Would have been super easy for God’s prophet to pitch the whole business. Amaziah’s reaction to Amos’ ministry not encouraging. Not so much because he pushed back… rather what he took issue with, how he deflected core of Amos’ challenge, spun it into something different. Amos clearly articulated God’s message to his covenant people, laid out sins of cruelty, arrogance, disrespect for God and his laws, self-centeredness and idolatry to name a few. Amaziah totally disregards just criticism of Israel’s profound sinfulness, accuses Amos of treason: personal attack on the king, trying to undermine his government. Is like trying to have meaningful conversation with someone, they keep changing the subject. What’s the p oint of even trying, when those who need to change refuse to engage on the subject?!?

Just as Amos persevered with declaration of truth regardless of Amaziah’s antics, so God perseveres with two more visions to encourage the prophet. This one, fourth in series, more explicit – God no longer threatening judgment, is now promising it will come. Final version even more moving, God reveals himself as sovereign agent responsible for Israel’s coming judgment. Clearly Amos got the message right, had right audience, had kept right relationship with God – rewarded by blessing of more encouragements. Hard message to hear, yet hearing / seeing God always rewarding.

In response to Amos’ pleading, God relented regarding first two judgments. No prayer, no relenting about the third. Here God unequivocally declares the end is coming, for certain. Once again, God makes clear why judgment more than justified. God supplies graphic picture of just how horrible the end will be. Then, will draw some conclusions applicable to our circumstances.

A. the end declared v.1-3

ripe fruit = ripe for harvest = ripe for judgment – its character is determined, cannot be changed

people still not getting that they just as deserving of God’s judgment as all their neighbors – if they do get it, are stubbornly resistant

imagery of summer fruit powerful one for Amos, given 1st vocation – he understood precisely what God intended

ripe fruit once picked must be used quickly or will rot – only short time until good for nothing, if can’t be preserved must be discarded or rot will spread

God’s longsuffering has ended

same kind of declaration made before… to Noah – Gen. 6:3And the LORD said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”

to withhold consequences for too long enables / encourages sinful behavior to not just persist, promotes escalation

regardless of human outcome, God will be glorified – by grace and mercy in those rescued from ruin, by justice in rebellious

God speaking to Amos about “localized” display of justice; same principle applies locally elsewhere, other peoples and nations

true globally also – time is coming, big Day of the Lord, “no longer overlook their sins” (NET); must be prepared, others warned

end of Israel as autonomous self-governing people

Sargon, then Sennacherib overrun northern kingdom 722 BC; signaled beginning of end for entire nation, finished 586 BC

God allowed Judah to continue longer because were some godly kings among the rest – not so for 10 tribes

once period of Babylonian captivity began, monarchy ended, never restored even though people returned to land

some brief periods from 538 BC and 135 AD had some freedom to self-govern but only until power structures around changed

violent and tragic end

had plugs in ears, hands over eyes, stubbornly refusing to heed God’s messenger – looking only at indicators that pointed to good times

would be absolutely unprepared for shock of God’s judgment when it came – totally not on their radar at all

“the songs were the choral music,with which they counterfeited the temple-music, as arranged by David, praising (they oould not make up their minds which,) Nature or ” the God of nature,” but, in truth, worshiping the creature.” Pusey

judgment would be met with disbelief, denial until no other option but to acknowledge tragedy and wail over destruction

nightclub, June 2016 – gunman – 49 dead, 53 injured; party at converted warehouse, Dec. 2016 – fire – 36 lost lives

would be devastating loss of life, security, possessions, future – had hardest time to believe God was responsible

B. the reasons given v.4-6

main problem: oppression

working every possible minute to get ahead at expense of poor and needy – not accidental, were very intentional in actions

targeting those who had few resources, little or no ability to push back – in debt to corner store, could get credit nowhere else

had no one to be their advocate, perhaps did not realize full extent to which were being defrauded – trapped in spiral of increasing debt, decreasing resources, no hope ever for relief

in behaving this way, were violating both tables of law: sinning against both God and fellow man – enslaving others for own gain, not trusting in God’s provision

by no means the only problem – kind of character that is demonstrated that way influences other parts of life; just an obvious example of what was wrong

motive: impatient greed coupled with disrespect of God’s law

couldn’t wait for weekend to be over so could return to profit-making – practiced externals but with rotten heart, wrong motives

in church every Sunday, eagle eye on the clock, first to holler if preacher goes past the hour by 30 seconds: “cutting into my time”

did not view work restrictions on Sabbath and other religious holidays as blessing from God, intended to prevent from workaholism

instead, were nuisance regulations intended to limit profit-making abilities and opportunities – God stealing from them!

and… believed they knew best what was best for them – even if God did exist, everything they desired was permissible, regardless of any divine or human laws

method: dishonesty

two methods of deception: two sets of weights and measures, diluted product quality

would buy large measure with light shekel, sell small measure for heavy shekel – cheating other party both times

add threshing floor sweepings to grain – increase weight for no cost; add water to wine – increase volume for no cost

same size box and price but less cereal; same price entree, fewer ounces of steak, more lettuce in salad; roll back odometer

important note: God not against profit-making, see parable of talents; God is revolted by dishonesty

expects mankind to manage created order, receive tangible reward for doing so – value added should yield higher price

dishonesty not only problem with interpersonal relations – were being dishonest with God also, and… things lead to things

C. the end described v.7-14

earthquake (7-8)

would seem like earth itself revolting against sinful behavior – heaving and rolling like stormy ocean, swallow up evildoers

people are resilient, can handle a lot – all bets off when earth starts shaking… especially when is God’s hand moving it

darkness (9, 12)

wandering around in darkness, purposely avoiding the light – sea to sea, north to east, to and fro, not south (Uzziah)

small demonstration of what end will look like – things we count on for stability, measuring time shaken up by God himself

funeral (10)

will be no escape, all who God intends to feel weight of his anger will experience his judgment – will be harsh but perfectly just

every cause for pleasure and rejoicing turned to mourning – since God will do this, matters not if they believe Amos’ warning

famine (11, 13-14)

futility of seeking help/relief – God will be silent

“If this is the way prophets, duly commissioned and entrusted by God with His word, are to be treated, then Yahweh will stop sending them. There will be no prophets to bear the word, and without them no word will be available to the leaders of the nation. That dearth, which is more serious and potentially worse than a famine of food and a thirst for water, will usher in the age of ultimate doom, because without access to the word of Yahweh, the nation will be irretrievably lost.” (P. 716) Andersen and Freedman

is this why so many churches without pastors, communities without churches? people refused to listen, God stopped sending

call out to Yahweh, he does not answer; call out to all the gods, desperately hoping at least one will answer

call out to Yahweh as if he is bystander, not one responsible for calamity because of their sin… still in denial

D. conclusions

God not patient forever

in Noah’s day, Israel’s day, other days and on Great Day – God’s longsuffering will end, justice take prominent place – should live in light of that truth

conservatism not enough

can be good, better than some alternatives, still not up to God’s standard; course corrections that come with change of president are good gift from God but… no time to relax

expects godly people, requires godly church

call is there for all to follow God – some will, many will not, Christ will tarry until last lost person is saved, added to church

those churches that have lost first love should remember Christ’s warning: “repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place; unless you repent.” (Rev. 2:5)

Perhaps one of darkest portions of Amos’ ministry – little hope held out to hearers that might turn out different way. Most troubling, “They shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the LORD, But shall not find it.” What hope can there be for place where God cannot be heard? Behooves us, knowing the end is coming, carry God’s word into dark corners. Be faithful witnesses as long as God gives breath and opportunity.

Powerful Opposition to God’s Word

Amos 7:10-17

Important to keep in mind: God has plan to redeem his people from ruin and God’s plan is their only hope. Not simply an us vs. them / insiders vs. outsiders scenario. Is opposition to God’s Word in culture… obviously. Less obvious, opposition in the church – may appear to focus on particular issues, but at root is rebellion against God. Scenario here far more than Amaziah duking it out with Amos over finer points of doctrine. Is in reality spiritual warfare at highest levels of religion and culture.

Primary players appear to be Amos and Amaziah – prophet of God and priest of Bethel. Are other far more powerful forces at work in conflict that continues today. Will be helpful to review some details about setting of this confrontation… Bethel.

First identified as place of worship when Abraham first pitched his tent (Gen. 12:8; 13:4) between Bethel and Ai (about 2 miles apart). At that time, was called town of Luz. Later, on day after Jacob’s dream about the ladder, he set up his stone pillow as an altar, called the place Beth-el, “house of God”. God himself even referred to it: Gen. 31:13 “I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed the pillar and where you made a vow to Me.” After conquest of Canaan, ark of covenant rested there for a time. Bethel one of three cities that made up Samuel’s annual circuit. By time of Elijah / Elisha was location of prophet’s school. Long history of legitimate worship of true God.

All changed at time of Jeroboam I, divided kingdom. Re-purposed for another use – designed to preserve loyalty of ten tribes to Jeroboam. Feared would be lost if annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem continued. Jeroboam set up golden calf at Bethel, also at Dan (1 Ki. 12:28-33); came up with own worship rituals to mimic God-ordained ones. Jeroboam established idol-worship (high places) elsewhere in northern kingdom, assigned Bethel as religious center. Bethel once pleasing to God now place of idol-worship for nearly 200 years.

This the place where Amos was sent to declare God’s intention to judge his people for their sinfulness. Not content to nibble away around fringes, appealing to those dissatisfied with status quo. Instead went right to the top, the leaders most responsible for inciting Jewish people to sin against God. Are biblical and historical parallels later in lives of both Daniel and Jesus, for example. During British history from time of Henry 8th to Elizabeth 1st, monarchy had much to say and do in matters of religion. But now to Amaziah and Amos.

Interesting contrast between words of Amaziah and Amos – the priest sounds more like a politician. Amos regularly refers to God in his declarations, frequently as source of what he says, the one under whose authority he serves. Nothing even close to that in Amaziah’s speech; in fact, he speaks as mouthpiece for king rather than God. Quite ironic since name means: “Yahweh is mighty”! A case where individual didn’t live up to billing although name expressed the truth.

A. Amaziah to the king v.10-11

accusation

conspiracy – implication that Amos was acting as spy or subversive from Judah, attempting to undermine authority of government

charges Amos with disloyalty to the king and fellow Jews, seeking to promote own agenda to somehow make a living

hate speech – saying things that would cause harm to others, threatening with captivity, destroying morale of people

is very telling that Amaziah does not criticize Amos for prophesying against his idolatry – for some reason leaves religion out

accuracy

no, Amos didn’t say that – prophecy against house of Jeroboam, Amaziah spun into personal attack on the king – better reaction

yes, he did say that – God had indeed declared Israel would be taken into captivity – Satan at it again, mixing truth and error

Satan and evildoers less concerned with accuracy than making their point – evident right from Garden, distorting God’s words

accomplishment

turn spiritual / religious issue into political / social – favorite and effective tactic when allowed to persist: one deals with beliefs, other with facts… and must be kept separate

if political, then law has somewhat to say, can be resisted with force and frequently uncomfortable consequences

pit state against church

should be working toward compatible goals in different spheres – state restraining evil so church can “function”, church training citizens to be useful to state

B. Amaziah to Amos v.12-13

cops an attitude

can’t tell for sure – threatening or dismissive – neither one proper response from priest toward prophet of God

leave before you get hurt – implication being for Amos to stick around… not good for his health and well-being

“run along little man” – go peddle your wares, earn your bread elsewhere – assumes Amos doing for money, probably no concept of him having divine call to prophetic ministry

pretends authority

speaks as though he could command God’s prophet – never works that way: OT prophet always has latest word from God, often intended to correct priestly wrongdoing

people misbehaving, priests going along or unable to change popular direction, God sends prophet with stern warning

tries to reverse roles

legitimate speaker was Amos, not idolatrous priest – priest acting as servant of state, prophet serving as faithful messenger

spins the attack

attack on king’s religion an attack on king – it really was even though Amos didn’t state it that way: disaster would come on Jeroboam’s dynasty, not necessarily him personally

special problem when king “established” the religion – Bethel, place of worship the king’s sanctuary, the king’s home

Amos’ criticism of idolatry really a direct challenge to one who set it up and promoted it – God certainly saw Jeroboam as responsible for sinfulness of nation

C. Amos’ defense v.14-15

motivation

already employed in vocation – was professional in agriculture and animal husbandry, likely the vocation he would return to

didn’t need to be prophet for profit – and… not professional prophet, didn’t go to prophet school, belong to prophet’s guild

mandate

Amos’ mandate from Yahweh, not Jeroboam – was covenant God who took him out of his profession, redirected in ministry

obedience obligatory, not optional – king’s request could be resisted or rejected…maybe, God’s mandate never

message

like mandate, from Yahweh – when God truly calls someone from established vocation into another, especially public ministry, God supplies all the need

if Yahweh says “prophesy”, will also say what to prophesy – clear that true prophet was really only God’s mouthpiece

Ex. 4:15-16“So you are to speak to him and put the words in his mouth. And as for me, I will be with your mouth and with his mouth, and I will teach you both what you must do.He will speak for you to the people, and it will be as if he were your mouth and as if you were his God.”

D. Amos’ declaration v.16-17

outranked

priest no match for Sovereign Lord – here’s what you said, now hear God’s response… and brace yourself, it ain’t gonna be pretty – God will have the final word

no match for faithful servant of God – consequences strong and certain for those who oppose word of God, esp. those who should be promoting and proclaiming it

overcome

His wife will become a prostitute (cf. the curse in Deut. 28:30). – one of “covenant curses”, often result of warfare: rape, pillage, plunder; could be “necessary” for support after men died in battle

His children will be killed (see the curses in Deut. 28:32, 41; 32:25). – especially true of adult sons when land is being invaded

His personal property will be given to others (see Deut. 28:30; also Lev. 26:32). – Amaziah’s position not enough to provide guarantees either for his person or his possessions

He will die in a pagan land (see Lev. 26:38–39). – would be carried off into captivity along with fellow countrymen, never to return

The nation will go into exile, as Amos earlier announced (Amos 5:27; 7:11). – almost an “oh, by the way, what I said about the nation… that still holds.”

outcome

God’s just purpose for his enemies – God fully justified in destroying those who persist in rebellion against him – still less onerous than what awaits for eternity

God’s redemptive purpose for his people – God did not intend to destroy the remnant, those who remained loyal to him

God had two-fold purpose in bringing judgment by way of captivity: show his power in preserving the faithful, show his power by converting foes into friends

Conclusions

No matter how things appear in either church or state, God is ultimately in control and will carry out his ordained purpose

Primary resource for defense and support for the church must be God, not civil government – both are under God’s authority

God’s people in every generation need those who will speak with prophetic voice, declaring absolute truth even when unpopular

Must remember – “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.” (Eph. 6:12)

is a spiritual battle, must use spiritual weapons – souls of men, women, boys, girls at stake – God wins, he will build his church

 

Three Visions

Amos 7:1-9

Series of five visions finish out prophecies of Amos: swarm of locusts (7:1-3), fire (7:4-6), plumb line (7:7-9), basket of summer fruit (8:1-14), God himself (9:1-10). First two – pattern: vision, prayer/plea, response; then changes in third… no prayer from the prophet.

2-word phrase used repeatedly by Amos, increased frequency in last 3 chapters: Lord GOD, accompanied by LORD in text this evening. Lord GOD (Adonai Yahweh) used most often in prophets – translated Sovereign Lord in NIV, NET, NLT. Sovereign covenant God governing his people – Amos gets it even if countrymen don’t.

Is important we don’t fall into same mindset as Elijah – 1 Ki. 19:10So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” Then God reminds him: 1 Ki. 19:18 “Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel, all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him.” God not without witness in every generation – Amos not the only believer in all of Israel. God had preserved remnant even in worst of times even when looked like entire nation had turned away.

Might be believing remnant present in Israel yet God must follow through on his promises. As always, God’s purpose to bring about correction and repentance not destruction. Would preserve faithful followers through judgment, would use judgment to convert some and harden others according to his eternal purpose. Different aspects of God’s character appear to us to be in tension – justice and mercy, holiness and longsuffering. Because God is merciful, justice waits. Because God is longsuffering, holiness warns. Is so because God’s desire is to redeem, not condemn… 2 texts:

John 3:17-18 “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”

Eze. 33:11 “Say to them: ‘As I live,’ says the Lord GOD, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel?'”

Obvious from later history neither Israel nor Judah heeded warnings. Instead took great advantage of God’s longsuffering, tested his patience, ultimately felt his rod of correction.

A. locusts v.1-3

vision: swarm of locusts

situation Amos could really relate to – as sheepbreeder, tender of sycamore trees, understood both mechanics and necessity of good harvest… for man and beast

even though Amos from away, much of his business done in north – these prophecies if fulfilled make life hard for him, too

Amos’ understanding: not a natural disaster that would come but supernatural one – orchestrated by God alone

after first crop

timing crucially important – “the late crop after the king’s mowings” – what Samuel promised would take place when Israel wanted a king

1 Sam. 8:12, 14“He …will set some to plow his ground and reap his harvest… And he will take the best of your fields, your vineyards, and your olive groves, and give them to his servants.”

so here’s the order – God received firstfruits, king was second and took all needed to support him and all in his household; farmer got what was left

implied here that farmer himself got little or nothing from first mowing, first crop; relied on second crop, what was produced between first harvest and end of season

before second crop harvest

what Amos saw in vision was swarms of locusts that ate up everything farmers and families hoping to live on till next harvest

if was green, they ate it – little hope for miracle after that – nothing left of plants, no possibility of anything from second crop

affected all outside royal circles, increase in suffering as you go down the socio-economic ladder – story of Ruth impossible in these conditions… nothing left even for gleaners

prayer: forgive

when Amos speaking to people as prophet, could pour on the strong language – only listen to his prophetic words, hard to hear his heart speaking

might appear crusty on outside, in truth had heart for God and for his countrymen – plight of Israel he foresaw distressed him to very core of his being

qualities that must be present in all engaged in pastoral ministry – zeal for God and compassion for sinners

pleads with God to forgive his people, then need for judgment no longer present, God could, without acting contrary to character, stop locust plague

does not plead promises God made in covenant with his people – people had blown their side of things so thoroughly they truly deserved judgment

even if they not compelled to seek forgiveness, Amos did on their behalf, pleading for God to forgive them because Amos took pity on them

response: relenting

apparent change of course, never change of purpose with God – intent all along to use minimum disciplinary action necessary to bring about repentance

perhaps threat of judgment averted by Amos’ prayer enough to persuade the people – not likely, but God graciously agreed

B. fire v. 4-6

vision: judgment by fire

fire frequently seen as symbolic form of God’s judgment – promised as means of final purification of universe (2 Pet. 3:7, 12)

like locusts, this fire obviously of supernatural origin – consider extent of devastation: “consumed the great deep and devoured the territory.”

many probably remembered Elijah, Mt. Carmel – 1 Ki.18:38 “Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench.”

similarly, fire Amos saw coming an all-consuming storm of judgment clearing away everything in its path

prayer: show mercy

this time Amos asks for less: cease / stop / forbear – pleading with God to halt judgment that is even more dreadful than locusts

throws himself with his people on God’s mercy and compassion – take pity on your people, hold back on judgment so at least some able to survive

response: relenting

once again God demonstrates apparent change of course – in reality threatening/relenting cycles part of his sovereign plan

God makes clear – not being hasty, does not send judgment even when justified – is quick to show compassion whenever possible

C. plumb line v.7-9

vision: a wall and plumb line

not just a plumb line, one accompanied by wall made with plumb line – God taking final measure before he sends judgment

plumb line a standard of quality and integrity for finished wall – if not plumb, exactly vertical, is in danger of collapse, unable to support whatever built on top

God shows building correctly is possible, can be made to measure up to his satisfaction… iow, his gracious acceptance

prayer: none

Amos sensitive to what God reveals in vision, what God is saying – believes would be contrary to God’s will / purpose to ask for mercy

response: no relenting

people so far from meeting God’s standard (not even trying) he will no longer withhold judgment – “I will not pass by them anymore”

is God himself applying his standard to his people and rendering final verdict – idol-worshipers will be removed from the land

places of false worship destroyed, abandoned because people have been deported – turns out, were completely cured of idolatry in sense of worshiping Baal, Ashtoreth, Molech

God also promises to bring the Jeroboam dynasty to an end – primary leaders/encouragers of Israel’s disobedience

D. Conclusions

every nation needs “prophets” to stand in gap

Eze. 22:30“So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.”

fervent intercession of God’s people can postpone judgment

God hasn’t changed, will listen to cries of his people when they have right motivation – compassion for lost, not self preservation

typical unbeliever is selectively deaf – cannot hear God’s voice

God spoke to Jesus from heaven, “the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.” (John 12:29)

attentive believer hears/understands God’s voice (v.8d and broken pattern)

are times when God makes his purpose clear – we like Amos must be quiet, like Jesus – “not as I will, but as you will”

God mercifully sends warning before judgment

no one can ever say honestly and rightfully – God never warned me – warning signs are all around… people ignore or redefine

God’s standard is final judge

we don’t get to decide what is acceptable, when God should finally move – that is always God’s prerogative – thank him for his gracious and merciful longsuffering

National Wake-Up Call

Amos 6:1-14

Anxiety and related disorders the #1 (most commonly diagnosed/treated) mental health issue in US today. So widespread, 1 in 6 Americans diagnosed with it, 83 different medications prescribed for it. In 2012, 50 million prescriptions for Xanax filled. Yet not a new “problem” – new is how people try to deal. Amos’ contemporaries seem determined not to deal with insecurity / anxiety.

“Security results in the removal of feelings of anxiety, doubt, and fear. When one is secure, there is no danger, apprehensive feelings, or threat that will ruin the pleasant life one now enjoys. Security relates to being sure of your situation and certain about the future.” NIVAC

Things Amos addresses here in final sermon really their list of non-prescription “medications” for anxiety – indifference, indulgence, impudence that together generated sense of security. Alleviated their anxiety, albeit with no real substance/foundation.

These woes directed at both Israel and Judah – capitol cities of both addressed. Totally ignoring everything that mattered, focused only on satisfying self regardless of cost or consequences; living for the moment and nothing more. Impatient that anyone would challenge behavior/priorities. Based on their subsequent history, didn’t pay much attention to Amos… unfortunately. Amos does his part to point out “the distinction to be made between the security which destroys the soul, and that which is the result of God’s blessing, and one of the things which accompany salvation.” Ryan

A. indifference v.1-2

“at ease” – insensible of surrounding danger, impending calamity

what is most notable: not what is included in description, rather what is left out – reference to any kind of spiritual activity or interest – all about life “under the sun”

made more serious by virtue of their position: ones “house of Israel” looked to for leadership and example – active promotion of behavior/attitude both sinful and destructive

Amos’ challenge appropriate at any time, under any circumstances: “what are you trusting in for security?” -is dangerous to figure that out in middle of danger

resting in false confidence – trusting in position geographically, politically, socially, economically

both Samaria and Jerusalem easily defended location – minimal danger to those inside so long as supplies held out

had made alliances with powerful neighbors, in a position of strength politically, able to negotiate with lesser nations

privilege comes with position, even in democratic republic like ours – insulated from gritty side of life, hardships that accompany

possessed sufficient wealth believed they would never run out, would never need to go without; able to gratify all desires

complacency fueled by comparisons… with pagan neighbors

felt secure enough to look down on less fortunate neighbors – compared themselves to Calneh (in Syria, thought to be near Aleppo), Hamath on northern border of Israel, Gath royal city of Philistia

Amos challenges that thinking – are their conclusions accurate? are they using right parameters for measurement?

safe to say Amos confident God had a different opinion about Jerusalem and Samaria… and they ought to rethink theirs

in reality, displaying contempt for God and his wisdom, his standard – can figure it out on own, decide if acceptable

B. indulgence v.3-7

“put far off the day of doom” – really in denial

“not gonna happen in my lifetime”, iow, “not my worry” – if really true, can live like will never happen

“The thought that the Lord has a Day, in which to judge man, frets or frightens the irreligious, and they use different ways to get rid of it. The strong harden themselves against it, distort the belief in it, or disbelieve it. The weak and voluptuous shut their eyes to it, as if what they dread would cease to be there, because they cease to see it.” Edw. Pusey

this won’t happen to us… at least when it does we’ll be last to go

confident they had sufficient resources to last – would continue to indulge passions w/o restraint or thought for what comes next

totally dissipated lifestyle – lying about, feasting on delicacies w/no regard for cost, glasses too small/drink from the bowl

picture of utter excess and overindulgence beyond reason in effort to find satisfaction… and failing – in process deluding themselves about themselves

like the person who can’t carry a tune when sober getting drunk and singing karaoke – inebriated friends applaud, sober ones plug ears

melds together two images: farmer needing bigger barns (see Luke 12:19), rich man and Lazarus (see Luke 16:19)

“And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.””

“There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day”

both situations: satisfying self the #1 occupation with no regard for consequences or effect on others

in case of Amos’ audience – made more evil because they are ones supposed to be setting example for everyone else

guilty of their own sin and also leading others into sin – applies to all sorts of misbehavior in wide variety of settings

in reality, displaying contempt for God and his warnings – he’s not serious, won’t affect me; hence prophetic warning: you who think you will be last will instead be first of the captives, God will ensure that

C. impudence v.8, 12-13

“the pride of Jacob” (8)

a strong oath and strong words – “sworn by himself”, declaring he “loathes the pride of Jacob”, “hates his palaces”

in their arrogance, Israel and Judah built own rock fortresses, trusted in them, abandoned the true Rock and his security

no longer need to trust in God for protection and provision, no need to ask for his help and deliverance – do it on their own

turned justice into gall” (12b)

if their view of relationship with God turned on its head, naturally follows other parts of life perverted and upside down, too

would be first to whine if were the objects of injustice, rejoice when justice being done benefitted them; yet are right out in front perpetrating injustice toward God and others

seems those who needed justice were in hopeless situation – nowhere to be found, to seek for it would only make life bitter

“fruit of righteousness into wormwood” (12b)

person genuinely displaying fruit of righteousness strives to build others up, make setting and circumstances better in some way

because of impudent arrogance toward God, Amos’ hearers behaved in ways that were inherently destructive of self and others

“By our own strength” (13)

really pushing boundaries of God’s tolerance here – taking to themselves credit for what belongs only to God

boasting about victory over Lo Debar (name means “no thing”), taking Karnaim (strength) by their own strength

put confidence in military capability and victories when in God’s view was completely empty boast – would shortly be proven so

“do horses run” – you’re acting like idiots! those you despise know better than that (12a)

in typical forthright way Amos shows audience just how ridiculous their boasting really was… and how foolish to boast in those kinds of things

those who try to take what rightly belongs to God, then boast about it will surely come to hard end… exactly what Amos warns

D. judgment v.9-14

death (9-10)

population of Israel and Judah decimated by God’s judgment – perhaps combination of military action (14) and pestilence

so many casualties were not enough immediate family to bury all the bodies – would be someone from another household… with a helper (undertaker, funeral director)

notice the survivors don’t want to talk about possibility this devastation from God, perhaps fear further retribution

destruction (11)

none will escape judgment – big house, little house – leaders responsible for leading wrongly, followers responsible for own behavior

piece by piece God dismantles everything they trusted in that was not God – all of their idols, objects of confidence and worship

defeat (14)

God would make clean sweep from one end of nation to the other – yes, he deals with individuals, also with nations

would raise up a pagan nation of his choosing to accomplish his purpose – Assyria in the north, Babylonia in the south

God can and does use heathen peoples and nations to carry out his plan just as easily as his own people

E. Watch for:

trusting in the wrong things

looking at the wrong standard

becoming indifferent – to need (Tammy S, “you must have blinders on”), to God’s provision / protection

captivated by unreality (entertainment), no sense of urgency, willfully blind to surroundings (Belshazzar) – see Gen. 42:21

Then they (Joseph’s brothers) said to one another, “In truth we are guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the distress of his soul, when he begged us and we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”

overestimation of self’s importance and ability

Goal for believer: Jer. 9:23–24Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

False Teaching, False Hope, False Gods – Fighting Complacency

Amos 5:18-27

Chapter 5:1-17 first part of Funeral Sermon, this the second part – announcement of impending judgment. Obituary has been read, now the back story on cause of death. Even though a message of doom, Sovereign Lord has spoken yet he will be gracious – judgment will come and God will show mercy to repentant.

Right at beginning of text, Amos zeroes in on what is major theme in Joel: “the Day of the Lord”.

These are the five theological themes, then, in this great topic of the Day of the Lord: a divine reckoning on all countries; a demonstration of God’s supremacy over all nature and nations; an outpouring of the Holy Spirit; a divinely permitted call given by all the nations in which they go up against Israel to settle the Jewish question, but in which God finally joins in the fray as judge of all nations and deliverer of the remnant of Israel; a revived Zion with the Lord personally dwelling in the midst.” Walter Kaiser

Popular view of “yom Yahweh” tends to focus too narrowly on Israel the nation, missing out on additional and significant layers of meaning. Remember – Israel / Zion throughout Scripture have more than nation/city in view. In this case, Israel as in Northern Kingdom had some notions about it that needed correcting, although they would not agree.

Amos’ audience perfectly complacent with their view of things: themselves, their worship, their needs, their neighbors. Can almost hear them say in response to Amos’ preaching: “thanks, I’m good”. Were happy with false teaching that encouraged them to stay the course; content with a false hope based on conditions they were already meeting; satisfied gods of own choosing and design could adequately meet their needs. Amos’ task here to shock them out of complacency… if possible – wake them up to dire need and grave danger.

A. Lament: certain judgment v.18-20

strong desire, craving, longing – strong form of strong word

no question about what they wanted – calling for God to hurry up and follow through on promise; nothing less would satisfy

bad theology – yom Yahweh not a good thing for them – “are you out of your mind?”

read and appreciated part about Yahweh putting his enemies in their place – since they were Abraham’s children, must be taliking about their enemies, too

selective reading of Bible

calling down God’s judgment… on neighbors, not because times were bad – were good, wanted even better, at expense of others

no consideration for true purpose behind “Day of the Lord” and relation to sinful behavior, theirs or enemies

much more case of God as genie in a bottle – called out to do their bidding, improve their living conditions even when that meant destruction of others

should have had Jesus’ attitude: Luke 9:52-56

people did not receive Jesus, James and John “call down fire” – response: “the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.”

instead failed to recognize when judgment came, would be God’s displeasure with Israel taking punitive form – they would be ones experiencing hardship, would be dark times for them

cannot run

cyclist, bear, meals on wheels – God’s judgment would surround with no way of excape: run from one threat into arms of another

in practice: one ally would turn on them, as Israel runs to another ally for help that one turns into enemy as well

cannot hide

expect home to be place of safety, haven from danger – not so on yom Yahweh… his eye penetrates everywhere

dark time

figurative, yes, but in more than one sense: will be time of reduced economic, political, cultural hopes; no deliverer in sight

period of spiritual darkness – Ezekiel for few years at beginning, Daniel near end, rest of Babylonian exile little heard from God

B. Accusation: Hypocrites! v.21-22

false hope – that hypocritical worship will be accepted

“The second and third paragraphs (5:21–27) deal with two kinds of unacceptable worship: Proper forms of worship are rejected because the worshiper’s life is not characterized by justice or righteous action, and deceptive forms of worship are rejected because the worshiper does not distinguish between proper and improper conceptions of God.” NIVAC

acting as though God’s law could be used as formula, algebraic function machine – put xyz in, turn handle, get abc out w/o regard for anything else

if they went through rituals by the book, God had to accept what they brought, give what he promised in return

not the act alone that comprises acceptable worship

what is declared by word and deed “in church” must be matched “in life” – talking with couple last week, expressed great frustration with Sunday Christians

God’s idea is 24/7 Christians – disciples fully devoted to him all the time, not dividing loyalty between Yahweh and selfish ends

Deut. 10:12-13“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul,and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?”

right worship must come from right heart and have right object

must be genuine believer focused on true God, as he has revealed himself, in all of Scripture

consider example of David – truly a great sinner yet one who had genuine heart for God, see Acts 13:22I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who will do all My will.”

Israel not significantly different from many professed Christians

prayed a prayer, have intellectual belief in existence of God, confident of eternal destiny… but no saving faith

may be strong sincere faith, yet without adequate foundation – will certainly fail to deliver according to expectations

C. Call for repentance v.23-24

take away the pretense, bring on the righteous behavior

Jesus addressed similar issue, Matt. 5:23-24 – leave gift at altar, go be reconciled, then offer gift: make sure daily life is in order, then come to worship

God not obliged to accept what people call worship

appearance of success not necessarily equivalent to blessing – Israel figured visible prosperity an indicator they were ok, God was blessing

same true today: those who pursue/promote popular form of worship equate large numbers / growth with God’s approval

Israel was most displeasing to God when were most prosperous, had most of what world perceived as evidence of success – has Western church fallen into same trap?

God expects seamless blending between worship and rest of life

yes, God deeply concerned with justice and righteousness, are foundational to life of Christ-follower, yet there is more

these two are broad examples – idea is this: if church friend and work friend each painted your portrait w/o collaborating, would obviously be of same person

not so for Israel – presented themselves in one way to God during worship and other rituals, as someone so different as almost unrecognizable rest of time

D. Accusation: Hypocrites! v.25-26

god shelf – YHWH plus Sikkuth and Chiun

was different competitors for loyalty in desert – that they spent 40 years in desert ought to make clear something was wrong

Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness – were they really offered to ME? were they offered only to ME?

same God by a different name?

perhaps that was logic behind golden calf – just another name / identity / representation of true God

same God but different characteristics?

use same name, call him God, think of and describe him differently from how he is revealed in Bible

Jews of Amos’ day doing same as Rachel (Gen. 31:19, 30, 34) – Yahweh is great, will carry these along just for extra insurance

E. Lament: certain judgment v.27

the God of the covenant will carry out terms of covenant… but not to destroy

because of disloyalty to Yahweh and covenant, would send into captivity, not destruction – God always has redemption of his people in view

the God of armies will ensure their exile

true God, speaking to them through Amos has both will and power to carry out his purpose… unlike their false gods

would learn to their dismay Sikkuth and Chiun were powerless: 2 Ki 17:16they abandoned all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made for themselves metal images of two calves; and they made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal.”

So what should we observe and avoid?

Be sure own house is truly in order before longing for God’s judgment – ok to want God to deal with enemies, just make sure we’re not among them

Orthopraxy must match orthodoxy – how we live should be consistent with what we say we believe

Be careful of false gods, challenge them in others’ thinking – e.g., “I like to think of God as…” be sure Bible substantiates that way of thinking

Remember: no escape when God moves in judgment – not a problem for those who are his, should bring lost to repentance

Above all, make sure our hope, our devotion focused on Christ alone, and that is how we steer others.