Amos was from Judah (southern) and he goes to Israel (northern) to give them a message from the Lord. At this time Israel was very prosperous. He was sent to bring a message regarding their social, political, and spiritual corruption. Why would they listen, they were feeling “blessed”. Everything was GREAT! He is smart and begins his message with the judgment of the surrounding nations. Smart! I can literally see the crowds gathering as they get excited about this news. “Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd”. (extra credit if you can tell me the movie) 😁 He even tells them why they will be judged:
- Damascus (capital of Aram), attacked Israel
- Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron are major cities in the Philistia, thus the verse about the Philistines
- Tyre (Phoenicia) several treaties were made there, as allies, and they broke their word.
- Edom (Edomites, Esau’s descendants) need I say more
- Ammon and Moab. (Lot’s children with his daughter) These wicked nations have been the center of idol worship and idolatry. Even though Israel has followed their culture, they never missed an opportunity to attack them
- Judah (south) for rejecting the Lord and neglecting God’s law. I bet they were most excited about hearing this!
So now that he has their attention, he tells them a message regarding their own judgment. Ouch. Chapter 2:6 the message turns on a dime: He will judge Israel for their greed, unjust ways, and their fake worship to the Lord. God reminds them:
10 I brought you up out of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness
to give you the land of the Amorites.
11 “I also raised up prophets from among your children
and Nazirites from among your youths.
Is this not true, people of Israel?”
He continues with how they will be crushed.
Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:
2 “You only have I chosen
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your sins.”
They were the only nation that was chosen. God was with them the whole way providing for them and winning their battles for them, yet they ignored God. Therefore, they will be taken into captivity!
11 Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
“An enemy will overrun your land,
pull down your strongholds
and plunder your fortresses.”
Sarcasm is my love language so when God speaks it I laugh…
4 “Go to Bethel and sin;
go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
your tithes every three years.
5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering
and brag about your freewill offerings—
boast about them, you Israelites,
for this is what you love to do,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
v6-13 is a great summary of how God provided and protected them and ends with a reminder to the people that HE IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY.
One verse that stood out (and I would love to put it on Facebook every time I see people weave scripture into their opinionated hateful message….but I won’t throw a stone)
Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
THEN chapter 5. Hear this Word! Seek me and Live!!! He begs us to return to Him!
Let’s go back to the TV analogy. Split-screen for sure. Then, Future, and I believe very much today. If you skimmed Ch 5 because the reading was long. Take a minute to read it (IN Green after this). When God looks down upon his people does He see the people like this today?
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!
25 “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings
forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king,
the pedestal of your idols,
the star of your god[b]—
which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,”
says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.