Amos 6-9

(This is a good one to listen to)

Chapter 6 (hard chapter…at least I thought so)

Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
    and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,

Woe…Lookout! Beware! Those that are complacent. Remember, this message was brought during a time of prosperity.  All of chapter 6 is talking about those who had their own “house”. (wait…I have a house!)To summarize, the sins of the Israelites were excessive entertainment, relaxation, food, music, drinking, and cosmetics.  Interesting isn’t it!

You drink wine by the bowlful
    and use the finest lotions,
    but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.

I know we talked about this is Psalms: We ask the Lord to break our hearts for what breaks His.  In James 4:8 it says:Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom.  

We should be weeping over the sin of the nation, we should mourn for the lost that act lost…they are lost!  Instead, we throw stones or laugh when they fall.  (Gosh am I a Debbie Downer today).  We need to pray that our hearts soften to those around us and grieve over their ruin.  Not rejoice. Sorry…I watched the news last night…it’s a mess out there.

14 For the Lord God Almighty declares,
    “I will stir up a nation against you, Israel,
that will oppress you all the way
    from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.”

Spoiler Alert: We know that nation will be Assyria.  Lebo Hammath and Arabah are the northern and southern boundaries of Israel.  God will raise up Assyria as an instrument to discipline the prideful nation-Israel. (Eventually, Judah will be disciplined too)

Chapter 7.

-Amos next recorded visions that he received from the Lord that described the results of the coming judgment of Israel.  Let’s put the remote back in our hand:

The first channel is a swarm of locusts that will devour the crops.  This is like a “movie trailer”.  Totally a split-screen (picture in picture).

  • We see Assyria could be the locusts that will devour the land
  • and we can also see the vision referring to the Second Coming of Christ and the Tribulation.
  • Amos prayed and God relented!  What?? Are you saying that if we pray as a nation we can actually make a difference?

Change the Channel.  Now we see a vision of fire.

  • We know that fire represents God’s judgment and He uses nature (drought) as an instrument (by the way can I share that I hate the term “Mother Nature”, I prefer “Father God”)  Next time you hear that phrase you are going to think “Ohhh that crazy Trish would roll her eyes right now”.  Anyway, God will usher in a drought/famine as a means to discipline.
  • again split screen-Near and Far prophecy at the same time.  (I CANNOT WAIT TO READ REVELATION WITH YOU!!  IT”S AWESOME AND NOT HARD!).
  • Amos prays…and God relents.  What??? God actually hears prayers and they matter??  News to many people.

Then the mic drops.  A plumbline.  Now, for you whippersnappers who don’t know what a plumbline is…back in my day, we hung wallpaper.  We tied a weight to the end of a string and hung it down the wall to give us a straight line…if you were fancy you dipped it in chalk and when you hung it, it left a mark on the wall.  Here is the deal: it was a perfect upright line.  Without it, everything was off-centered, crooked and eventually, when you got to the end it didn’t match at all!Plumb Line

What is the plumbline THEN and STILL is today?  God’s Word.  It is the straight line that everything should be measured from.  By comparing where Israel is to God’s plumbline there is only 1 thing left to do since they are so crooked now:

“‘Jeroboam will die by the sword,
    and Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.’”

Do you think a pagan priest from Bethel is going to take this message of doom sitting down?  NO!  He kicks Amos out but Amos get the last word:

“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
    and you yourself will die in a pagan country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.’”

Chapter 8-The Lord showed Amos a basket of summer fruit. The Lord asked him what he saw, he replied that he saw a basket of ripe summer fruit. Normally this would have been good associated with a harvest. Then God told him that Israel was also ripe, but ripe for judgment. The time would come to consume the fruit. Just as the final fruit of the summer signaled the end of the harvest season, so God’s ‘end’ for Israel was now at hand. God would judge the religious hypocrisy and greed of the people.

There is a lot of detail in this chapter and we can spend all day talking about it (but I am sure you are ready to move on with your day) but God does hone in on Dan: (memory recall: Who is Dan?)- put in comments.

14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria—
    who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’
    or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’—
    they will fall, never to rise again.”

If you can’t remember what was in Dan click here if you are interested.

Chapter 9. If you are having a hard time picturing the captivity, Chapter 9 is a pretty good description.  As we read we need to always look for the Covenant.  Will there be a survivor from the Line of David to bring the promised Messiah???

“Surely the eyes of the Sovereign Lord
    are on the sinful kingdom.
I will destroy it
    from the face of the earth.
Yet I will not totally destroy
    the descendants of Jacob,”
declares the Lord.

I end on a triple split-screen.  (Like Fox news likes to do)

  • 1 message is the remnant people who will be released from captivity after 70 years to rebuild the Temple.
  • The second screen will be the restoration of the Jews at the time of the Tribulation in Revelation.
  • But what is the 3rd screen?  Could it be the restoration of Israel in the present day?  This is high-order thinking so if you get lost on this it is ok.  Israel was RESTORED and considered a nation not to be uprooted.

15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
    never again to be uprooted
    from the land I have given them,”

says the Lord your God.

The short story is: Israel was not a nation for 2000 years until May 14th, 1948.  We will definitely talk about this when we get to Ezekial.  BUT President Truman, a man that read his Bible was given an opportunity to recognize Israel as a state,  AND DID (against Roosevelt’s recommendation not to get involved (not sure he has a Bible).  However, I find it ironic that our county’s prosperity has grown ever since Truman signed this:

Pretty cool huh!!

Amos 1-5

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.

Chapter 3:

Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt:

“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…

“Go to Bethel and sin;
    go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three years.
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.

Amos Overview for tomorrow

The Book of Amos addresses:

  •  the excessive pursuit of luxury,
  • self-indulgence
  • oppression of the poor which characterized the period of prosperity and success in the Northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam II.Picture

This book is basically a message of judgment: prophecies of judgment on the nations AND  against Israel. Amos begins with a series of indictments against the seven neighbors of Israel, then Israel itself. The rich are condemned because of their oppression of the poor and for their religious hypocrisy.

True religion demands righteous living, and the way people treat others reveals their relationship with God.  (re-read that)

Amos was a prophet from Judah (southern) with a message to Israel (northern) during the reign of Uzziah (south) and Jeroboam (north). Imagine giving a message of doom to the other team? Ugg. Amos was not a prophet before this, a son of a prophet, or even a priest like Samuel. He was just a sheepherder, however, from his writing, we can assume he was educated.

The two kingdoms during this time are at an all-time high. Peace with neighbors, Assyria was not as powerful, and prosperity was growing. Listen, God is not against prosperity, God is against sin. Unfortunately usually with increased prosperity comes increased sin. Amos goes to Bethel because Bethel was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Idolatry was everywhere. As you may recall from reading 2 Kings they were worshipping a golden calf and going through the ‘religious motions’. Since the division of the nation into North and South 200 years has passed. God has already sent Elijah, Elisha, and Jonah. With not a single degree of the nation turning from their sinful ways, God now sends people like Amos and Hosea at the same time to warn them. This time the Lord wants the message delivered courageously and directly, and Amos will do just that.

People who think that God is all about wrath and punishment need to dig into the Prophecy books. He loves His people so much that He is giving them opportunity after opportunity of warning to repent! And He is IGNORED.

I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2)

I sat in a canoe today in the foothills of South Carolina with my earbuds in and did a “listen through” of the book of Amos.  It was an easy read but I will tell you it rocked my world!  I can’t wait for you to read it. (Honestly, I don’t think you will need to read the blog the next 2 days….you got this!)