This is a book worthy of study in these contemporary times. It is more up-to-date than many think.
During these last few weeks I have given myself to serious study of the book of Amos.
Go to chapter 4 and read these amazing words, but read them in the context of the book and the days that dear Amos was prophesying.
Bethel is the House of God and is tied to the memories of Abraham and Jacob.
Gilgal, near Jericho, was associated with the crossing of the Jordan into the Promised Land.
Now there was serious sin in these places, just like the Temple in Jesus’ day.
There were many rites and rituals, but that was it.
God has been trying to reach these people, after all, they are His Chosen People.
But Israel has disregarded and rejected the warnings already given.
I gave you an empty stomach. That’s what it actually says: “clean teeth” meant food scarcity and if there was nothing to eat, they wouldn’t get dirty teeth. This did not keep people coming back.
You have experienced drought, and Jeremiah chapter 14 tells us the details and that it affects the fields, the animals and man.
What a picture when people staggered not from alcohol, but from their attempt to carry water over rough terrain.
That didn’t bring you back to me.
You have experienced blight or blight and locusts and devouring your crops and your orchards and your vineyards.
That didn’t bring you back to me.
You have seen plagues and wars, and you have lost some of your young. Israel is losing young people right now.
Plagues and wars do not normally turn people to God in repentance, but perhaps to God for help in times of trouble.
You have experienced natural disasters and I rescued you like a burning stick from the fire. That didn’t bring you back to me.
They had never known God and they had never made their peace with God.
Amos is saying, now prepare to meet Him in a way you never thought you would.
God’s patience has its limits.
It is a horrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Amos talks about how powerful our Almighty God is and who our Almighty God is.
He is the Creator.
He is prepared to reveal His thoughts to man, and we have in Jesus Christ this absolutely wonderful revelation of the living God, Who speaks and acts and moves and heals and loves and rescues, and Who chooses people to serve Him.
They didn’t listen, and Amos pleads again, tearfully, as we move into Chapter 5 of his prophetic book.
A lament always has that element of crying, and Amos is saddened by the condition of God’s people.
Israel is no longer a virgin, which means that she is no longer pure.
She has no one to help her because she doesn’t want help.
Or she is abandoned and dies prematurely, before she has been able to fulfill her calling and vocation as a wife and mother.
Help is always two-way. Ministry is always two-way.
The Hebrew word is QINAH, which people would immediately know is a death, like a song sung at a wake.
Amos is the only one who cries, just as Jesus was the only one who cried while looking at Jerusalem.
The people would not come to Amos.
They would not come under the safe protective wings of Jesus Christ, so we should not be surprised when they do not come through our ministries.
Of course there will be great sadness and crying.
They had strong cities, but that day was drawing to a close.
His word to the people is ‘Seek me and live’. Come to God and live. Come to God to save a healthy, safe and secure life!
They thought they had come to God. They thought they were fine, but they weren’t. Sin can cause spiritual blindness even among God’s called and chosen people!
For Israel, they were pleased to go to the place of worship and visit the so-called holy places, offer sacrifices and observe traditional rites and rituals.
For Amos, the man of God, worship implied obedience to His law, making His Will one’s own, living in communion with Him, and behaving compassionately and morally.
God’s people can affect a whole nation and a whole generation.