A. Do you ever read the “TOP TEN WORST” lists?
The TOP TEN WORST DRESSED at the Academy Awards. The TOP TEN WORST MOVIES of the year. The TOP TEN WORST VACATION SPOTS in America.
1. We find these LISTS somewhat AMUSING, but what if there were a “TOP TEN WORST LIST” of
which you could POTENTIALLY be on?
The TOP TEN WORST NEIGHBORS on your STREET. The TOP TEN WORST EMPLOYEES at your PLACE of WORK. . . .The TOP TEN WORST MEMBERS of Garfield Christian Church. (That list will be in the bulletin next week.)
2. Obviously, we don’t want our NAMES to APPEAR on any TOP TEN WORST LIST, but imagine what it would be like to APPEAR on a LIST that God put together.
a. God compiles a sort of WORST LIST of NATIONS and CITIES on which He is going to bring JUDGMENT, and He uses the prophet Amos to present that LIST.
b. Now, there aren’t 10 listed, but there are 8. And two of the NATIONS on that LIST are Israel and Judah.
B. Amos prophesies during a time when there was much CORRUPTION among the NATIONS.
1. He prophesied around 760-750 BC.
2. Amos was a RESIDENT of the Southern Kingdom of Judah.
a. He lived in the hill country of Tekoa located about 12 miles south of Jerusalem.
b. The surrounding terrain was RUGGED and UNINVITING.
3. Amos’ occupation was that of a SHEPHERD and care-taker of SYCAMORE trees, a type of FIG tree.
Because of his OCCUPATION, Amos lived a RUGGED and HARD LIFE. He was not a shepherd for DOMESTIC sheep that we see in our PASTURES today, but a type of MOUNTAIN
sheep that ran FREELY in the HILLS. The work of a SHEPHERD constituted that of the POOR, which undoubtedly intensified his MESSAGE against Israel for their GREED and MISTREATMENT of the POOR.
4. Amos’ name means “BURDEN-BEARER”.
C. Politically, it was a GOOD TIME for Israel and Judah.
1. None of the surrounding NATIONS had sufficient STRENGTH to give them any TROUBLE.
They had fortified their cities, increased their armies, and won one battle after another reaping the REWARDS of their VICTORIES. It was a time of EXPANSION, PROSPERITY, and PEACE.
2. But little did the Northern Kingdom of Israel know that within a short 30 years they would be completely annihilated and carried off into CAPTIVITY by the Assyrians—with Judah soon to follow.
I. JUDGEMENT AGAINST THE NATIONS- chapters 1-2
A. Amos begins his MESSAGE of DOOM- Amos 1:2 (READ)
1. Even as a LION startles his PREY with a ROAR, so does God startle the NATIONS with His voice as an ECHOING THUNDER.
a. God can no longer tolerate their WICKEDNESS.
b. He is the JUDGE, JURY, and EXECUTIONER.
The other prophets we studied presented a message to REPENT and be SPARED, but not this time. The NATIONS have been found GUILTY and their SENTENCE has been SET—they are DOOMED.
2. Before pronouncing JUDGMENT upon Israel, God begins with her NEIGHBORS.
a. Three of these, “Damascus, Gaza, and Tyre” were not related to Judah and Israel.
b. The nations of “Edom, Ammon, and Moab” were. (You may recall that we discussed the sins
of Edom committed against Judah when we studied the prophet of Obadiah)
c. God also judges the nation of “Judah”, the home of the prophet Amos.
3. Before the pronounced judgment of each region, we see the REPEATED CONDEMNATION:
“This is what the Lord says, ‘For three sins, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.’”
a. First of all, Amos wants his HEARERS to understand that they are being CONDEMNED by
God, and not him. This is God’s JUDGMENT!
b. Secondly, the phrase: “For three sins, even for four…” meant that the WICKEDNESS of the
nations were OVERFLOWING.
-We know from Genesis 15:16 that God had delayed His JUDGEMENT upon the Amorites
because “their sin had not yet reached full measure.”
This shows how PATIENT God has been with these NATIONS. He WAITED not only until their WICKEDNESS reached “FULL MEASURE” to pronounce JUDGMENT upon them, but until it was OVERFLOWING. But ENOUGH is ENOUGH. No more DELAYS.
B. Each of the regions were JUDGED for specific SINS, and would be PUNISHED- Amos 1:3-2:16
1. Now, I can just picture the nation of Israel CHEERING on the PROPHET as he begins to pronounce
JUDGMENT upon her ENEMIES:
a. Chapter 1:3- “For three sins of DAMASCUS, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.”
- “Preach it Amos! God is finally destroying our ENEMY for their WICKEDNESS.”
b. Chapter 1:6, 9- “For three sins of GAZA and TYRE, even for four...”
- “Amen, brother! Those SLAVE TRAFFICKERS. They deserve what’s coming to
c. Chapter 1:11- “For three sins of EDOM, even for four...”
-“That’s right, Amos! They should be destroyed for the way they MISTREATED us; their own FLESH and BLOOD.”
d. Chapter 2:4- “For three sins of JUDAH, even for four…”
-“Oh, you are a good man, Amos! We didn’t know for sure if you would go there, being from Judah and all. But those pious HYPOCRITES think that God can only be WORSHIPED in Jerusalem. God is going to show them.”
e. Chapter 2:6- “For three sins of ISRAEL, even for four, I will not turn back my wrath.”
-“Ah-oh!! Now, Amos, you’ve QUIT preaching and gone to MEDDLING.”
2. Don’t think for one moment that God doesn’t CARE ABOUT what NATIONS and GOVERNMENTS do. If God wants to bring a NATION down, nothing can stop Him.
II. JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL- chapters 3-6
A. Israel is JUDGED for two reasons:
1. SOCIAL CORRUPTION—their mistreatment of the poor. Amos 8:4-6 (READ & COMMENT)
a. Amos condemns the RICH RULING class of Israel who SQUEEZE all they can get of the poor.
The poor come to the MARKET PLACE with what little money they have to buy WHEAT to make their BREAD, only to find that the PRICE has gone up. The wealthy merchant then weighs the GRAIN on SCALES that has been CALIBRATED in his FAVOR, deceiving the POOR into thinking that they have more WHEAT than they actually do. But even worse, the GOOD WHEAT is mixed in with the CHAFF that is SWEPT off the FLOOR.
b. Listen to what Amos calls the WIVES of these RICH RULERS- 4:1 (READ)
He compares them to the FAT COWS that GRAZE off the plush PASTURES of Bashan just east of the Jordan River (not very flattering). These WIVES have become FAT off the EXPENSE of the POOR. They bid their husbands to go STOMP and ROB another POOR PERSON so they can buy them another DRINK.
Because of the way they MISTREATED the POOR, God said that “He will demolish their SUMMER and WINTER HOMES, and IVORY MANSIONS”- Amos 3:15.
c. God wants us to CARE for those less FORTUNATE than ourselves.
Have you ever thought it possible to put God in your DEBT? Solomon writes, “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord”- Proverbs 19:17. By CARING for the POOR we put God in our DEBT. But one thing for certain, God always PAYS His BILLS. Solomon concludes the verse, “but He will reward him for what he has done.”
2. RELIGIOUS CORRUPTION
When the nation of Israel became a DIVIDED KINGDOM, with Israel to the North and Judah to the south, there was much contention between the two NATIONS.
So Jeroboam I, the King of Israel, decided to set up GOLDEN CALVES in Dan (northern Israel) and Bethel (to the south) to be WORSHIPPED, so the people would not go into Jerusalem to WORSHIP at the TEMPLE of God.
a. Their WORSHIP became MEANINGLESS—“VAIN WORSHIP”- Amos 5:21-23 (READ &
They went through the MOTIONS of WORSHIP and did all the right RELIGIOUS ACTS as God COMMANDED, but their WORSHIP was without HEART and SOUL.
b. So God says, “I DESPISE your WORSHIP.”
Are there times when God DESPISES our WORSHIP? We do everything that God commands of us: We SING, we PRAY, we PREACH, we COMMUNE, we GIVE. And yet, how often are we guilty of sitting in this ASSEMBLY on Sunday mornings taking our FOCUS off of God and onto other MATTERS?
c. We read earlier in Amos 8:5 that the people ask, “When will the New Moon and Sabbath be
over (“WHEN IS WORSHIP GOING TO BE DONE!”) so that we can get back to our
business of making money?”
When we come together to WORSHIP our MINDS and HEARTS are to be FOCUSED on God, not on what we’ll be having for LUNCH that afternoon, or on the GAME that evening, or the MEETING with the BOSS on Monday morning. God DESERVES and DEMANDS our full ATTENTION to be on Him.
d. God said to the Israelites that He does not ACCEPT their Worship, and in fact will “turn their religious feasts into mourning (SORROW), and your singing into weeping”- Amos 8:10
B. As a RESULT of their SOCIAL and RELIGIOUS CORRUPTION, God wanted Israel to know, “Your
day is coming!”
1. Amos stresses that “The Day of the Lord” (God’s JUDGMENT) is NEAR, and there is no way to
ESCAPE- Amos 5:18-20 (READ)
Picture yourself staying in a CABIN at Yellowwood State Forest in Brown County. You are walking through the WOODS back to your CABIN after a day of FISHING when suddenly you hear a NOISE back in the WOODS about 50 yards from you.
You don’t think much of it until you hear a GROWL and you look up and see a MOUNTAIN LION heading right for you. You take off running through the WOODS as FAST as you can. You RUN until you can RUN no more, so you stop to take a BREATHER and look around and there is
no LION in sight.
You continue trekking through the WOODS toward the CABIN. But when the CABIN is just in sight, you come face-to-face with a big BLACK BEAR that starts CHARGING toward you. Once again you take off RUNNING as you FAST can toward the CABIN with the BEAR hot on your TRAIL. In the NICK of TIME you REACH and ENTER the CABIN and BAR the DOOR shut.
By this time you are EXHAUSTED. Twice you almost DIED. So you breathe a SIGH of RELIEF and LEAN BACK against the WALL to REST, only to be BITTEN by a RATTLESNAKE.
2. Amos is telling the nation of Israel that this time “YOU CANNOT ESCAPE GOD’S WRATH. THERE IS NO PLACE TO TURN.”
III. VISIONS OF THE FUTURE- chapters 7-9
A. Amos sees a series of VISIONS depicting God’s JUDGMENT upon Israel.
1. The first VISION is a “LOCUST PLAGUE”- 7:1-3 (We already saw how devastating that was
to the nation of Judah in the book of Joel)
a. Amos pleaded for God’s MERCY to be shown toward Israel.
b. And God RELENTED and did not send the LOCUSTS.
2. The second VISION is a “DEVOURING FIRE”- 7:4-6
a. Once again Amos pleaded for God’s MERCY.
b. And the Lord relented and said, “This will not happen either.”
Remember the prophet Amos is from Judah, a RIVAL to Israel. And, yet, Amos is deeply concerned for this NATION—unlike Jonah who wanted to see Nineveh destroyed.
3. The third VISION is a “PLUMB LINE” (a device which checked how VERTICALLY straight
a WALL is)- 7:7-9
a. God placed the PLUMB LINE against Israel and saw how FAR she was LEANING away from
Him because of her CORRUPTION.
b. They REFUSED every “CALL to REPENTANCE” that God sent as recorded in Amos 4-5, and
now God could SPARE them no LONGER.
It is true that God is a PATIENT GOD “who doesn’t want to see anyone perish, but all to come to repentance”- 2 Peter 3:9. But it is also true that God is a JUST GOD, and that one day all the WICKED and those who refuse to OBEY will be PUNISHED.
4. The fourth VISION is a “SUMMER FRUIT BASKET”- 8:1-3
a. Because of the Israel’s WICKEDNESS and refusal to REPENT, she is RIPE and no longer will
b. Amos 8:3- “‘In that day,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!’”
5. The fifth and final VISION is “THE LORD STANDING AT THE ALTAR PRONOUNCING
FINAL JUDGMENT UPON ISRAEL”- 9:1-10
This is not what God wanted. He wanted His people to REPENT and RETURN to Him so they could LIVE. There will no place for Israel to RUN and HIDE on the day of God’s Judgment, when finally Assyria comes and DESTROYS the NATION.
B. As Amos concludes his book, God leaves us with a FLICKERING LIGHT shining through the DARK
MESSAGE of Amos- 9:11-12 (READ)
1. This describes the RESTORATION of Israel
a. The TENT (tabernacle) of David will be ERECTED once more under the MESSIAH.
b. Not the PHYSICAL tabernacle, the SPIRITUAL one—the CHURCH of Jesus Christ.
2. James quotes this passage in Acts 15:16-18 and points out that “the PROMISE made through the
prophet Amos found its fulfillment when the CHURCH was EXTENDED to the Gentiles.”
a. You and I and every follower of Jesus Christ are RECIPIENTS of this PROMISE.
b. Again, this is what God promised Abraham when He said, “through your offspring all the NATIONS of the EARTH will be BLESSED”- Genesis 22:18.
3. Through the Church of Jesus Christ the Kingdom of Israel is RESTORED.
a. Kingdom blessed with EVERY SPIRITUAL ABUNDANCE (far greater blessings than riches)
b. Kingdom of PEACE.
c. Kingdom that will endure FOREVER!
A. Pray that the CHURCH will always be STRONG, and that we will never hear the words, “For three sins, even for four, I will not turn away from my wrath.”
B. Next week we will study the Minor Prophet Hosea: The Love of God. We will see God as a HUSBAND and a FATHER.