Summary: The need for forgiveness and reconciliation among believers.
A Family Divided
Amos 1: 11-12
CALVIN CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH
A Family Divided p.1
Our story tonight begins in a tent somewhere in Palestine, according to historians in or about 2006BC.
A woman is in the last painful moments of labour. She gives birth to twins, to the ones we know as Esau and
Jacob. Of them the Lord said in Genesis 25: Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you
will be separated...
The relationship between those two sons of Rebekah was less than placid, as the subsequent chapters of
scripture reveal. There is deception, the threat of murder, tense encounter, more deception.
The two boys grow, each the ancestor of a nation. Esau, also known as Edom because of his red
complexion, fathered the Edomites; Jacob, the Israelites. These two clans became neighboring nations, Israel to
the north, Edom to the south. They even speak different dialects of the same language.
The Israelites and Edomites - blood kin. In fact, a number of times throughout the Old Testament they
are mentioned as such (Num 20.14; Deut 2.4; 23.7; Obad 10, 12). But, like their patriarchs, the history of their
relationship is less than cordial. It is filled with constant struggle, plotting and treachery. During the time of the
kings it was particularly difficult. Whenever a major power would come against Israel, Edom would lurk as a
vulture in the background, trying to pick off some remnant spoils, taking advantage of his brother to the north.
It is this stormy relationship that now becomes the focus of the prophecy of Amos, as he thunders forth
the Word of the Lord.
After the introductory words, which we saw last day, Amos begins rendering his prophetic judgements.
He does not immediately confront Israel with her sins, however. First he speaks to the surrounding nations - the
Syrians, the Philistines, and the Phoenicians. Each has been engaged in some sort of attrocity that is a stench
in the nostrels of God.
The Syrians had been very cruel, torturing the Hebrews in the area east of Galilee. Brutality - v.3.
The Philistines had sent whole communities into captivity, as had the Phoenicians, even in spite of a
treaty made with the Israelites - v.6
These neighbors of Israel had treated life with contempt, degrading and destroying it. Now they would
face the judgement of God for those crimes.
Amos then turns his attention closer to home. No longer is it just neighbors. Now the kinfolk of Israel
come under scrutiny. The lion continues to roar, but the roaring is coming uncomfortably close.
Judgement roars for Edom - the cousin of Israel.
And for what does the Lord condemn Edom? Have a look at verse 11-12.
Is it for the fact that she was part of the Phoenician slave-trading (see v.9), a vile offense that would be the
downfall of Tyre?
Well, yes that was a travesty, but NO it is NOT the worst of it all.
In fact, there is no particular event in which Edom was occured which incurred the tremendous wrath of God.
Rather it was an ongoing attitude, a constant lifestyle.
Notice that "the only thing said about Edom is that he is the constant enemy of his brother. Edom is
accused of suppressing his natural feelings toward blood relations and perpetuating his hatred, refusing to be
reconciled with his enemy.
So stubborn was Edom in his anger and his unwillingness to forgive that the prophet Ezekiel later put
his finger into the same wound when he declared on God’s behalf: ’Because Edom took deliberate revenge on
Judah and by so doing incurred lasting guilt...’ (Ezek 25.12)."
[Veltkamp Farmer From Tekoa p.43]
Because of Edom’s unwillingness to be reconciled the great Edomite fortresses of Teman and Bozrah,
the military centres near the Judean border, would be destroyed, and the nation incapacitated.
A Family Divided p.2
Consider that carefully, brothers and sisters. The great and evil sin of slave trading is nothing; it is trivial
compared to the sin of irreconcilability between brothers.
Notice it - slave trading doesn’t even get a by-line,
not so much as a whisper in the judgement against Edom.
What is front and centre?
Hatred of a brother.
Nothing else compares, in God’s eyes.
Ah - we are so easy, sometimes to develop little lists, ratings as it were, of the “top 10" sins – those that get us
most desperately upset and on the way to action.
Falwell and Robertson did it right after the attack on New York, saying glibly that it was the abortionists,
feminists and homosexuals that led to this event to occur as God’s judgement.
Lest we point a finger, our Synod at one point rendered a judgement saying how reprehensible it would be for