Summary: Times have changed and the names on the map have changed, but God remains the same and man’s response to Him remains the same. God’s pattern of judgment remains the same also.
1. God’s grace
2. Man’s response
3. Man’s conviction
4. God’s judgment
How many times have you ever heard a sermon that you thought, “Boy, I wish so-and-so was here.” Or, “I hope so-and-so is listening.” One thing, preachers love hearing Amens. So much so, that some will fall into the trap of pulling out amen lines. What are amen lines? Well, a sure way to get amens is to preach against somebody else’s sin. Something that I don’t have a problem with. If you want to get real loud amens, preach in front of a ladies group about how their husbands are supposed to act. That’ll work every time. That’s why Amos was getting such a willing audience. Now remember who Amos was. He had the deck stacked against him. He was a no-name, nobody from nowhere. And he was an outsider. He was from Judah and God called him to preach in Israel. So imagine how well received he would have been if he had come right in with guns blazing preaching against Israel. They would have thrown him out without even listening. So, what did he do? He started off preaching about other people’s sin. As you look through the first and second chapter, Amos preached against each of the nations that surrounded Israel. He started with those dirty rotten Syrians. Their capital was Damascus and they were northeast of Israel. Amen! God needs to judge Damascus. Then he moved to the Philistines in Gaza. They were southwest of Israel. Well, you know what a pain the Philistines have been. They’ve been causing problems since before Goliath. Amen! Get ‘em God! Next was Tyre. Tyre was on the coast, northwest of Israel. They were no good, too. Right Amos—God can get them too. Then Edom and Ammon and Moab. Those nations formed a triangle off to Israel’s southeast. Israel had had problems with each of them throughout their history. Amen Amos. All of them are bad—judge ‘em God! Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. That was six nations. Hebrew literature is very dependent on numbers. And they viewed six as an incomplete number. So no preacher in his right mind would have had a sermon with six points. So Amos’ listeners knew one more was coming. And they knew it was going to be a big one. The seventh and last point was always the biggest. Hebrew tradition called for saving the best for last. So, who was Amos’ seventh point? Judah. Amos’ home country. Israel’s closest neighbor. The other half of the divided kingdom. Those people who thought they were so special because they had Jerusalem and the temple. Now we know what God really thinks about them. He’s going to judge them just like all the other nations around us. Amen—good sermon Amos! Boy, you really stepped on some toes there! You can almost hear the Bible covers zipping, can’t you? Israel was done listening, but Amos wasn’t done preaching. Oh, by the way Israel, I’m not quite finished yet. I have an 8th point. Chapter 2 in the first part of verse 6 says: “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.” Oh, yeah Israel—God’s going to judge you too. I imagine you could’ve heard a pin drop. There were certainly no amens anymore. In this passage that runs from 1:3 through the end of chapter 2, Amos is telling Israel about God’s pattern of judgment. And God displays His pattern in how He pronounces judgment on the nations, on Judah, and finally on Israel. Times have changed and the names on the map have changed, but God remains the same. But not only does God remain the same, man’s response to Him remains the same. And because of those two things, God’s judgment remains the same also. Tonight, I want each of us to avoid God’s judgment by responding to His grace in the right way. In order to do that, we’re going to look at four elements in God’s pattern of judgment. The first element is God’s grace.