Summary: The chastening of God often goes unrecognized in the lives of his people, but the only true way to "find rest" is to yield and repent.
The Chastening Of God
Text: Amos 4:6-12
• Amos the prophet lived and ministered during the reigns of :
i) King Jeroboam II in Israel
ii) King Uzziah in Judah
a. The kingdom was split
i. 10 tribes in the north - Israel
ii. 2 tribes in the south – Judah
• He himself lived in a town called Tekoah which was about 6 miles south of Bethlehem in Judah
• He spoke out against sin and prophesied over both Israel and Judah
• He lived in a time of great prosperity
• It was a post war period, and the people felt God was indicating his divine pleasure / approval upon them in their having victory and prosperity
• Socially there were only two classes of people, the very rich and the very poor
• The rich enjoyed the great luxury and indulged in all the pleasure money cold buy
• The poor were oppressed and injustice was practiced in the country
• Spiritually, true religion had been so compromised that it was only a “form of religion.”
• The religion of the people produced no moral effects in their lives
• Politically, as a nation they depended upon their financial and military strengths for their existence among the nations of the earth. (How much that had changed from when they were coming into the promised land and had to depend upon God for their continued existence.)
• To the people it seemed at that time that all was right with their world. But the prophet of God however saw the signs of decay. The evidence of poison in the blood, and the inevitable calamities that lied ahead for these people who were unable to “Read the Signs of the Times.”
Amos declared a side of God’s character that offended many of the people in his day, to the point that they attempted to silence him. I think it may very well be a part of God’s character that many are still offended by today. His Righteousness and His Judgement of sin.
I. God’s Chastisement Went Unrecognized and Unheeded
In our text today the Prophet Amos gives us at least four chastisements of God that went unrecognized and unheeded by God’s people.
i) God Sent Famine Upon Them (4:6)
6 And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places; yet have ye not returned unto me, saith Jehovah.
ii) God Withheld the Rain (4:7-8)
7 And I also have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest; and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. 8 So two or three cities wandered unto one city to drink water, and were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith Jehovah.
The people simply thought they had undergone a drought.
They did not receive the rain at the time when the crops needed it.
Many incorrectly assume that the laws of “Mother nature” are in control of such things as Amos speaks about. But they fail to recognize that operating far above the “natural laws” is the one who created all things for His good pleasure and who has ultimate control – God the Father, creator of Heaven and Earth.
iii) God Sent Crop Failure (4:9)
9 I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: the multitude of your gardens and your vineyards and your fig-trees and your olive-trees hath the palmer-worm devoured: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith Jehovah.
Once again the people failed to see the hand of God at work in their lives.They just thought that the season had produced an unusually large number of insects.
But God is like a doctor who must at times keep poking at us until it hurts.
I remember it like it was yesterday, when a few years ago, after the Sunday evening service I went out of the church to our family van to find my teenage son bent over in serve pain. I suspected it might have been appendicitis and so we drove immediately to the hospital. As he laid on the stretcher in the emergency room, first a nurse, then a doctor, then another intern each came in to examine him. Each one would probe at him with their fingers until it “hurt.” They definitely had his attention, and he knew he had a serious problem.
Sometimes God has to keep probing us until hurts. Sometimes to get our attention and to help us realize that we have a serious problem we need to address.
iv) God Chastened them with War (4:10-11)