Summary: Amos 5:18-27 shows us that nominal religion provides no hope for the present or eternity.
Commentator Gordon Keddie tells the story of two men who were discussing the whys and wherefores of the biblical “millennium” mentioned in Revelation 20:4. Which of the three classic interpretations of this period was correct? Was it premillennialism, postmillennialism, or amillennialism?
“Oh,” said the one man, “I have the solution to the problem. I call it ‘panmillennialism.’ ”
His companion was puzzled. “What is ‘panmillennialism’?” he asked.
“It means,” came the reply, “that everything will pan out all right in the end!”
Many people think like this about death and eternity. They think that one way or another that everything will work out okay for them in the end.
People who are atheists—and there are a growing number of atheists today—believe that a person ceases to exist the moment he takes his last breath. All that counts is now and how we live today. So, they don’t concern themselves with anything beyond this life.
There are many major religions, and all are different than Christianity. They each have some view of life after death and how one attains it. In every instance, one attains life after death by good works that are performed in this life. Of course, they are all going to find out that their religion was wrong and people who hold to those religions will find themselves experiencing hell for all eternity.
But what about people who profess to be Christians? There are vast numbers of professing Christians who are involved in religious activity and worship. They will discover that God is not pleased with their worship. Commentator James Montgomery Boice offers the following insight:
It is important to understand two steps in the spiritual decline of nominally religious people. Such people do not live for God, though they think they do. They live for self, and the first stage of their decline is to put off the day of reckoning. At this stage they know what is right and expect to do the right someday. But in the meantime, they want the imagined benefits of a life of sin. The second stage comes when sin has so trapped them and distorted their thinking that they lose sight of what is right or wrong and imagine their sin to be right conduct. At this point, far from putting off the day of reckoning, they actually desire it. They imagine that their deeds will be vindicated and that the people they have wronged will be shown to be deserving of their conduct.
Such is the thinking of vast numbers of professing Christians.
And such also was the thinking of Israel in the time of the Prophet Amos. You recall that Amos went to the northern kingdom of Israel and preached to them a message from God. He preached around 760 BC. Both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were experiencing relative peace from their surrounding enemies. They were also experiencing great prosperity. So, the people believed that God was blessing them. After all, they were carrying out worship in the northern kingdom of Israel and people were active. Therefore, God must be blessing them.
But along comes the Prophet Amos who shatters their deluded thinking. He insists that nominal religion provides no hope for the present or eternity.
Let us read Amos 4:1-5:17:
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord!
Why would you have the day of the Lord?
It is darkness, and not light,
19 as if a man fled from a lion,
and a bear met him,
or went into the house and leaned his hand
against the wall,
and a serpent bit him.
20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light,
and gloom with no brightness in it?
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings
and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
24 But let justice roll down like waters,
and righteousness like an ever-flowing
25 “Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 26 You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves, 27 and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. (Amos 5:17-28)
Amos 5:18-27 shows us that nominal religion provides no hope for the present or eternity.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. The Day of the Lord Brings No Hope (5:18-20)