Summary: Israel cried out for the day of the Lord to come, but God warned them that they didn't really want that. Today many Christians say, "I just wish Jesus would come back!" but is that something we're actually ready for?
WHEN THE WORLD DEPRESSES US WITH ITS EVIL: “I just wish Jesus would come back!”
- Amos 5:18-20.
- The point of v. 19 is things going from bad to worse.
- There are two illustrations.
- In the first, a man runs from a lion. But then, exhausted, he runs right into a bear.
- In the second, a man comes into his place of safety only to get bitten by a snake.
- In light of v. 18, the point that is being made is something like this: you think the arrival of the day of the Lord is going to move things from bad to good. The truth is, though, that it would actually make things go from bad to worse. Why? Because you’re not ready for God. You are not serving and honoring God.
- Be careful what you wish for, God says to Israel here.
- In v. 18 God says “woe to you who long for the day of the Lord.”
- He asks them why they are longing for it. Obviously, it’s because they believe that it will be a day when God will destroy Israel’s enemies while praising Israel for being His people. That, it turns out, is not even close to being accurate. It will be a day of “darkness, not light.”
- What does that mean? It means that it is going to be a day of judgment.
- Verse 20 further emphasizes the point.
- Today we often hear Christians say, “I just wish Jesus would come back!”
- This usually happens when that person has heard news of a new inhumanity or of some sign of society going down the tubes. This passage should cause us to pause and ask, “Are we sure that’s something we should be wishing for?”
- Certainly we are saved, but could there be things that we are doing that put us in a similar category as Israel in this passage? Could it be that we would be subject to chastisement and humiliation rather than a joyful reunion?
- “But I’m saved!” Sure, you may be one of God’s people, but Israel was God’s people too.
- Let’s look into this passage more deeply and see what we learn about Israel and ourselves in it.
WHAT EXACTLY WAS ISRAEL DOING WRONG?
1. Their worship services.
- Amos 5:21.
- Back then they had several religious feasts each year. They amounted to lengthy religious celebrations. So these weren’t just your typical Saturday synagogue meeting.
- They put an enormous amount of time, effort, and money into these. People traveled from great distances. The activities would last for several days. The Mosaic Law commanded them to put aside 10% of their income to fund the various festivals throughout the year.
- Yet God was not pleased.
- In fact, it’s more than just not being pleased – v. 21 uses the phrases “despise” and “cannot stand.” Those are strong statements.
- God wasn’t happy with the way that they were worshiping.
2. Their offerings.
- Amos 5:22.
- The Mosaic Law commanded a number of different offerings. In v. 22 we have three mentioned: burnt offerings, grain offerings, and fellowship offerings. I don’t think it’s necessary for our purposes here to drill down into the specifics of each offering or to explore the other offerings. It suffices for us to simply note that there were a number of offerings that Israel was to bring before God as part of their worship and that God here says He will not accept them.
- God is unhappy with their offerings.
3. Their praise music.
- Amos 5:23.
- As part of their worship and their festivals they had music.
- But God is displeased with their songs. Undoubtedly they invoke God’s name, but they are not truly honoring to Him.
4. Their idols.
- Amos 5:25-26.
- The question in v. 25 is to be answered in the negative. Rather, they have continued to have idols that they worshiped.
- This, of course, is breathtaking when you consider all the miracles that God did for them in bringing them out of Egypt, yet they continued to bow down to false gods.
- Now, let’s go back through those four things, but talk about the church in America today. Are there ways that we do similar things?
- We want to see if we too need to think twice about longing for the day of the Lord.
1. Our worship services.
- Amos 5:21.
- Let’s look at some potential issues within the American church’s worship services:
a. Are we focused in worship on pleasing God or on what pleases us and makes us enjoy the service?
b. Do we sense the Holy Spirit in our midst naturally or do we try to manufacture emotional “Holy Spirit moments” through manipulative music and speech?