Summary: You cannot play with sin without a high price.
1. James Leach writes, “American’s may reasonably differ on whether state-crafted prayer, should be authorized in public schools, but it is an insecure, if not manipulative, view of the Christian faith, to imply that an agency of the state can block the presence of God. God is not excludable from any place.
A US Supreme Court cannot keep an omnipresent God out of our schools any more than Congress is needed to put Him back in.
2. No one decides what God does or doesn’t do, or where God goes or doesn’t go. Therefore no one can exclude God’s judgment. Make no mistake God said that judgment will fall on those who persist in sin – whether it be Gentile or Jew.
3. Whosoever Continues to Justify sin will meet God’s Judgment.
I. For starters, the Preface. 1:1-2
A. Time of the Prophecy.
Two years before the earthquake – Ryrie, “Referred to by Zechariah (14:5) and Josephus, who relates it to Uzziah’s sin in acting as a priest (2 Chron. 26:16).”
Richards, “Amos carefully specifies that his ministry was launched “two years before the earthquake?” Why? The prophet’s message of doom was scoffed at – things had never been so good! Then, as Amos words still echoed, a tremendous earthquake struck the land, a divine reminder that all in this world is transitory and vulnerable. Only in God and in His ways can a man find true security.” Heb. 12:25-29
B. Theme of the Prophecy.
The Lord roars – Amos portrayed the Lords judgment as a roaring lion! A lion is silent when he is stalking his prey, but when he catching it, and the kill is certain…he roars!
It speaks of the fierceness and total destruction that God’s judgment can bring.
A missionary in Africa said that “there are 3 beasts that wait for their prey: the lion, the leopard, and the hyena. The hyena does not devour, but attacks only the vital organs and quickly leaves after eating a few meager mouthfuls. The leopard too does not eat its prey, but desires only its blood. The lion, however, completely devours its helpless victim leaving not a single portion.”
II. Furthermore, the Prophecies of judgment. 1:3-2:16
A. Sledges of Torture – Damascus. 1:3-5
1. Reason for the judgment.
Damascus – was the major city of Syria.
For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four – “We would conclude that the significance of the 3 + 4 pattern in Amos is cumulative, stressing the completeness of sin and thereby the necessity for judgment. Transgression after transgression has led to a situation that can be tolerated no longer.” [Finly]
2. Rebellion that was the final straw.
Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron – “The iron threshing sledges were instruments of savage torture. When Damascus attacked Gilead [the territory of Reuben, Gad, and half tribe of Manasseh], they were ruthless. War is always full of atrocities, but God does not consider war on excuse for torture. Threshing was to be done to wheat, not to people.” [CBL] 2 Ki.10:32-33; 13:3-7
3. Ruin that was predicted.
But I will sent a fire – David Levy, “King Hazael act would result in total destruction of Damascus. First Benhadad’s palace was burned to the ground. Second, the city gates of Damascus would be completely destroyed. Third, the inhabitants from the “valley of Aven [most likely Baalbeck, a heathen worship center] unto “Beth Eden [the plush summer palace of the king] would be cut off. Those who survived the destruction would be taken captive to Kir, a place in Mesopotamia. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Assyrian Tighlath-pileser brought destruction on Damascus in 732 BC (2 Ki.16:7-9).”
B. Slave Trafficking – Gaza. 1:6-8
1. Reason for judgment. [completeness of their sin]
They took captive the whole captivity to deliver them to Edom – Philistia whose major capital Gaza, and other major cities: Ashdod, Ashkelon, and Ekron.
Gaza was a center for slave trading because of its location. Gaza would raid surrounding peoples, and then deport the people for financial gain. Some Israelis were sold into the hands of their bitter enemies, the Edomites.
Assyrian Tiglath-pileser III attacked Gaza in 743 BC, and later the Babylonians totally destroyed Philistia – her cities, her kings, and people.
C. Severing their Treaty – Tyre. 1:9-10
Delivered up the whole captivity to Edom – they also enslaved some Israelites and sold them into Edom.
Did not remember the covenant of brotherhood – there were several covenants that they made with Israel. One between King Hiram and David (2 Sam.5:11); one made between King Hiram and Solomon (I Ki. 5:2-6; 9:11-14); or one between king Hiram and Ahab
(I Ki. 16:29-31). Tyre, a major city of Phoenicia without any justification or provocation broke their treaty with Israel.