July 10, Amos 1-5

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The words of Amos, who was one of the sheep breeders[a] from Tekoa—what he saw regarding Israel in the days of King Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

He said:

The Lord roars from Zion
and makes his voice heard from Jerusalem;
the pastures of the shepherds mourn,[b]
and the summit of Carmel withers.

Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Damascus
for three crimes, even four,
because they threshed Gilead with iron sledges.
Therefore, I will send fire against Hazael’s palace,
and it will consume Ben-hadad’s citadels.
I will break down the gates[c] of Damascus.
I will cut off the ruler from the Valley of Aven,
and the one who wields the scepter from Beth-eden.
The people of Aram will be exiled to Kir.
The Lord has spoken.

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Gaza
for three crimes, even four,
because they exiled a whole community,
handing them over to Edom.
Therefore, I will send fire against the walls of Gaza,
and it will consume its citadels.
I will cut off the ruler from Ashdod,
and the one who wields the scepter from Ashkelon.
I will also turn my hand against Ekron,
and the remainder of the Philistines will perish.
The Lord God has spoken.

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Tyre
for three crimes, even four,
because they handed over
a whole community of exiles to Edom
and broke[d] a treaty of brotherhood.
10 Therefore, I will send fire against the walls of Tyre,
and it will consume its citadels.

11 The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Edom
for three crimes, even four,
because he pursued his brother with the sword.
He stifled his compassion,
his anger tore at him continually,
and he harbored his rage incessantly.
12 Therefore, I will send fire against Teman,
and it will consume the citadels of Bozrah.

13 The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing the Ammonites
for three crimes, even four,
because they ripped open
the pregnant women of Gilead
in order to enlarge their territory.
14 Therefore, I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah,
and it will consume its citadels.
There will be shouting on the day of battle
and a violent wind on the day of the storm.
15 Their king and his princes
will go into exile together.
The Lord has spoken.

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Moab
for three crimes, even four,
because he burned the bones
of the king of Edom to lime.
Therefore, I will send fire against Moab,
and it will consume the citadels of Kerioth.
Moab will die with a tumult,
with shouting and the sound of the ram’s horn.
I will cut off the judge from the land
and kill all its officials with him.
The Lord has spoken.

Judgment on Judah

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Judah
for three crimes, even four,
because they have rejected the instruction of the Lord
and have not kept his statutes.
The lies that their ancestors followed
have led them astray.
Therefore, I will send fire against Judah,
and it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem.

Judgment on Israel

The Lord says:

I will not relent from punishing Israel
for three crimes, even four,
because they sell a righteous person for silver
and a needy person for a pair of sandals.
They trample the heads of the poor
on the dust of the ground
and obstruct the path of the needy.
A man and his father have sexual relations
with the same girl,
profaning my holy name.
They stretch out beside every altar
on garments taken as collateral,
and in the house of their God
they drink wine obtained through fines.

Yet I destroyed the Amorite as Israel advanced;
his height was like the cedars,
and he was as sturdy as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.
10 And I brought you from the land of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness
in order to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets
and some of your young men as Nazirites.
Is this not the case, Israelites?

This is the Lord’s declaration.

12 But you made the Nazirites drink wine
and commanded the prophets,
“Do not prophesy.”
13 Look, I am about to crush[e] you in your place
as a wagon crushes when full of grain.
14 Escape will fail the swift,
the strong one will not maintain his strength,
and the warrior will not save his life.
15 The archer will not stand his ground,
the one who is swift of foot
will not save himself,
and the one riding a horse will not save his life.
16 Even the most courageous of the warriors
will flee naked on that day—

this is the Lord’s declaration.

God’s Reasons for Punishing Israel

Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt:

I have known only you
out of all the clans of the earth;
therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Can two walk together
without agreeing to meet?
Does a lion roar in the forest
when it has no prey?
Does a young lion growl from its lair
unless it has captured something?
Does a bird land in a trap on the ground
if there is no bait for it?
Does a trap spring from the ground
when it has caught nothing?
If a ram’s horn is blown in a city,
aren’t people afraid?
If a disaster occurs in a city,
hasn’t the Lord done it?
Indeed, the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his counsel
to his servants the prophets.
A lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who will not prophesy?

Proclaim on the citadels in Ashdod
and on the citadels in the land of Egypt:
Assemble on the mountains of Samaria,
and see the great turmoil in the city
and the acts of oppression within it.
10 The people are incapable of doing right—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
those who store up violence and destruction
in their citadels.

11 Therefore, the Lord God says:

An enemy will surround the land;
he will destroy your strongholds
and plunder your citadels.

12 The Lord says:

As the shepherd snatches two legs
or a piece of an ear
from the lion’s mouth,
so the Israelites who live in Samaria
will be rescued
with only the corner of a bed
or the[f] cushion[g] of a couch.[h]

13 Listen and testify against the house of Jacob—
this is the declaration of the Lord God,
the God of Armies.
14 I will punish the altars of Bethel
on the day I punish Israel for its crimes;
the horns of the altar will be cut off
and fall to the ground.
15 I will demolish the winter house
and the summer house;
the houses inlaid with ivory will be destroyed,
and the great houses will come to an end.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Social and Spiritual Corruption

Listen to this message, you cows of Bashan
who are on the hill of Samaria,
women who oppress the poor
and crush the needy,
who say to their husbands,
“Bring us something to drink.”

The Lord God has sworn by his holiness:

Look, the days are coming[i]
when you will be taken away with hooks,
every last one of you with fishhooks.
You will go through breaches in the wall,
each woman straight ahead,
and you will be driven along toward Harmon.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

Come to Bethel and rebel;
rebel even more at Gilgal!
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
your tenths every three days.
Offer leavened bread as a thanksgiving sacrifice,
and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings,
for that is what you Israelites love to do!

This is the declaration of the Lord God.

God’s Discipline and Israel’s Apostasy

I gave you absolutely nothing to eat[j] in all your cities,
a shortage of food in all your communities,
yet you did not return to me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

I also withheld the rain from you
while there were still three months until harvest.
I sent rain on one city
but no rain on another.
One field received rain
while a field with no rain withered.
Two or three cities staggered
to another city to drink water
but were not satisfied,
yet you did not return to me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

I struck you with blight and mildew;
the locust devoured
your many gardens and vineyards,
your fig trees and olive trees,
yet you did not return to me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

10 I sent plagues like those of Egypt;
I killed your young men with the sword,
along with your captured horses.
I caused the stench of your camp
to fill your nostrils,
yet you did not return to me.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

11 I overthrew some of you
as I[k] overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
and you were like a burning stick
snatched from a fire,
yet you did not return to me—
This is the Lord’s declaration.

12 Therefore, Israel, that is what I will do to you,
and since I will do that to you,
Israel, prepare to meet your God!
13 He is here:
the one who forms the mountains,
creates the wind,
and reveals his thoughts to man,
the one who makes the dawn out of darkness
and strides on the heights of the earth.
The Lord, the God of Armies, is his name.

Lamentation for Israel

Listen to this message that I am singing for you, a lament, house of Israel:

She has fallen;
Virgin Israel will never rise again.
She lies abandoned on her land
with no one to raise her up.

For the Lord God says:

The city that marches out a thousand strong
will have only a hundred left,
and the one that marches out a hundred strong
will have only ten left in the house of Israel.

Seek God and Live

For the Lord says to the house of Israel:

Seek me and live!
Do not seek Bethel
or go to Gilgal
or journey to Beer-sheba,
for Gilgal will certainly go into exile,
and Bethel will come to nothing.
Seek the Lord and live,
or he will spread like fire
throughout the house of Joseph;
it will consume everything
with no one at Bethel to extinguish it.
Those who turn justice into wormwood
also throw righteousness to the ground.

The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
who turns darkness[l] into dawn
and darkens day into night,
who summons the water of the sea
and pours it out over the surface of the earth—
the Lord is his name.
He brings destruction[m] on the strong,[n]
and it falls on the fortress.

10 They hate the one who convicts the guilty
at the city gate,
and they despise the one who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and exact a grain tax from him,
you will never live in the houses of cut stone
you have built;
you will never drink the wine
from the lush vineyards
you have planted.
12 For I know your crimes are many
and your sins innumerable.
They oppress the righteous, take a bribe,
and deprive the poor of justice at the city gates.
13 Therefore, those who have insight will keep silent[o]
at such a time,
for the days are evil.

14 Pursue good and not evil
so that you may live,
and the Lord, the God of Armies,
will be with you
as you have claimed.
15 Hate evil and love good;
establish justice at the city gate.
Perhaps the Lord, the God of Armies, will be gracious
to the remnant of Joseph.

16 Therefore the Lord, the God of Armies, the Lord, says:

There will be wailing in all the public squares;
they will cry out in anguish[p] in all the streets.
The farmer will be called on to mourn,
and professional mourners[q] to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards,
for I will pass among you.
The Lord has spoken.

The Day of the Lord

18 Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord!
What will the day of the Lord be for you?
It will be darkness and not light.
19 It will be like a man who flees from a lion
only to have a bear confront him.
He goes home and rests his hand against the wall
only to have a snake bite him.
20 Won’t the day of the Lord
be darkness rather than light,
even gloom without any brightness in it?
21 I hate, I despise, your feasts!
I can’t stand the stench
of your solemn assemblies.
22 Even if you offer me
your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
I will have no regard
for your fellowship offerings of fattened cattle.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice flow like water,
and righteousness, like an unfailing stream.

25 “House of Israel, was it sacrifices and grain offerings that you presented to me during the forty years in the wilderness? 26 But you have taken up[r] Sakkuth your king and Kaiwan your star god,[s] images you have made for yourselves. 27 So I will send you into exile beyond Damascus.” The Lord, the God of Armies, is his name. He has spoken.

The major theme of the book of Amos is the Day of the Lord. That simply means coming judgment for sins for which the people have not repented. You see as the book opens there is judgment for surrounding nations and not just for Israel. God expects purity from all people, and judgment will one day come for all who do not repent. The bottom line for us as we read this is we can receive mercy and grace if we will repent of our sins.

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