Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light (5:18 NIV).
This section completes Amos’ third prophetic proclamation. In it, Amos strongly warned them against supposing that they might continue as they were and avoid calamity. He urged them to listen in three ways.
First, religion cannot prevent calamity (5:18-27).
Their religious interest was focused on religious rituals. Four examples:
- Religious assemblies (5:21)
- Sacrifices (5:22)
- Songs of praise (5:23)
- They even longed for the day of the Lord (5:18-20). They had some wrong ideas about the day of the Lord, so Amos quickly corrected their doctrine.
They thought that they were okay because they were Jews (cf. Matthew 3:7-10; Romans 2:17ff). They forgot what God demanded (Psalm 24:3-4; 1 Samuel 15:20-23). The terms of the old covenant were to obey the Lord first of all in the Ten Words and involvement in religious ritual would follow out of their obedience and love. People love the rituals of religion; obedience to the true God is another matter.
Their problem was their unrighteousness (5:24) and that God wasn’t really important to them (5:25-26). Underneath their outward devotion to the Lord, they were involved in the worship of the stars (cf. Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:2-3). Even now we must reject and avoid the growing practices of paganism that surround us (Ephesians 4:17-24). In this condition, the result would be judgment (5:27)
Second, complacency cannot prevent calamity (6:1-7). In this section their indifference is portrayed. Notice that both Judah and Israel were addressed (6:1).
Amos exposed their indifference:
- They lived in luxuriant idleness (6:4a). Ever hear of endless binge watching?
- They delighted in luxuriant feasting (6:4b). Who hasn’t seen this in western nations?
- They pursued entertainment (6:5). We’re in danger when we have to be continually entertained. This is a trap that is too easy to fall into. We should enjoy the Lord and our walk with the Lord. Joy is very important (Philippians 3:1; 4:4; etc.). But we have to maintain a constant evaluation of activities like our worship services. Is our goal to entertain or to worship and build up one another?
- They were overcome with drunkenness (6:6a). This is a serious problem in these Covid-19 days.
- Overall, they lacked concern (6:3, 6b).
It is at this point that we must ask ourselves a hard question. Are we grieved over the weaknesses and sins of the church?
Amos responded to their complacency. There was directness in his preaching. Notice the repetition of “you” in 6:1-7! He also continued to warn them of approaching judgment. Some surrounding nations had already fallen, nearby nations that Israel would be aware of (6:2). Their supposed position would not protect them. 6:7
Third, human power cannot prevent calamity (6:8-14). Amos exposed a root sin—pride (6:8, 13b). People are foolish to trust in human might (6:13a). “How easily man takes credit to himself and makes some small achievement the basis of a similar foolish trust!” [Beeley]
Amos then presented the nature of the judgment. God would use another nation to punish them (6:14a). Note that God is plainly in control of the nations: “command” (6:11); “I will stir…” (6:14). The judgment would affect all classes (6:11). The judgment would bring complete destruction (6:8b, 9, 11). It would surely come to pass (6:8a; cf. Hebrews 6:13-17).
All the Scriptures were given for our instruction. Let us listen that we might have hope.
Grace and peace,