Israel in the Lion’s Mouth (Part Two)

Amos 3:7-15

The second motive to speak boldly for the Lord is the theme of God’s message.

The Lord pointed out through Amos two ways that his people were engaging in evil. First, the sin of materialism (3:10, 15). It had so captivated them that they did not understand anything else. This is an example of being hardened by sin’s deceitfulness (Hebrews 3:13). We must guard our hearts. Since we have a material aspect to our being and live in a culture that is openly and overly materialistic, we can be tempted to seek satisfaction in material things.

Second, the sin of false religion (3:14). Notice the reference to Bethel. We should immediately think of how Jeroboam I led the northern kingdom into deep sin there (cf. 1 Kings 12:25-13:6). God calls his people Israel to account for their religious error. It was their glaring sin because it was against their covenant relationship with God. This was a root sin of many other sins in Israel.

We must find “root sins”; for example, For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, and by craving it, some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10 CSB) and strike at these root sins. (Another root sin is old unbelief.) This also requires us to make sure that we have correct beliefs from the Scriptures and seek to practice them. Notice God’s complete seriousness at this point. Amos uses the longest form for God’s name (3:13) in any place in the Scriptures!

We must learn from Israel’s errors. Time goes on, but the human heart remains in the same swamp of evil. “Progress” in humanity is merely “further declines” in the way we sin, either in the manner of our sinning or in the objects of our lusts. Hardness of heart is shown in the refusal to hear God’s warning.

The third motive is the judgment in God’s message. 

Other nations are summoned to see Israel’s punishment (3:9). We should learn from the sins of others and not repeat them. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning (1 Timothy 5:20 NIV). Notice how low the people had sunk. Others are called to witness their oppression of their own people. All knowledge of how to please the Lord had left them.

The judgment would come through the agency of a conquering power (3:11). Amos didn’t name this power, but it was Assyria. It was fulfilled within fifty years from the time of Amos’ ministry. God may use one group of godless people to punish another group (Isaiah 10:10-19). We must “get into” the Bible as a life situation. How would you react if God suddenly announced that our country was to be destroyed?

There was mixed news: Only a remnant would escape, but thank God for the remnant, not only for mercy for those people, but for the whole world (3:12; cf. Rm 9:27; 11:1-6). For from that remnant came the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. God works mercifully even in the most difficult times. Put your hope in God today!

Grace and peace,
David

Israel in the Lion’s Mouth

Amos 3:7-15

In the book of Amos, we have the written record of his prophetic ministry in which he proclaimed God’s judgment on the northern kingdom of Israel. Have you thought about how difficult a task this was? People want to hear good news, especially about their future! But Amos was charged with delivering a very unpopular message.

We, too, have an unpopular message to deliver. People in our culture don’t want anyone with religious views telling them what to do, especially if they speak for the true God. (But they will allow anyone in the media to tell them how to think!) Yet we must speak. How can we speak up in the face of determined resistance? Obviously we need some motives that spur us on. Let us learn from Amos at this point.

Let us think first of the power of God’s message (3:7-8).

The source of the message is the Lord and not the prophet (3:7; cf. 2 Peter 1:16ff). This is a recurring theme in this section (3:11, 12, 13, 15). God’s authority is the bedrock on which every ministry for the Lord rests. Unless you know that you are telling people God’s message, you will not speak up in the face of opposition.

The judgment that would come on Israel would arrive because the Lord planned that judgment. He let people know this by telling it to his prophets. The actions that God is doing in our age are a fulfillment of prophecy. The Lord told us what the last days would be like, so we should not be surprised when history looks like prophecy. But know this: Hard times will come in the last days. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, proud, demeaning, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, without love for what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding to the form of godliness but denying its power. Avoid these people (2 Timothy 3:1-5 CSB; cf. 2 Peter 3:3; 1 John 2:18-23). 

By the way, we do not have to be confused about what God’s will is. It has been revealed for us in the Bible. The question is “do we search the Scriptures intently to find out what God’s will is?”

The imperative behind the message—it must be delivered (3:8). Compare 1 Corinthians 9:16; Ezekiel 2:5-7.

We must deliver God’s message because we are his servants. A servant does what his master desires (cf. Luke 6:46). I think that this is the first time that this idea (of the prophet as God’s servant) was used in redemptive history. When we come to the New Testament Scriptures, it is an important concept. Think of Paul, James, and Peter; they called themselves servants or slaves of God and Jesus Christ.

We must deliver the message because of the nature of the message.  It is like the roar of a lion in the preacher’s ears! Listen to what Jeremiah also said about being a prophet. I say, “I won’t mention him or speak any longer in his name.” But his message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail (Jeremiah 20:9 CSB).

The clarity of the servant’s perception of the message will show itself in the urgency of his presentation. Casual, light-hearted words free from a zeal to persuade people to turn from their own ways and follow the Lord will make all that the speaker says to be trite and “take it or leave it, it’s up to you.”

“I find, and this is somewhat of a confession as well as an exhortation, that my own words mock me too often when I preach – when I can say the word ‘hell’ and not feel the horror of it; when I can speak of heaven and not be warmed with a holy glow in the light of the fact that this is the place my Lord is preparing for me.” (Martin, “What’s Wrong with Preaching Today?” p. 10)

Let us be motivated by the power of God’s word (Romans 1:16-17)!

Grace and peace,
David

Reconsider

Amos 3:1-6

Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt (Amos 3:1 CSB)

After his opening announcements of judgment on Israel and her neighbors, Amos begins a section of prophetic proclamations. Notice the phrase listen to this message.

The prophet begins this section with a call to remember their relationship with God (3:1-2). The people addressed were the whole people of God, both Israel and Judah (3:1). God speaks to them as to a “family”. The tone is personal, and it is also redemptive, because God brought them out of Egypt (cf. 2:10).

Although Amos primarily addressed Israel, Judah should also hear (and pay attention to) this message from God. We should look at every sermon as being addressed to us. A quick way to develop a wrong attitude in listening to sermons is to prejudge whether you should listen because “you like it” or “it seems like it might help me” rather than “this is the message God has for me from his word”? Why do you listen? Specifically, the people were instructed to hear what the Lord had against them. It should make a person a very attentive listener when he or she hears that the God of the universe has something against him or her!

Amos described the people (3:2a). They were objects of sovereign love. The words “know”, “choose” and “love” are near synonyms in contexts like this (cf. Genesis 4:1; Exodus 33:12-13,17; John 10:13-15,27-28; Romans 8:29; 1 Peter 1:2). They were chosen by God (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). The doctrine of election is very practical. It is sad that many Christians think of it in a controversial way. God has chosen us; therefore, we should choose him and his ways in response.

Therefore, they stood in a special relationship to God. This is true regarding both the old covenant people (Exodus 19:5-6) and the new covenant people (1 Peter 2:9-10).

The people were responsible (3:2b). The relationship demanded responsibility. Many times in the Old Testament Scriptures Israel is warned of her responsibility to obey the Lord. We also are to obey (Hebrews 8:6-8; 12:4-11). The new and better covenant does not lessen our duty to listen to God and to obey. With the assurance of our high standing in God’s family as adult sons, we should have a heightened sense of our duties. What has been called new covenant theology (I prefer “Christ-structured theology”) does not produce lawlessness, but speaks against it at every point!

Next, Amos called God’s people to right thinking (3:3-6). They needed to know that agreement is essential for fellowship. The kind of agreement referred to here is a “pattern of united living”. Knowing God’s worth and will as his chosen bride, we agree to walk with him in his ways. Four actions were required of them in the covenant relationship with the Lord God:

  • Faithful love – “forsaking all others”
  • Submission – agreement to follow God’s leadership
  • Close companionship – essence of marriage
  • Bear his children – fruitfulness

What destroys fellowship? Sin does! Psalm 66:18; 1 John 1:7

In order to enjoy true fellowship in the church, we must agree around the truth. An engaged couple has to reach agreement on basic issues of family life as they move close to finalizing their union, if their marriage is to be successful. “Unless we agree with God in our end, which is his glory, we cannot walk with him by the way” (Henry).

God has reasons for the announced judgment on his people (3:4-5). These reasons were announced in the preceding section. “The threatenings of the word and providence of God are not bugbears [bogeymen] to frighten children and fools, but are certain inferences from the sin of man and certain presages [predictions] of the judgments of God.” [Henry]

The judgments of God were not the products of chance. People are wise in times of trial, if they reconsider their ways and return to the Lord. Perhaps he will be merciful.

God would be the One bringing this judgment (3:6). The theology of the Bible is neither fatalism nor a reign of chance. God is in control of history. Even the smallest events happen according to his controlling will. The evil spoken of is not moral evil, but it is the evil of disaster. Compare Isaiah 45:7.

How is your relationship with God? Are you walking with him? If you are, you are in agreement with him. Are you?Grace and peace,
David

Israel’s Folly of Rejecting God (Part Two)

Amos 2:6-16

This is what the Lord says:“For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent” (Amos 2:6a NIV).

Israel sinned by despising God’s grace (2:9-12). Think of the grace that they looked down on. God had protected them (2:9). The Amorite tribe was one nation among many of the Canaanite peoples. Though they were skilled and strong warriors, the Lord easily defeated all of them for his people. The Lord had provided for them (2:10; cf. Psalm 78:9ff). Many times God called his people Israel to remember what he did for them in their release from Egyptian bondage. In the same way the church is to recall and reflect on Christ’s greater Exodus. As a song has said, “Lead me to the cross, where we first met; draw me to my knees so that we can talk.”

Even more, God had spoken to them. The means was prophecy (2:11-12). Yet Israel did not want to hear these men whom God had sent to them. The same thing happens today. Many church goers do not want to hear God’s word; most want it diluted to a formless, powerless slop of mushy words. Faithful ministers are blessings from the Lord to his people. See Ephesians 4; 1 Corinthians 12. We should pray that God would continue to call men to preach his word.

Some ideas about the terrible nature of the sin of despising God’s grace: When a person despises God and his grace, the God who alone can help them, his or her case is truly desperate. People are in a dangerous condition when they reject, suppress, or even merely ignore God’s message to them (2 Corinthians 5:20). We should be careful to remember the mercies that God has given to us. This was important for Israel (Deuteronomy 8:2, 18; 15:15; 24:18, 22), and it remains important for the church (Luke 22:19).

What were the consequences of Israel’s sins (2:13-16)? How awesome their judgment was! (2:13) God would crush them. This finally fell on them when they rejected Jesus the Messiah. Their house was left to them desolate (Matthew 23:38). Human strength would completely fail as a means of escape (2:14-16).

However, praise the Lord, hope continues! There is one who was crushed for us, in order that we might not be crushed (Isaiah 53:5). Seek the Lord while he may be found.Grace and peace,
David

Israel’s Folly of Rejecting God (Part One)

Amos 2:6-16

This is what the Lord says:“For three sins of Israel, even for four, I will not relent” (Amos 2:6a NIV).

In the previous section (1:3-2:5), we learned of God’s judgment on the nations surrounding Israel. All except Judah were Gentile nations, and God called them to account on the basis of what they should have known about God. But Judah was judged according to God’s law.

As we read these verses, we must remember that it is God who is speaking through his prophet. The covenant Lord spoke against the covenant breaking of his people. Relationships bring with them responsibilities. Yet the nature of the human heart is to think only of the benefits that we get from a relationship with another, especially being related to God. In this context God announces judgment on his people (2:6), and as he does so, he calls them to account for their failures in this covenant relationship.

Amos began with Israel’s sin of breaking God’s law (2:6-8). Notice that the same opening form was used in the address to Israel as in the address to the surrounding nations.

First, we have an examination of the general ways they sinned.

  • They were guilty of greed and materialism (2:6). God would have us live contented with his gifts and to give thanks for them. Greed shows a basic discontent with God’s providence, which leads to a life of pursuing the things of this world.
  • They were guilty of sexual immorality (2:7b). God’s visible people ought to have been demonstrating a different way of life from the surrounding Gentile nations. The tragedy of the contemporary church is how it grovels in the same cesspool of sexual immorality that the world is in.
  • They were guilty of oppression and the perversion of justice (2:7a, 8a). Servants of the righteous Lord ought to value justice highly, yet Israel had a different attitude.
  • They were guilty of religious corruption (2:8b). This sin is to be traced back to the sin of Jeroboam I, and from him back to the Golden Calf (Exodus 32).

They might have been religious, but it was a religion far from what God intended—showing love for God and love for one’s neighbors. Love is the greatest thing in religion; without it everything else is useless (1 Cor 13:13).

Israel was judged according to the standard of the law for these sins (cf. Romans 2:12). Amos exposed their breaking of the law covenant. Although they had already departed from the Lord, they were still responsible to be faithful to him and the covenant. A desire to want to live our own way does not absolve God’s people from the obligation to believe his word and to follow him.

They sold the righteous for silver, etc.; that is, they sold them into slavery (2:6; cf. Deuteronomy 16:18-19). “Those who will wrong their consciences for anything will come at length to do it for next to nothing” (Henry). Let us hear and remember! People in bondage to sin will eventually want to enslave others. This is a growing evil in our time.

They trampled on the heads of the poor (2:7a); contrast Leviticus 25:35-43; Deuteronomy 15:7-11. God’s standard is equal justice. It would have been just as wrong to pervert justice in favor of the poor. But as a general rule, the poor suffer more from injustice in court than the rich.

Father and son used the same girl (2:7b). This probably refers to the sin of incest (Leviticus 18:6-17) rather than the sin of temple prostitution. God’s standard of permissible sexual relations narrowed from before the law to under the law, and now is even more restricted (ex: a believer may only marry a believer). Involvement in this sin profaned God’s name.

They misused garments taken in pledge (2:8). Compare their conduct with what God’s law required (Exodus 22:26-27; Deuteronomy 24:10-13). To misuse these garments by sleeping on them by an altar to a false god (a supposed way to get a revelation from that false god) aggravated the crime.

They made the Nazirites drink wine (2:12). Consider what God required of the Nazirite during the time of his vow (Numbers 6:1-14). It was another way of corrupting another person’s devotion to his or her God. The true guilt of sin prompts a person to want to lead others away from the Lord.

All of this demonstrated that Israel was far from God, as were her neighbors. Wherever Amos looked he saw departure from the true and living God. He had a hard assignment from the Lord to minister for God in that religious and moral climate. But Amos was faithful! May God grant us grace to continue to walk faithfully with him.

Grace and peace,
David

The Judging of Israel’s Neighbors

Amos 1:3-2:5

As we start to look at this long section, we need to remember the main purpose of the message of Amos. He was sent to minister God’s Word to Israel. Notice the phrase “concerning Israel” in verse one. Was Amos using this section to gain a hearing among the people of the northern kingdom? That is a possible explanation. People like to hear someone else’s sin exposed and denounced, which is one reason that tabloid journalism is so popular. However, it might be that he was “circling in on them” as a bird of prey might do.

Each of the judgments against Israel’s neighbors is presented according to a set formula.

  • All open with the phrase “this is what the Lord says,” and some close with the reinforcing phrase “says the [Sovereign] Lord.”
  • All contain the phrase “for three sins… even for four….” This seems to be a Semitic expression to stress that the sins of these nations were great. “Is judgment coming on them for just three sins? No, it is coming for much more than that!”
  • All contain a phrase that says something like “I will send fire… that will consume the fortresses….”
  • All present the judgment as coming from the Lord. Israel’s neighbors will not be overcome by some chance or random calamities but by the act of God, regardless of the intermediate agent that he uses.

To help us understand this section, we need to answer three questions.

Who were these people groups?

  • Their location: they surrounded the northern kingdom of Israel. Tyre was northwest of Israel and Damascus (Aram) northeast. Gaza and the other Philistines were southwest. Edom was to the southeast, with Moab and then Ammon north of Edom on Israel’s east, and Judah was directly south of Israel.
  • Their descent: the Arameans, people of Tyre, and the Philistines were all Gentiles. The Edomites were the descendants of Esau, Jacob’s older brother, while the Moabites and Ammonites were descendants of Lot, Abraham’s nephew. The people of Judah and Israel were descendants of Jacob.

What were the sins of these nations? First, let us consider the sins of the Gentile people groups mentioned.

  • They were guilty of a lack of compassion. They sent some of Israel into captivity and slavery (1:6, 9). Selling them to Edom was especially wicked, because Edom was Israel’s ancient and incorrigible enemy. They were filled with uncontrolled anger and a lack of pity (1:11). In both of these they showed themselves to be most ungodly. God expects people everywhere to reflect his glory as self-controlled and merciful and compassionate.
  • They were guilty of treaty breaking (1:9). Loyalty and honesty are very important to the God of truth and faithfulness.
  • They were guilty of cruelty. They “threshed” Israel (1:3). A threshing sledge had “sharp iron teeth attached to rollers which passed over the sheaves to thresh the grain and to crush and shred the straw” (Laetsch). You can have a nightmare thinking about the pain and death this would cause as people when thrown under the threshing sledges. They ripped open Israel’s pregnant women (1:13). Compare 2 Kings 8:12; Hosea 13:16. As bad as this sin is, it is aggravated by its motive: greed for territory. God examines the motives of the human heart. Both of these demonstrate the perversity of the human heart (Jeremiah 17:9; Mark 7:21-22; Romans 1:31).
  • They dishonored the dead (2:1), turning their bodies into simple materials. Since we are made in the image of God, humans are to be treated with respect. Notice that Gentiles against Gentiles committed this last sin. God takes notice of what nations do and judges them for it.

We are watching our world descend back into the pit of cruelty from which the revivals of the Reformation and the First Great Awakening lifted it out of for a time. Only a knowledge of God’s glory in Christ can stop this descent.

Second, notice the sins of Judah, the southern kingdom.

  • They rejected God’s law, both as God’s standard of instruction and in its particular commands. Notice that they are the only surrounding nation judged by this standard. This rejection included their heart attitude and their actions. Not to practice God’s message is to despise it in some way.
  • They followed false teaching. Every person is responsible for the teaching that they listen to (Mk 4:24-25). They allowed their hearts to be led astray (2:4).

What leads people astray today? Many wrong ideas about the purpose of life, like materialism, hedonism, addiction and substance abuse, and false religions.

How were these nations judged?

  • They were judged impartially. God gave no special respect to any group (Acts 10:34). God did not vary from the standard that he had revealed to that group. Each was judged according to what God had made known, whether through creation, the conscience or through the Scriptures.
  • They were judged inescapably. Consider what happened to Aram or Syria (2 Kings 16:9).
  • They were judged by the Lord. The Sovereign God acts in history to rule his creation, including the nations of mankind. Notice the number of times that God says, “I will….” The fate of Tyre, its complete destruction in part by Nebuchadnezzar and then totally by Alexander, is one proof of God’s action. Observe how many times God said, “I will not turn back my wrath.”

This is the message that we need to tell our neighbors (Romans 1:18). You have to start the “Romans road” in the right place. God does judge people (Hebrews 9:27). All people only have hope when they repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Grace and peace,
David

The Shepherd’s Message (Part 2)

Amos 1:1-2

The words of Amos, who was one of the sheep breeders 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, and the summit of Carmel withers (CSB).

Next, let’s think about the tone of the prophecy (1:2). Amos speaks as one through whom the Lord was speaking. He is God’s spokesman. “This is what the Lord says.” Amos declares the authority for the message. He speaks the words of God. This is different from the current style of many pastors and Bible teachers, who specialize in cute stories, make fantastic predictions, or speak about political issues from either a conservative or liberal point of view. The voice of the Lord is disregarded, downplayed, and even disputed. We need men like Amos who will boldly declare God’s words to people.

The manner in which God speaks is startling. The Lord roars (cf. Amos 3:9). People want a “feel-good” kind of message in worship services. They want to be pleased, not contradicted. They desire comfort and dislike becoming upset. They like politicians that tell them, “We can fix this to your liking.” They hate preachers of truth that tell them, “Our case is desperate! We need the living God to act for us. Let’s return to the Lord.” This is a warning before judgment, like a lion would give when he is about to strike (cf. Isaiah 5:29). It is very natural for a shepherd like Amos to use this illustration to warn of serious danger. The true God is roaring today. We need ears to hear his roar.

The Lord speaks from Zion, the place of the temple, where God chose to reveal himself (Exodus 25:21-22; Numbers 7:89; cf. 1 Kings 8). The Lord speaks from the place of his choosing. That place was Jerusalem, not Samaria, in Amos’ day. That would have been an unpopular message to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. Jerusalem is the place of revelation by God. Samaria or Babylon or Athens were places of human opinions, religion, and philosophy. God speaks from the Zion or Jerusalem that is above, not from the political centers or academic institutions that are below. Please ask yourself: “Do I depend more on the wisdom of human ‘experts’ than on the Word of God?”

The reaction that God’s roaring word causes in his creation. God has power over the universe he has made. God acts in history. Even the most remote places (represented by Carmel—the mountains) can’t escape when the Lord extends his hand. The fertile pastures also would be dried up. This judgment would hit hard, producing hunger and poverty.

See how dependent the creature is upon God. He can make our pastures dry up! But even if all others are thirsty, God can satisfy our thirst. On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.” He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified (John 7:37-39 CSB).

Grace and peace,
David

The Shepherd’s Message (Part 1)

Amos 1:1-2

The words of Amos, who was one of the sheep breeders 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, and the summit of Carmel withers (CSB).

Amos is a very neglected book of the Bible. However, our neglect does not detract from its value. All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable (2 Tm 3:16). Amos is a strong message to unrepentant sinners, yet it contains a message of hope at its end. In some ways we might compare Amos to John the Baptist.

We need to remember the time of the message of Amos. It was given in the old covenant era, and he speaks faithfully to the people in conformity with the terms of that covenant. Compare Exodus 19:3-6; Deuteronomy 7:9-11; 28:1-68. Yet the book of Amos is highly relevant to us, because it tells of the judgment of God, the failure of people, the grace of God, and the difficulty of the task confronting God’s faithful servants.

Let’s begin with the setting of the prophecy (1:1). What do we know about the human writer?

  • His occupation—Amos was a shepherd, like Moses and David. He was not from the “schools of the prophets”, but he came from outside the usual religious institutions. He may have been rich or poor; we are not told much about him. He was already busy; God uses people who are in motion. One thing is clear: he knew God and his message. We should accept or reject ministers on the basis of the correctness of the message they teach and the godliness of the way they live (1 Timothy 4:16). Other matters are far less important.
  • His home—Amos was from Tekoa of Judah, which was six miles southeast of Bethlehem and eleven miles from Jerusalem. However, God sent him to minister to the northern kingdom of Israel.

And what of the time and character of the time of his ministry? Here are some general facts about the time in which Amos lived. Jeroboam II was king of the northern tribes (2 Kings 14:23-29). He was an evil leader, but was used by the Lord to help his people. Wicked people can be used by the Lord to help the children of light. Uzziah reigned in the southern kingdom (2 Chronicles 26:5-15). He followed the Lord and greatly strengthened the kingdom of Judah. Yet, he became arrogant, and was punished by the Lord.

Thus it was a time of power and prosperity for the kingdoms in general, but not for all the people, as we shall see, God willing. It was also a time of indulgence, idolatry, immorality, and injustice. (Sounds like twenty-first century America, huh?) Israel had a form of godliness, but denied its power (2 Timothy 3:5). For God’s old covenant people, it was like an Indian summer before the final descent into winter.

Specifically, this prophetic message was given two years before the earthquake (cf. Zechariah 14:5). This was a notable event, spoken of long afterward. Catastrophes alone do not produce repentance, but anger against God. Americans as a whole have not turned to God after six months of the Covid-19 pandemic. People are not seeking God. Churches have only a fraction of people attending that they had last year. Christianity is considered irrelevant by most. Christians are powerless, when we should be people of hope. Pray for grace, not judgment if you are truly concerned about our land. It is time for every Christian to seek the Lord and repent.

Amos was one of the first of the writing prophets. He was a contemporary of Jonah and Hosea. Like we stated previously, he ministered to the northern kingdom, which followed the heresies of Jeroboam I (1 Kings 12:26-33). They had forgotten God and replaced his worship with outright idolatry at this point (Hosea 13).

God did not send Amos on an easy mission. The Lord can put his faithful in tough situations, but in such circumstances the light looks brighter against the darkness. We do not minister in colonial America or during the post World War II boom. We are in different times. But tough times bring their own opportunities to serve God.

Grace and peace,
David