Amos chapter 5

Judgment is certain. But individuals can still repent. Look to the sovereign LORD God. Their many unjust practices. The LORD God despises their hypocrisy.

 


 

JUDGMENT IS CERTAIN

 

VERSE 1. Listen to this word which I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel.

Listen to this word. This was a spoken message. They were to listen.

I take up for a lamentation over you. A “lament” was a poem of grief that was sung at the funeral of a relative, friend, or leader. In the case of the prophets, they used laments to mourn the death of a city, people, or nation.

 

VERSE 2. “The virgin of Israel has fallen; She shall rise no more. She is cast down on her land; there is no one to raise her up.”

has fallen. In a funeral lament, the word “fallen” meant “fallen by the sword.”

 

VERSE 3. For the Lord GOD says: “The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out one hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”

went out a thousand … shall have a hundred left. In the war, they suffered 90 percent losses. That was the death sentence for Israel.

 

INDIVIDUALS CAN STILL REPENT

 

VERSE 4. For the LORD says to the house of Israel: “Seek me, and you will live;

Seek me, and you will live. The nation was doomed. However, there was still a chance for individuals to seek the LORD God and live.

 

VERSE 5. but don’t seek Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and don’t pass to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing.

Bethel. The Hebrew word means “house of God.” It would become “Beth Aven,” which means a “house of nothing,” a “house of spirits.”

Gilgal. This was the memorial of their arrival into the Promised Land. But now it would become the symbol of their exile from the land.

 

VERSE 6. Seek the LORD, and you will live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, and there be no one to quench it in Bethel.

Seek the LORD, and you will live. As we seek the LORD, we will live.

That is so true!

John 10:10. The thief only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. I came that they may have life, and may have it abundantly.

What did it mean for them to seek the LORD? It did not mean resume their liturgies. Rather, it means doing good and hating evil:

Micah 6:8. He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does the LORD require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

lest he break out like fire. Fire is a consuming element.

 

VERSE 7. You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth:

turn justice to wormwood. Court officials had turned justice into bitterness. Into wormwood:

Deuteronomy 29:18.  lest there should be among you man, woman, family, or tribe whose heart turns away today from the LORD our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that produces bitter poison;

Proverbs 5:4. but in the end she is as bitter as wormwood, and as sharp as a two-edged sword.

Jeremiah 9:15. Therefore the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says, “Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Jeremiah 23:15. Therefore the LORD of Hosts says concerning the prophets: “Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall; for from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has gone out into all the land.”

Lamentations 3:15. He has filled me with bitterness. He has stuffed me with wormwood.

Lamentations 3:19. Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the bitterness.

Amos 5:7. You who turn justice to wormwood, and cast down righteousness to the earth

Revelation 8:11. The name of the star is called “Wormwood.” One third of the waters became wormwood. Many people died from the waters, because they were made bitter.

cast down righteousness to the earth. Court officials had cast righteousness to the ground.

 

LOOK TO THE SOVEREIGN GOD

 

VERSE 8. seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the LORD is his name,

seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion. Amos points them back to the sovereign LORD God. He controls the workings of the physical universe. And he will overturn human injustice.

 

VERSE 9. who brings sudden destruction on the strong, so that destruction comes on the fortress.

 

THEIR MANY UNJUST PRACTICES

 

VERSE 10. They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks blamelessly.

Amos brings up their many unjust practices:

 

VERSE 11. Therefore, because you trample on the poor, and take taxes from him of wheat: You have built houses of cut stone, but you will not dwell in them. You have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine.

 

VERSE 12. For I know how many your offenses, and how great are your sins—you who afflict the just, who take a bribe, and who turn away the needy in the courts.

 

VERSE 13. Therefore a prudent person keeps silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.

 

HOW TO REPENT

 

VERSE 14. Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be with you, as you say.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22. Test all things, and hold firmly that which is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

 

VERSE 15. Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the courts. It may be that the LORD, the God of Hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.”

 

JUDGMENT IS CERTAIN

 

VERSE 16. Therefore the LORD, the God of Hosts, the Lord, says: “Wailing will be in all the wide ways; and they will say in all the streets, ‘Alas! Alas!’ and they will call the farmer to mourning, and those who are skillful in lamentation to wailing.

 

VERSE 17. In all vineyards there will be wailing; for I will pass through the middle of you,” says the LORD.

 

VERSE 18. “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light.

Amos 5:18. Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light.

Amos 5:20. Won’t the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Amos 8:9. It will happen in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.

Matthew 27:45. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

 

VERSE 19. As if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; Or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall, and a snake bit him.

 

VERSE 20. Won’t the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Won’t the day of the LORD be darkness. The day of the LORD God will be dark. It will be without joy.

Amos 5:18. Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why do you long for the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light.

Amos 5:20. Won’t the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?

Amos 8:9. It will happen in that day,” says the Lord GOD, “that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.

Matthew 27:45. Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour.

 

THE LORD GOD DESPISES THEIR HYPOCRISY

 

VERSE 21. I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies.

NAB translation. I hate, I spurn your feasts, I take no pleasure in your solemnities.

I take no pleasure in your solemnities. In those days, most people were fulfilling their religious obligations. Yet their hearts were not in it. They were not in love with God. And so God did not approve of their actions. He hated their liturgies.

In our day, many professing Christians take part in their church liturgies. But if they do it out of begrudging obligation, has it benefited them?

Imagine a mafia man who kills people, extorts from the weak, and beats up his prostitutes and gives them an unfairly low percent of their income. Then on Sunday, he piously attends the Mass and receives Holy Communion on his tongue. Should God be thrilled?

We imaging the LORD God saying, “I hate your liturgies!”

Isaiah 1:11. “What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says the LORD. “I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed animals. I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats.

Jeremiah 6:20.  To what purpose does frankincense from Sheba come to me, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.

Amos 5:21. I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies.

Hebrews 10:8. Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law),

 

VERSE 22. Yes, though you offer me your burnt offerings and meal offerings, I will not accept them; neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat animals.

 

VERSE 23. Take away from me the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.

 

VERSE 24. But let justice roll on like rivers, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

NASB translation. But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

let justice roll down like waters. This verse was important to the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King.

 

VERSE 25. “Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, house of Israel?

 

VERSE 26. You also carried the tent of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god, which you made for yourselves.

 

VERSE 27. Therefore I will cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is the God of Hosts.

 


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