Monday, February 8, 2016
Future Judgment On Judah
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came! Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?” (Amos 6:1-2)
God warns of judgment to come on the nation of Judah if they don’t make changes themselves. They were not concerned with receiving God’s blessings, counting on having the nation of Israel with its government in Samaria to serve as a buffer against the Assyrian threat After all it was one of the most powerful kingdoms in the region. God warned Judah to go look at the Assyrian city of Calneh and then travel to Hamath in Syria, and down along the coast to Philistine city of Gath. They needed to realize at one time each of these had been powerful kingdoms in their own right but had been conquered and reduced to near insignificance. Israel was no better than these other kingdoms. Israel was no stronger than Judah and would not be able to protect them.
“Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.” (Amos 6:3-7)
The problem was that Judah and Jerusalem were convinced that the threat of judgment was far in the future and were not worrying about it. They were ignoring a growing level of violence in their own cities while they were living in luxury. They had expensive furniture such as ivory bedframes, and were eating gourmet food at Greek style dinners. They ate little lambs because the meat was very tender, and took little effort, although more mature animals provided far better nutrition and were a far more efficient source of food. For the same reason they eating baby beef or veal. They spent a lot of time in entertainment, going to concerts and musical events and developing musical instruments. Wine tasting and trying the newest lotions and beauty products were favorite pastimes. Little or no thought was given to the sufferings of the people as a result of the growing sin.
“The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein. And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die. And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD. For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.” (Amos 6:8-11)
God has sworn that he hated the things Israel delighted themselves in, the luxurious mansions and lifestyles. He was going to allow the city to be conquered and everything destroyed. Entire families would be wiped out, and distant relatives would end up burying the bodies and settling their estates, inquiring about survivors. They will no longer brag about the Lord because he will have allowed them to be destroyed. Large families will be missing major parts and smaller ones will be completely broken up.
This prophecy was fulfilled when Babylon conquered Judah. Initially, Nebuchadnezzar just carried away the powerful and wealthy politicians and business leaders. Later they came back because of ongoing rebellion. A major part of the population was destroyed as a result of the fighting, disease and starvation. When they returned after seventy years of captivity it took a lot of work to determine who should own which property. The prophecy was fulfilled in every detail.
“Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock: Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength? But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.” (Amos 6:12-14)
Horses running across rocks break their hooves and lame themselves without horseshoes to protect and reinforce their hooves. While small rocks would be brought to the surface by a plow, too large a ones would bring the oxen to a halt or break the plow. Judah had begun to resent the standards of right and wrong God had established. They treated the actions of those who did what was right like it was poisonous, much like a Christian’s stance against Homosexuality or abortion si treated today.
They rejoice in worthless accomplishment s such as winning the Super Bowl, and take credit for having done things that God causes to happen naturally. God promises to turn against that nation, and the entire nation will suffer, from one end to the other.