Wednesday, February 3, 2016

It is God’s Judgment

Amos 3:1-15

“Hear this word that Jehovah hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up out of the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will visit upon you all your iniquities.” (Amos 3:1-2)

Acts 17:26-27 tells us.  “And he made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined [their] appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation;  that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.”  God determined the exactly when each nation or group of people would have power and the extent of their power.   In every case, the purpose was to cause people to turn to God. 

Israel is the only one God chose to be his special people, miraculously delivering them from slavery in Egypt and giving them the land of Canaan.  He had invested far more in them than in other groups, giving them specific guidelines as to what they should do.  As a result, he will hold them to higher standard of accountability than the other nations. 

“Shall two walk together, except they have agreed?  Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?  Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is [set] for him? shall a snare spring up from the ground, and have taken nothing at all?  Shall the trumpet be blown in a city, and the people not be afraid? shall evil befall a city, and Jehovah hath not done it?  Surely the Lord Jehovah will do nothing, except he reveal his secret unto his servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:3-7)

When you see people walking together, it indicates they are friendly, if not actually friends.  When a lion roars, it indicates he is not looking for food.  A bird caught in a snare indicates there was some kind of bait to get him into it, and a triggered trap indicates something set it off.  The sound of siren warns that something is wrong.    In the same way, when a city or state is having problems, it is safe to say God is behind it.  At the same time it is sure God will not do anything about which he has not given warning, because God “…is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance,” according to II Peter 3:9.

“The lion hath roared; who will not fear? The Lord Jehovah hath spoken; who can but prophesy?  Publish ye in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold what great tumults are therein, and what oppressions in the midst thereof.  For they know not to do right, saith Jehovah, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.” (Amos 3:8-10)

When the lion roars, it reminds us they are out there and that they kill.  When God has spoken, what choice do we have but to warn people what God has said?  The message needs to go to other nations, so they can be warned and see what happens to people who don’t do what is right.  When they allow violence and corruption in the government, their moral standard is messed up. 

“Therefore thus saith the Lord Jehovah: An adversary [there shall be], even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be plundered.  Thus saith Jehovah: As the shepherd rescueth out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel be rescued that sit in Samaria in the corner of a couch, and on the silken cushions of a bed.” (Amos 3:11-12)

Because they had forgotten their moral standards, God will allow them to be attacked.  He will also erode their strength so they are no longer able to defend themselves, with the result that even the homes and strongholds of the leaders are plundered.  After an attack by a lion, all that is left may be a couple of legs or part of an ear.  After Gods judgment, all that would survive in Israel’s capital would be those who are sick or too old to fight in the homes of the rich.  It won’t be just the poor people who suffer.

“Hear ye, and testify against the house of Jacob, saith the Lord Jehovah, the God of hosts.  For in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him, I will also visit the altars of Beth-el; and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.  And I will smite the winter-house with the summer-house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith Jehovah.” (Amos 3:13-15)

God will surely cause Israel to experience the consequences of their sin.  When he does, he will destroy the altars and religious groups that have contributed to their sin, cutting off their symbols of authority and power.  The vacation homes will be destroyed just like the main homes.  The rich mansions will be destroyed, and the families of the rich and powerful of the past will be killed. 

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