Amos, was a shepherd. He lived at a time when the Northern Kingdom of Israel were given over to idolatry, immorality and injustice. Amos was called to go to the center of idol worship, Bethel, and before the people declare the God - the God of Israel - was now going to bring judgment upon them on account of their sin. Amos begins his message by prophesying against six neighboring gentile nations. You can image the nods of approval by those who sat at the gate of the city - the public meeting place and where the town council would gather. After all, Israel's neighbors deserved God's wrath! But then, Amos turns to his gathered audience and, like a hammer breaking glass, tells them they are next! God will no longer ignore their sin and the injustice they were showing to the poor of the land. Enough was enough! IT was time for them to give account before God (Ch4 vs 12).
Yet, in the midst of Amos' thunderous message, we see the tender, Father-heart of God, pleading with His people to turn from their worldly ways and seek Him.
Chapter 5 begins with God's lamentation; His sorrow that Israel, the nation that had known the leading, guiding and blessing of Jehovah, had strayed so far.
In Ezekiel 18:23 we read: "Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord God: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?"
God had warned them, since the time of wandering in the wilderness (see Leviticus 26), that if they obeyed God, God would ,multiply blessing to them. But if they chose to not listen to God, if they walked after the dictates of their own evil hearts, judgment would follow.
Five times in this chapter God pleads with Israel to "seek me and live!" (v4, v6,), "seek me" (v8), "seek good and not evil" (v14),"Hate evil and love the good" (v15).
Numerically, in the Bible, the number 5 always seem to speak of Grace. That is exactly what we see here. God's grace, calling a rebellious people to turn back to Him that He might relent from the coming judgment .
God even gives a number of reasons why they should hearken to His voice. He is creator; He made the stars, He holds them together. He makes the day and the night. None of their idols could claim this! He has brought judgment on the ungodly in the past, particularly at the time of the flood, when he called the waters in the sea to be rained down on the earth.
Sadly, despite the message Amos brings, they did not turn back. They even tried to silence the voices that rebuked them for their injustice. This is so reminiscent of the world today! Good men are not allowed to speak. Evil men continue to propagate lies and falsehood's, through the media and the pulpit!
God then tells them that He is not interested in their religious celebrations. 'Doing church' on Sunday does not cut it with God. He is looking for those who worship Him in Spirit AND truth. Sadly, the truth - the Word of God - has been dumbed down, silenced and replaced with motivational pep talks in so many churches. Is it any wonder the world has lost it's moral compass when the people God had called to be His own have embraced the things God abhors? What was true for Israel is true for the church at large today. The time to repent is now; the time to earnestly pray for revival is now.
May you be blessed and challenged by this study.
Categories | SUNDAY MORNING STUDIES
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