The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
GOD’S JUDGMENT UPON JUDAH AND ISRAEL
- Last week we
looked at God’s judgment against Moab (2:1). Before that we saw God’s judgment upon
Amon (1:13), and Edom (1:11), and Tyre (1:9), and Gaza (1:6), and Damascus
- The Lord
saved His messages to Judah and Israel for last. God’s judgment upon Judah was
fulfilled when Nebuchadnezzar and the Chaldean army destroyed Jerusalem
(including the temple) and the people were taken into captivity for 70
judgment upon Israel was fulfilled when the Assyrians conquered them. The Israelites from the northern kingdom
never returned to their land and their dispersion continues to this day.
- Second Kings
17:24 says, the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from some of the
other pagan countries, “and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the
children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.”
heathens intermarried with the Israelites and produced the Samaritans. The descendants of all these groups –
Samaritans, Moabites, Edomites, et al, are now overwhelmingly Muslim.
- If Israel’s
heathen neighbors, who were without the light and spiritual privileges enjoyed
by Judah and Israel, were severely judged by God, how much more would Judah and
Israel (cf. Luke 12:47, 48)?
- By using the
same repetitious expression, “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of
Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof…” (Amos 2:4;
cf. 2:6), it is clear that Judah and Israel were no less guilty than the
for today: God has given the USA tremendous privileges, but with these
privileges comes tremendous responsibility.
JUDGMENT UPON JUDAH (2:4,
- In His
judgment upon Judah, the LORD does not cite any particularly heinous act of
cruelty and treachery as He does with the other nations (cf. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13;
- Instead the LORD rebukes
Judah for despising the law of the LORD; i.e., rejecting the Word of God and not
keeping His commandments (2:4, 5).
- Jesus said, “If ye love me,
keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
- Their lies “caused them
to err, after the which their fathers have walked” (Amos 2:4b).
- Our Lord said to the
Sadducees, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matt.
22:29; cf. Romans 2:17-29).
- “Their lies caused them to
err” (Amos 2:4). Lying is a
habitual practice for many people, and unfortunately there are many liars in
- God’s judgment on Judah
would be the same as for the others: “But I will send a fire upon Judah…”
(2:5; cf. 2:2; 1:4, 7, 10, 12, 14).
- In the Bible, fire
represents the hot wrath of God.
There are over 500 references to fire in the Bible. The very first reference is in Genesis
19:24, “Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and
fire from the LORD out of heaven.”
- The last reference is
Revelation 21:8, which warns of the lake of fire.
- After this judgment upon
Judah (where Amos was from), the remainder of the book of Amos is addressed to
Israel (cf. 2:6; 3:1; 5:1; etc.).
JUDGMENT UPON ISRAEL
delivered these messages up in Bethel, in the king’s chapel. After these messages, he probably wasn’t
invited back (cf. 7:12, 13).
- “If a
minister shall speak straight out and boldly, fearless of man, and only fearful
lest he should grieve his God, he will stir the kennels of hell, and make all
the hounds of Satan howl at his heels. A sermon often does a man most good when it makes him most angry.
Those people who walk down the aisles
and say, ‘I will never hear that man again’ very often have an arrow rankling in
their breast” (CH Spurgeon).
sins are exposed:
A. Mistreatment of the poor
(2:6b, 7; cf. 4:1; 5:11; 8:6). The
Bible has much to say about the sin of oppressing the poor. “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth
his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor” (Proverbs
14:31). “Whoso mocketh the poor
reproacheth his Maker: and he that is glad at calamities shall not be
unpunished” (Proverbs 17:5).
B. Corruption and
bribery – “because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair
of shoes” (2:6b). “Thou shalt not
wrest judgment; thou shalt not respect persons, neither take a gift: for a gift
doth blind the eyes of the wise, and pervert the words of the righteous” (Deut.
C. Immorality (2:7b).
D. “And they lay themselves
down upon clothes laid to pledge…” (2:8a). A very poor man would have nothing to
put up as collateral for a loan except the clothes on his back. These garments would keep him warm at
night. God allowed the Israelites
to use clothing for a pledge, but the raiment was to be returned when the sun
went down (cf. Exodus 22:25-27; Deut. 24:12, 13).
E. Idolatry and
drinking – “by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the
house of their god” (2:8b). There was only one altar prescribed by God and that
altar was in Jerusalem.
ISRAEL FORGOT WHAT GOD HAD DONE FOR
- The Lord
destroyed the Amorites (2:9).
- Joshua 24:8
says, “And I brought you into the land of the Amorites, which dwelt on the other
side Jordan; and they fought with you: and I gave them into your hand, that ye
might possess their land; and I destroyed them from before you.”
- The Amorites
were the most powerful of all the heathen nations that inhabited the land of
- They were
also very wicked, and Genesis 15:16 says, “the iniquity of the Amorites is not
- Here in
Amos’ prophecy the Amorites probably represent all the various Canaanites and
- The Lord
reminded them yet again that He had brought them up out of Egypt and led them
forty years through the wilderness (Amos 2:10).
- The Lord
raised up their sons to be prophets and Nazarites for the privilege of
proclaiming God’s Word, and for maintaining purity and holiness (2:11).
- But Israel
ruined the Nazarites by giving them wine to drink (2:12a).
backslidden Israelites commanded the prophets, “Prophesy not” (2:12b).
- Isaiah 30:9, 10 says, “That this is a rebellious people, lying children,
children that will not hear the law of the LORD: Which say to the seers, See
not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us
smooth things, prophesy deceits.”
- This is exactly what Amaziah the priest did (Amos 7:10-13).
- The same thing happened to Jeremiah. The men of Anathoth sought to kill him
and they said to him, “Prophesy not in the name of the LORD, that thou die not
by our hand.”
- The Lord was fed up with their wickedness (Amos 2:13).
judgment was inevitable and inescapable (2:14-16).
- “Flee away
naked” (2:16) means to flee quickly and to leave behind their weapons and
ammunition and anything that would hinder their retreat.
message was not a popular message, but it was one he had to deliver. Fifteen times in the book of Amos we
read these words, “Thus saith the LORD.”
- G. Campbell
Morgan once heard someone say, “The preacher must catch the spirit of the
age.” Morgan replied, “God forgive him if he does. The preacher’s
business is to correct the spirit of the age.”
- That is what Amos did.