The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD
- Chapter 4 is
a continuation of chapter 3 and begins the same way: “Hear this word…” (4:1; cf.
- The “word”
from God was a message of judgment. Because of Israel’s persistence in sin, God was going to send their
enemies, the Assyrians, to destroy the city of Samaria.
- God was
going to allow them to be led into captivity.
- The key
verse is verse 12: “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I
will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”
I. PREPARE TO MEET OUR HOLY
II. PREPARE TO MEET THE SOVEREIGN
III. PREPARE TO MEET THE CREATOR
PREPARE TO MEET OUR HOLY GOD
addresses the women of Israel first.
He calls them “ye kine (cows) of Bashan” (4:1; cf. 4:3). Bashan was an area between Mt. Hermon
and the mountains of Gilead, known for its cattle.
- God created
women to be beautiful and gracious, but worldly women have degraded
womanhood. So God refers to them as “kine” – lazy, spoiled women who lived luxuriously in
- “The Lord
GOD hath sworn by his holiness” (4:2a). In the Bible, God’s holiness is emphasized more than any of His other
- “God hath
sworn” (4:2) – therefore it would surely come to pass.
- Israel was
“hooked” on sin, but soon God would “hook” them in judgment (4:2).
- This is not
just a figure of speech. The cruel
Assyrians used to literally put hooks through their captives’ lips and
prophecy was literally fulfilled (II Kings 19:20, 28).
- “Come to
Bethel, and transgress…” (4:4a). Amos is using sarcasm and irony. God never encourages anyone to “transgress.”
means “house of God,” but backslidden Israelites had made it a house of idols
(cf. I Kings 12:28-32; Amos 5:5, 6).
- “Gilgal” (4:4; cf. Josh. 5:9) had become a center for syncretistic
worship (cf. Hosea 4:15; 9:15; 12:11).
- The Israelites were religious hypocrites – they were tithing but at the
same time they were worshiping idols (Amos 4:4).
- Their worship was nothing but empty ritual, devoid of any spirituality or
- “And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven…” (4:5a). In the Bible, leaven represents sin and
“Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed
and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt.
he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and
of the leaven of Herod” (Mark 8:15).
“Beware ye of the leaven of the
Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1).
“Therefore let us keep the feast, not
with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the
unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Cor. 5:8).
“A little leaven leaveneth the whole
lump” (Gal. 5:9).
- “For this liketh you, O ye children of Israel” (Amos 4:5). Since the days of Cain, worldly,
unregenerate sinners like to be religious but they do not want to obey
- The prophet Jeremiah said, “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the
priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it
so” (Jer. 5:31).
PREPARE TO MEET THE SOVEREIGN
- The LORD
sent Israel many warnings, but Israel ignored the various warnings and persisted
- Isaiah 9:13
says, “For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they
seek the LORD of hosts.”
- Jeremiah 5:3
says, “O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but
they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive
correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to
stubborn refusal to repent is emphasized by repetition.
God sent them famine
God withheld the rain (4:7,
God smote them with “blasting and
mildew” (4:9). “Blasting” is the effect of the withering east wind from the dry
desert. In Pharaoh’s dream, seven
thin ears “blasted with the east wind” sprung up after the seven good ears of
corn (Genesis 41:6).
In this case, mildew is caused from
excessive drought, not moisture.
God sent them pestilence
God slew their young men in war
(4:10b). The unburied dead bodies
made an awful stink but Israel still refused to repent.
God’s wrath was comparable to when He
overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah (4:11).
The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is often mentioned in the Bible as
an example of how God deals with sin (cf. II Peter 2:6).
- Their time
was nearly up (4:12; cf. 4:2).
- God in His
grace and mercy was still giving them time to repent (Amos 5:4, 6, 8, 14,
PREPARE TO MEET THE CREATOR GOD
- God is the
omnipotent Creator of everything.
- God is the
all-wise and omniscient God – “and declareth unto man what is his thought”
- God is the
omnipresent God that “maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high
places of the earth” (4:13).
- He is the
mighty and sovereign “LORD, The God of (angelic) hosts” (4:13).
- On April 18,
1906, a terrible earthquake hit San Francisco and destroyed the city. HA Ironside was there at that time and
he wrote that he “was an eyewitness to its horrors.”
- “Not the
least solemn thing noticed was the persistent efforts of the preachers of all
denominations to quiet the fears of the populace by assuring them that
God had no part in the calamitous events that had taken place. Natural causes explained
everything! This the Christless
were only too ready to believe; and thus were their partially awakened
consciences lulled to rest and their ears closed against the voice of Him who
through Amos said, ‘I have overthrown some of you!’”
warned people that the earthquake was sent from God, preaching throughout the
city, using Amos 4:11, 12 as his text.
- He reported that many souls were saved as a result.