The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
GOD HATES FALSE RELIGION
- Last week we
studied the “day of the LORD” (5:20).
One preacher said we now go from the day of the LORD to the “disgust of
the LORD” (5:21).
- A number of
years ago I was invited to participate in a “focus group.” The discussion was about police
- There were
about a dozen or so participants - a few Baptist pastors, some Pentecostals, a
RC priest, a couple of Jewish rabbis, etc.
- Most of the
so-called “clergymen (and clergywomen)” were not saved, but there were two or
three who seemed to know the Lord.
- Toward the
end of the meeting, one of the rabbis rebuked me in front of everyone, calling
me “intolerant,” etc. because I believe the only way to heaven is through faith
in the Lord Jesus Christ.
- I did not
respond to his rebuke, but waited till later when I had the opportunity to talk
to him privately. I told him I was
sorry to offend him but the Bible was clear (John 14:6).
- He was
seething with anger (like the hypocritical Pharisees of Jesus’ day) and
continued to rebuke me. He actually
looked like he wanted to hit me.
- In the Bible
we see that there are certain things God hates, and one of them is false
religion (Amos 5:21).
- God hates
idolatry (5:26; cf. 4:4; 5:5).
- God hates ritualism - emphasis on elaborate ceremonies, fancy colorful
vestments, candles, sacraments, etc.
- God hates sacerdotalism and priestcraft. “For there is one God, and one mediator
between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 2:5).
- Gary Cohen says, “Sacerdotalism is the doctrine that ceremonies
themselves can grant righteousness to the one who participates in them”
(Hosea and Amos).
- God hates formalism - that is, strict adherence to external forms without
- God hates syncretism - the satanic mixing of several different religions
into a synthesized hodgepodge.
- God hates hypocrisy. Our
Lord said to the Pharisees, “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees,
hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye
neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in”
GOD DESPISED ISRAEL’S EMPTY RELIGION
- God hated
their feast days (5:21).
- God did not
want to smell in their solemn assemblies (5:21).
- God did not
accept their burnt offerings and meat offerings (5:22).
- God would
not regard the peace offerings of their fat beasts (5:22).
- God did not
want to hear their music. It was
- It was not
that they had introduced religious novelties. They were following the prescribed
worship instituted by God Himself.
The problem was their hypocrisy (5:25, 26).
- God was
telling them their hearts were not right (cf. Isaiah 1:13-18).
sacrificial system pointed to the substitutionary death of Christ on the
cross. Hebrews 9:12 says, “Neither
by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once
into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”
THE LORD DEMANDS REPENTANCE (5:24; cf.
- They needed
to get their priorities right. Samuel said, “Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and
sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than
sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Sam. 15:22).
- The Psalmist
said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm
- Hosea 6:6
says, “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more
than burnt offerings.”
- Micah 6:8
says, “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require
of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy
- When a
church is in a state of declension, it is not the doctrine (or even the church
services) that goes first. By the
time the doctrine and services start changing the church is already a
THE LORD PRONOUNCES JUDGMENT
quoted these Scriptures in Acts 7:42, 43 before he was killed.
- Amos 5:25
appears to be a rhetorical question with a “yes” answer. But they also worshipped false gods like
Moloch and Chiun (5:26).
- Moloch was a
heathen idol with outstretched arms. Babies and small children were placed in his outstretched arms and burned
alive as a human sacrifice.
- This is the
only reference to Chiun in the Bible (5:26). Stephen referred to him as
“Remphan” (Acts 7:43).
- “The star of
your god” (Amos 5:26; Acts 7:43) suggests both idolatry and astrology, and could
be a reference to the Star of David (a six-pointed star called a
- God traced
their unholy mixture of worship of Jehovah along with heathen idolatry back to
their wilderness journeyings (Amos 5:25).
Israelites worshipped the golden calf in the wilderness, and this idolatry was
revived under King Jeroboam I, the first king of Israel after God divided Israel
instituted this false worship in Bethel and Dan (Amos 4:4; 5:5; cf. I Kings
- Once again
God warned them of the impending Assyrian invasion (5:27). Damascus was on the way to Assyria.
- Stephen said, “I will carry you away beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:43), perhaps
reminding his listeners of the 70-year Babylonian captivity.
- God has
always rejected false religion. We
can trace this all the way back to Genesis 4 when God rejected Cain’s false
- “And the
LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his
offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance
fell” (Genesis 4:4, 5).
- A new religion has been
initiated, which is no more Christianity than chalk is cheese; and this
religion, being destitute of moral honesty, palms itself off as the old faith
with slight improvements, and on this plea usurps pulpits which were erected for
Gospel preaching. The atonement is scouted, the inspiration of Scripture is
derided, the Holy Spirit is degraded into an influence, the punishment of sin is
turned into fiction, and the resurrection into a myth, and yet these enemies of
our faith expect us to call them brethren, and maintain a confederacy with them”
- Charles H. Spurgeon.