Amos

 

I.         Amos was a herdsman from the city of Tekoa (about 12 miles south of Jerusalem)

            A.        Tekoa was a small town on the edge of the wilderness.

            B.        During the reigns of King Uzziah in Judah and King Jeroboam in Israel, he was given a vision.

            C.        He when went from a humble shepherd from an outlying town to a prophet of God appearing before kings.

II.        The first section is a pronouncement of judgment on nations neighboring Israel and the nation of Israel herself. Amos 1:2-2:16

            A.        Each starts with the phrase “For three transgressions of ______ and for four, I will not turn away its punishment.”

                        1.         Means God has been overlooking the sins of this nation for a while, but now they have pushed him too far.

                        2.         Their punishment is certain. For the most part, their punishment was their destruction.

            B.        Damascus (Syria)

                        1.         Had attacked a portion of Israel and had cut down everyone in their path, like a farmer taking a sickle to wheat.

            C.        Gaza (Philistine)

                        1.         They conquered whole communities in Israel and sold them as slaves to Edom

            D.        Tyre (Philicea)

                        1.         They conquered communities in Israel and sold them as slaves to Edom

                        2.         They also did not honor their agreements made during the reign of Solomon.

            E.        Edom

                        1.         Attacked Israel without pity.

                        2.         Kept alive their hatred of their kinsmen.

            F.        Ammon

                        1.         Killed pregnant women while enlarging their borders

            G.        Moab

                        1.         Attacked Edom and burned the king of Edom to death

            H.        Judah

                        1.         They have turned their backs on God’s commandments

                        2.         They lie and have followed after lies.

            I.         Israel

                        1.         They sold righteous people and poor people off as slaves

                        2.         They oppressed the poor. They even use the cloaks they have taken from the poor (a violation of the Law) as padding while they worship idols.

                        3.         They encouraged Nazirites to break their vows and insist that prophets be silenced.

III.       Amos’ second message was to Israel and Judah - Amos 3:1-6:14

            A.        God holds them to a greater responsibility because He had chosen them as a special people - Amos 3:2

                        1.         Yet how can they be His people when they do not agree? - Amos 3:3

                        2.         The problems the Israelites faced were not random events. They had a cause — God was punishing them for their sins.

                        3.         Those prophets the people were shushing were there to warn the people. God is not acting as a secret assassin. - Amos 3:7-8

                                    a.         Famine - Amos 4:6

                                    b.         Partial droughts - Amos 4:7-8

                                    c.         Crop diseases and locust - Amos 4:9

                                    d.         Losses in war - Amos 4:10

                                    e.         Disasters - Amos 4:11

                                    f.         Yet the people never turned to God. At least their ancestors during the times of the Judges saw the need for God.

            B.        Amos details the sins of Israel. They do not know how to do right - Amos 3:10

                                    a.         The ruling class - Amos 3:9-10

                                    b.         The women - Amos 4:1

                                    c.         The religious - Amos 4:4-5

                        2.         A remnant will be saved, though it will not be much - Amos 3:12

                        3.         The people do not want to hear any rebukes - Amos 5:10

                                    a.         They are wrapped up in their wealth.

                                    b.         They take comfort in their ill-gotten riches.

            C.        Judah is no better.

                        1.         They think they are protected - Amos 6:1

                        2.         They are a society wrapped up in self pleasure - Amos 6:3-6

                        3.         But they face judgment as well.

IV.      In the third prophecy - Amos 7:1-17

            A.        God shows Amos a vision of locust swarms destroying the second season’s crop, the one the people use to survive over the winter and to plant next year.- Amos 7:1-3

                        1.         God is saying he will destroy the people at their most vulnerable time

                        2.         Amos intercedes and God relents.

            B.        God then shows Amos a vision where Israel is destroyed by fire. (Amos 7:4-6) Amos again intercedes and God relents.

            C.        Finally, God shows Amos a plumb-line. A device to check if a wall is truly straight up and down.

                        1.         God is measuring Israel against His word.

                        2.         Amos sees how far Israel has departed and this time he does not intercede!

                        3.         Even Amos can see that Israel has gone too far.

            D.        A debate occurs over this bad news - Amos 7:10-17

                        1.         Amaziah, a self-made priest charges Amos with treason against the king of Israel.

                                    a.         His preaching is too negative and the people don’t like it.

                                                (1)       Same description Isaiah gives in Isa 30:9-11

                                    b.         He is claiming the king will die (not what Amos said, see Amos 7:9) and Israel be taken captive. (Implied: obviously false!)

                                    c.         He tries to run Amos off. You can’t speak such bad things in their chief city, the headquarters for their religion and where the king lives.

                                    d.         Besides, Amos would make more money where people liked him.

                        2.         People do this today.

                                    a.         Acts 4:17 - 18 - The Jews wanted the Apostle silent.

                                    b.         You can’t say bad things about other people’s religions. Its not nice.

                                    c.         People don’t want face to face confrontations. II Tim 4:3-4

                        3.         Amos doesn’t back down

                                    a.         He didn’t become a prophet because of a life-long ambition (like Amaziah)

                                    b.         He wasn’t born into a family of prophets (like Amaziah)

                                    c.         Amos was happy as a herdsman, but God grabbed him

                                    d.         In other words, he wasn’t in it for the money or the fame. He could not be bought, so brace yourself, because I’m going to tell you what the Lord has said about you.

                                    e.         Very much like Paul - I Cor 9:16

                        4.         Amaziah would face

                                    a.         His wife becoming a prostitute

                                    b.         His children being killed in a war

                                    c.         His land divide by others

                                    d.         And he would die as a captive in a foreign land

                        5.         Strangely, there is no reply.

V.        Which kind of preacher would you prefer?

            A.        Amaziah would never be so rude as to disturb the peace of a congregation by pointing out errors. He would not bother people by calling them to repent. No one would leave his preaching with feelings of guilt. Everything would be so sweet and pleasant.

            B.        Amos would not always be pleasant, in fact it would be down right uncomfortable as you are made to see yourself in the clear light of the gospel. His stern rebukes would cause some guilty feelings and even unrest in the church.

            C.        Which kind of preacher would you prefer? God prefers Amos.