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Amos 1-2

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 9, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular: 2900 words Communion: 2500 words Dividing the book by chapters 1,2 = 31 3,4 = 28 5 = 27 6,7 = 31 8,9 = 29

1:1-2 Introduction

:1 The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

:1 Amos = “burden”

Though it’s a different word in Hebrew, a prophetic word from God was sometimes called a “burden”

(Is 15:1 NKJV) —1 The burden against Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste And destroyed, Because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste And destroyed,

:1 among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa

Play Tekoa Bethel map clip

Amos’ home was in Tekoa, a town in Judah about 10 miles south of Jerusalem.
He’s going to be speaking at Bethel, which belongs to the northern tribe of Israel, about 10 miles north of Jerusalem.

:1 sheepbreedersnoqed – sheep-raiser, sheep-dealer, sheep-tender

Amos is a sheep rancher.

The word speaks of someone who manages or owns large flocks of sheep and goats and may have been in charge of other shepherds.

This isn’t the typical word for “shepherd”.

It’s only found one other place in the Old Testament:

(2 Ki 3:4 NKJV) Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheepbreeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams.

Amos also has a side job – he’s a fig picker (Am. 7:14)

(Am 7:14 NKJV) Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit.
The word translated “tender” is a technical term that describes the process of slitting or scratching the young fruit, allowing some of the juice to run out, but allowing the rest of the fig to ripen into a sweeter, more tastier fruit.
He’s a fruit cultivator.


God can use anyone

We sometimes make the mistake of thinking that God can only use certain people in certain situations.
We might think that God can only use people with advanced educational degrees – and don’t get me wrong, education is a good thing.
The truth is God can use anyone.
Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
(1 Co 1:26–27 NLT) —26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. 27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.

God sometimes prefers to use the “foolish” so that the wise will be in awe of the God that is working through them.

In the beginning days of the church, God used two fishermen in a huge way.
to heal a man who had been lame since birth. Peter and John got into trouble because they kept pointing everyone to Jesus, claiming that it was Jesus who had actually healed the man. When they were brought before the Jewish leaders to explain themselves, they gave quite an elegant and bold defense of their actions.
(Ac 4:13 NKJV) Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.
In the early days of the Jesus movement, God used young people.  Greg Laurie was 19 years old when he pastored his first church.
God will be using a sheep ranching fig-picker.
He can use you too.

:1 Uzziah … Jeroboam

This gives us the historical setting for Amos’ prophecies.

Uzziah in the south and Jeroboam II in the north were two of the longest reigning kings.

Uzziah was one of the longest reigning kings of the southern kingdom of Judah. The prophet Isaiah began his ministry at the end of Uzziah’s reign.

Jeroboam II was the longest reigning king of the northern kingdom of Israel.

:1 two years before the earthquake

Even more specifically, Amos says that the words came two years before “the earthquake”.

It’s not that he’s predicting an earthquake in two years, but that he wrote everything down after the earthquake and used the earthquake as his date marker.

The Jewish historian Josephus links this earthquake with the time when Uzziah tried to enter the Temple and became a leper (2Chr. 26:16-20)

It was later in his life that he had been filled with pride and thought he could break the Law of Moses and go into the Temple and offer incense, something that only the priests were allowed to do.
The author of Chronicles tells us that when the High Priest rebuked Uzziah, Uzziah became afflicted with leprosy (2Chr. 26:16-20).
(2 Ch 26:16–20 NKJV) —16 But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction, for he transgressed against the Lord his God by entering the temple of the Lord to burn incense on the altar of incense. 17 So Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him were eighty priests of the Lord—valiant men. 18 And they withstood King Uzziah, and said to him, “It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the Lord, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Get out of the sanctuary, for you have trespassed! You shall have no honor from the Lord God.” 19 Then Uzziah became furious; and he had a censer in his hand to burn incense. And while he was angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead, before the priests in the house of the Lord, beside the incense altar. 20 And Azariah the chief priest and all the priests looked at him, and there, on his forehead, he was leprous; so they thrust him out of that place. Indeed he also hurried to get out, because the Lord had struck him.
Josephus tells us that just before the leprosy struck Uzziah, there was a great earthquake that brought damage to the Temple and caused massive landslides. (Antiquities of the Jews 9.10.4)
(225) In the meantime, a great earthquake shook the ground, and a rent was made in the temple, and the bright rays of the sun shone through it, and fell upon the king’s face, insomuch that the leprosy seized upon him immediately; and before the city, at a place called Eroge, half the mountain broke off from the rest on the west, and rolled itself four furlongs, and stood still at the east mountain, till the roads, as well as the king’s gardens, were spoiled by the obstruction.[1]
Zechariah also mentions the earthquake:
(Zec 14:5 NKJV) —5 Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, For the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee As you fled from the earthquake In the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the Lord my God will come, And all the saints with You.
That means the earthquake would have happened in 760 BC, and Amos’ prophecies would be dated 762 BC.
This puts Amos’ prophecy in the year 762 BC

Though there are other nations addressed, the book is primarily aimed at the northern kingdom of Israel, and may have been completely given to King Jeroboam II at the king’s chapel in the city of Bethel (Am 7:12-13)

(Am 7:12–13 NKJV) —12 Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread, And there prophesy. 13 But never again prophesy at Bethel, For it is the king’s sanctuary, And it is the royal residence.”

An Outline of Amos:

The Prophecies of Amos (chs. 1-2)

The Sermons of Amos (chs. 3-6)

The Visions of Amos (chs. 7-9)

:2 And he said: “The Lord roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem; The pastures of the shepherds mourn, And the top of Carmel withers.”

:2 The Lord roars from Zion

Shepherd were used to hearing a lion roar, but this isn’t a lion, it’s the Lord.

A lion’s roar can travel a great distance, up to 5 miles away.

Amos may be speaking to Jeroboam at Bethel, but it’s really God who is speaking, from Jerusalem (where the Temple is).

:2 pastures mourn… Carmel withers

Even though Amos is living in a time of prosperity, he is painting a picture of drought and disaster.

1:3-5 Damascus

Play Israel’s Enemies map clip

Amos will launch into a series of prophecies against the nations that surround the northern kingdom of Israel whose capital is Samaria.

Amos’ prophecies will start with the Syrians in Damascus, then the Philistines in Gaza, the Phoenicians in Tyre, and then the Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites.

I’m sure King Jeroboam enjoyed hearing bad news about his enemies …

:3 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.

:4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, Which shall devour the palaces of Ben-Hadad.

:5 I will also break the gate bar of Damascus, And cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, And the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” Says the Lord.

:3 For three transgressions …and for four

Amos will use this phrase through the next couple of chapters as a way of saying, “God has LOTS of reasons” for things to happen.

Even though each nation has quite a list of crimes against them, the nation with the biggest list of sins is Israel (2:6-8, 12).

The cities mentioned with each nation are the chief cities of that nation.

:3 threshed Gilead

Gilead is the northeastern part of Israel.

 on the other side of the Sea of Galilee (today known as the “Golan Heights”)

The Syrians of Damascus literally threshed and mangled the bodies of prisoners under heavily studded threshing sledges.

As a result of their treatment of the northern Israelites, the Syrians would be taken into captivity by the Assyrians. (2Ki 16:9)

:4 Hazael … Ben-Hadad

These were the rulers of Syria.

Hazael was the founder of the Syrian dynasty and ruler in Amos’ time.

Ben-Hadad was Hazael’s son and successor.

:5 break the gate bar

The bar is what kept the gate closed. God is going to remove Damascus’ defenses.

:5 Beth Eden – the summer palace of the Syrian king

:5 go captive to Kir

When Assyria invaded, they carried the people of Damascus to Kir (2Ki. 16:9)

(2 Ki 16:9 NKJV) —9 So the king of Assyria heeded him; for the king of Assyria went up against Damascus and took it, carried its people captive to Kir, and killed Rezin.

1:6-8 Gaza

:6 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they took captive the whole captivity To deliver them up to Edom.

:7 But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, Which shall devour its palaces.

:8 I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, And the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, And the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,” Says the Lord God.

:6 they took captive … To deliver

The cities listed here are all major cities of the Philistines.

The Philistines would take entire communities captive and sell them to the slave markets in Edom.

There have been a lot of headlines lately about the tragedy of “human trafficking”.  Last week a young gal from Yorba Linda was found murdered, and to the shock of her parents they have found out that she had been forced into prostitution.

The Philistines would be wiped out by Nebuchadnezzar.

1:9-10 Tyre

:9 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, And did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.

:10 But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, Which shall devour its palaces.”

:9 the covenant of brotherhood

Both David and Solomon had treaties with the king of Tyre. He was the one that helped build the Temple for Solomon. But now they are selling Israelites as slaves.

:9 they delivered up the whole captivity

The Phoenicians (Tyre) lived to the north of Israel. Like the Philistines, the Phoenicians also were involved in the slave trade.

:9 fire upon the wall of Tyre

Tyre was finally conquered by Alexander the Great in 332 BC.

1:11-12 Edom

:11 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he pursued his brother with the sword, And cast off all pity; His anger tore perpetually, And he kept his wrath forever.

:12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, Which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.”

:11 he pursued his brother with the sword

The Edomites were descendants of Esau, the twin brother to Israel (Jacob).  They had no pity on Israel.

Teman and Bozrah were chief cities of Edom.

Edom was enslaved by the Assyrians and later conquered by the Babylonians.

The land was taken over by the Nabateans (Arabs) around 400-300 BC.

1:13-15 Ammon

:13 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, That they might enlarge their territory.

:14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, And it shall devour its palaces, Amid shouting in the day of battle, And a tempest in the day of the whirlwind.

:15 Their king shall go into captivity, He and his princes together,” Says the Lord.

:13 they ripped open the women with child

It’s hard to imagine this kind of brutality.

The Ammonites lived to the south of the inhabitants of Gilead. They were brutal in battle.

Rabbah was the capital, known today as Amman, Jordan.

Assyria conquered Ammon in 734 B.C.

2:1-3 Moab

:1 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.

:2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, And it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, With shouting and trumpet sound.

:2 I will send a fire upon Moab

God will give them what they gave the Edomites.

They burned the king’s bones, God will send a fire on them.

This is an example of the principle of sowing and reaping.

(Ga 6:7–8 NKJV) —7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.

:3 And I will cut off the judge from its midst, And slay all its princes with him,” Says the Lord.

:1 he burned the bones of the king of Edom

In ancient times, it was considered a great offense to disturb or desecrate a man’s burial site. Many tombs came engraved with violent curses for anyone who would disturb the man’s bones.

The Moabites had dug up the bones of an Edomite king and burned them.

2:4-5 Judah

Note:  We think of Judah as the “good guys”, but as Jeroboam II is listening, they are his enemies just like Moab and Edom.

:4 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they have despised the law of the Lord, And have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, Lies which their fathers followed.

:5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, And it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”

:5 I will send a fire upon Judah

Judah was the nation of “good guys”. But they too would face judgment.


God will judge me too

We are just fine and dandy when judgment has to do what that person who hurt me.
But God will also one day judge me as well.
(2 Co 5:10 NKJV) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
I need to look at myself.
(1 Pe 4:17 NKJV) For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God…
(Mt 7:1–5 NKJV) —1 “Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
When I’m critical of other people, is it because I’m actually doing the same thing?
The person with the “plank” is quite the expert at having a piece of wood in their eye. It’s easier for them to spot others who have just a “speck” in their eyes.
Yet in reality, they are guilty too.

:4 they have despised the law


Ignoring the Word

The Jews had been entrusted with a most precious treasure, God’s Word.
And yet many in Judah didn’t care about God’s ways any more.
Who Shot The Buck
Three men went deer hunting, and as they crossed the field going to the woods, a huge buck jumped up in their path. All three fired at the same time. The buck dropped, and as they came up on the buck, they realized they had a problem. Which one of them shot the deer? As they discussed the problem, a game warden came along to check for hunting licenses. He offered to sort out the problem, examined the deer, and said, “One of you guys is a preacher, right?” And sure enough, one of them was. “Well, preacher, your shot is the one that got the buck.” Amazed, the guys asked how he knew one of them was a preacher and that the preacher’s shot was the one that scored. “Simple,” the game warden said, “It went in one ear and out the other.”

My friends, I hope what I’m saying isn’t going in one ear and out the other.

Jesus gave some great advice on how to survive the tough times in life:
(Mt 7:24–27 NKJV) —24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Everybody is going to face storms – difficult times.  You can’t avoid the storms, but you can survive them.

Don’t pick and choose which parts of the Bible you want to pay attention to.  Learn to do what the Bible says.  Don’t ignore it.

I am grieved when I hear of people who come to church week after week, hearing the Word of God, and yet choosing to just blow it all off.

We sometimes pick and choose what parts we want to take serious and what parts we want to skip.

:4 Their lies lead them astray



They had followed the lies of their fathers, perhaps like…
“All roads lead to heaven”

And yet Jesus said,

(Jn 14:6 NKJV) Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself, God could never love you.”

And yet Jesus said,

(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

“You’ll never change”

Paul said,

(Php 4:13 NKJV) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

You can change.

Learning to grow up is all about learning truth with love.
(Eph 4:15 NKJV) but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
It’s good to speak the truth in love…

Play Skit Guys’ Tell Her clip

2:6-16 Israel

:6 Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, Because they sell the righteous for silver, And the poor for a pair of sandals.

:6  transgressions of Israel

Up to this point, King Jeroboam II would be pretty happy to hear that all his enemies (including Judah) were facing judgment.  But now things start hitting close to home.


Two elderly, excited Southern women were sitting together in the front pew of church listening to a fiery preacher. When this preacher condemned the sin of stealing, these two ladies cried out at the tops of their lungs, “AMEN, BROTHER!” When the preacher condemned the sin of lust, they yelled again, “PREACH IT, REVEREND!” And when the preacher condemned the sin of lying, they jumped to their feet and screamed, “RIGHT ON, BROTHER! TELL IT LIKE IT IS...AMEN!” But when the preacher condemned the sin of gossip, the two got very quiet, and one turned to the other and said, “He’s quit preaching and now he’s meddlin’.”

Amos is now “meddlin

:7 They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, And pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, To defile My holy name.

(Am 2:7 NLT) —7 They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name.

:8 They lie down by every altar on clothes taken in pledge, And drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.

:9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, Whose height was like the height of the cedars, And he was as strong as the oaks; Yet I destroyed his fruit above And his roots beneath.

God had given victory to Israel as they conquered the kings like Og as they got ready to cross the Jordan and take the Promised Land:

(Deu 3:11 NKJV) "For only Og king of Bashan remained of the remnant of the giants. Indeed his bedstead was an iron bedstead. (Is it not in Rabbah of the people of Ammon?) Nine cubits is its length and four cubits its width, according to the standard cubit.

:10 Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, And led you forty years through the wilderness, To possess the land of the Amorite.

Let me read vs. 7-10 in an easier translation:

(Am 2:7–10 The Message) —7 They grind the penniless into the dirt, shove the luckless into the ditch. Everyone and his brother sleeps with the ‘sacred whore’— a sacrilege against my Holy Name. 8 Stuff they’ve extorted from the poor is piled up at the shrine of their god, While they sit around drinking wine they’ve conned from their victims. 9 “In contrast, I was always on your side. I destroyed the Amorites who confronted you, Amorites with the stature of great cedars, tough as thick oaks. I destroyed them from the top branches down. I destroyed them from the roots up. 10 And yes, I’m the One who delivered you from Egypt, led you safely through the wilderness for forty years And then handed you the country of the Amorites like a piece of cake on a platter.

:11 I raised up some of your sons as prophets, And some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?” Says the Lord.

:11 prophets

These were men like Moses and Elijah, who taught the nation of Israel how to follow God.

:11 Nazirites

This is a person who makes a special commitment to follow God (Numbers 6). This commitment meant that they did not…

Drink any wine
Touch a dead person.
Cut their hair.

Speaking of haircuts …

A few years ago a refugee from Laos came to the US in one of the resettlement influxes. He had been an announcer in radio back in Laos, and he wanted to get into the same line of work here. The first thing he did was join AFTRA (American Federation of Television and Radio Announcers). He tried to pursue a job, but of course, he had problems with the English language, being a new resident. In order to keep body and soul together while going to English classes, he took up barbering. Soon, he became a very good barber, giving haircuts, stylings, and shaves. He seemed to be an artist with the straight razor. In fact, the shop where he worked made him specialize in giving shaves.
Thus, he became known as an AFTRA shave Laotian.

The most famous Nazirite was named … Samson.

:12 “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, And commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy!’

They were hindering the very people that God was using.

:13 “Behold, I am weighed down by you, As a cart full of sheaves is weighed down.

:14 Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, The strong shall not strengthen his power, Nor shall the mighty deliver himself;

:15 He shall not stand who handles the bow, The swift of foot shall not escape, Nor shall he who rides a horse deliver himself.

:16 The most courageous men of might Shall flee naked in that day,” Says the Lord.

:15 The swift of foot shall not escape

There is no escaping from God’s judgment


Facing Judgment

Not a single nation that Amos mentions avoided the judgment that God warned about.
Damascus was carried off by the Assyrians. Gaza was wiped out by Nebuchadnezzar. Tyre was conquered by Alexander the Great. The Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites were all decimated by the Assyrians.
Judah was carried off to Babylon.
Israel was conquered and scattered by the Assyrians
Don’t think that you will somehow avoid God’s judgment.
Even if you avoid getting “caught” doing bad things in this life, you will face God after you die.

(Heb 9:27 NKJV) And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

No one will get away with anything.

(1 Pe 1:17 NLT) And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”
How can we be able to stand before this great Judge?
We have to learn to trust Him to pay for our sins.
(Ro 3:21–25 NLT) —21 But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago. 22 We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.

Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ?

Are you ready to stand before God?

[1] Josephus, F., & Whiston, W. (1987). The works of Josephus: complete and unabridged. Peabody: Hendrickson.