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Amos 3-4

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 16, 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

Amos was not your typical prophet.

He was a man who made his living raising sheep and cultivating fig trees.

Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah.

He was from the town of Tekoa.

The message is primarily aimed at the northern kingdom of Israel.

We believe this book was probably given at a one-time event when Amos traveled north to the city of Bethel and gave this message in the king’s chapel there.

The message was given in 762 BC, forty years before the Assyrian army would conquer the northern kingdom and haul the nation into captivity.

3:1-8 Amos’ motivation

:1 Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:

:1 against the whole family

Even though these words are directed mainly toward the ten northern tribes, all of Israel is included in this warning.

:2 “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”

:2 You only have I known

You might think that because Israel was known by God that they were not going to be punished.

In reality a greater knowledge brings greater responsibility.

:3 Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

:3 two walk together

I often hear this verse quoted when it comes to getting along with people.

It’s hard for two individuals to go very far down a path together if they are not going to have some sort of agreement between the two of them.

They are going to have to agree on what the destination is going to be.
They’re going to have to agree on the route to the destination.
They’re going to have to agree on when they are going to stop and eat. 

This is talking about more than just two humans walking together.


Agreeing with God

The context here is about how the nation has gone away from what God’s ideas are.
How can God and His people walk together if they don’t walk in agreement?
If you are going to claim that Yahweh is the God you worship, then you will learn to care about the things that Yahweh cares about.
The obstacle in the path
In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.

This peasant had a heart for the same thing that the king cared about.

It pays to be in “agreement” with the king.

Do I have the same heart about things that God does?
(1 Jn 1:5–7 NKJV) —5 This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

God is light.  There is nothing impure or “dark” about God.

If I claim to hang out (fellowship) with God, then I will be in the “light” as well, wanting to do “light” things.

But if I am secretly living a life of “darkness”, it only shows me that I’m really not in the light.

There’s even an added benefit of being “in the light” – even when I do stumble and screw up, there is forgiveness and cleansing.

:4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?

:4 a lion roar

A lion’s roar can be heard for 5 miles if the conditions are right.

Play Lion cub roar
Maybe that’s not the right lion.

Play Adult lion roar

One of the reasons a lion will roar is to simply let you know that they are there.

A lion’s roar will terrify everyone who hears it.
They are “king” of their territory and you had better stay away.

A lion doesn’t roar while it’s hunting, but will roar afterwards to tell the other animals to stay away from his kill.

Amos’ point is that if a lion has roared, then the hunt is over.  He has already caught his prey.

Lion’s tend to roar most often just before dawn. 

One reference

Another reference

:5 Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?

:6 If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

:5-6 bird … trumpet

These are all common sense things.

A bird (Israel) has been snared.  A trumpet (Amos the prophet) has been blown.

:7 Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

:7 He reveals His secret to His servants


No surprises

God always warns His people.
God’s people can’t ever say, “I never saw it coming” when it comes to God’s judgment. There is always plenty of warning.
Note:  If judgment came because God hates you, why would He warn you?  He warns you because He loves you and wants you to change.
A couple of pastors from local churches were standing by the road, pounding a sign into the ground that read:

The End is Near! Turn Yourself Around Now Before It’s Too Late!

As a car sped past them, the driver yelled, “Leave us alone, you religious nuts!” From the curve they heard … (screeching tires) and a big splash. One pastor turns to the other and asks, “Do you think the sign should just say ‘Bridge Out’?”
Some people are just fearful of everything.  They’re going to hear what I’m saying and think that there’s a bridge out around every corner and never even start the car.
God doesn’t want you afraid of everything.
God just wants me afraid when I openly rebel against what He has said.
But instead of being afraid, they had been telling the prophets to be quiet (2:12).
(Am 2:12b NKJV) …commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy!’
Are you listening?

:8 A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?

:8 A lion has roared!

Amos started off his book by telling us:

(Am 1:2 NKJV) And he said: “The Lord roars from Zion, And utters His voice from Jerusalem”

If the lion (God) has roared, then the hunt is over.

Amos might be speaking of things in the future, but they are so certain they are as good as done. Israel will be judged.

3:9-15 Israel’s sins

:9 “Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod, And in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say: ‘Assemble on the mountains of Samaria; See great tumults in her midst, And the oppressed within her.

:9 Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod

The Gentile kingdoms are called to witness the judgment that’s coming on Israel.

The heathen (Ashdod of the Philistines, and Egypt) are called to witness the judgment that is going to take place in the northern kingdom (Samaria).

:10 For they do not know to do right,’ Says the Lord, ‘Who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.’ ”

:10 they do not know to do right

Israel is acting like the gal that’s been told to add a quart of oil to her engine …

Play Blond and Engine Oil clip

Actually it sounds a lot like us.


We have too many men of science, too few men of God. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. ... Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living.
-- Gen. Omar N. Bradley in a 1948 Armstice Day address. Christianity Today, Vol. 32, no. 4.

:11 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “An adversary shall be all around the land; He shall sap your strength from you, And your palaces shall be plundered.”

:12 Thus says the Lord: “As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion Two legs or a piece of an ear, So shall the children of Israel be taken out Who dwell in Samaria— In the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch!

:12 Two legs or a piece of an ear

If a shepherd catches up to the lion that has attacked his flock, he might only be able to retrieve bits and pieces of a sheep.

The Assyrians were going devour Israel.  There will be little left. 

Yet despite these warnings, the leaders of the kingdom continue to live unmoved, asleep in their Lazy Boys…

:13 Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,” Says the Lord God, the God of hosts,

:14 “That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; And the horns of the altar shall be cut off And fall to the ground.

:14 the altars of Bethel

Bethel was the center of the northern kingdom’s idolatrous worship.

The sin of Jeroboam I was developing an alternative was of worshipping God without the people having to visit Jerusalem.

Jeroboam created two places of worship – Dan and Bethel.

He made golden calves and told the people that these were their gods.

:14 horns of the altar

This was a place people would run to and grab when they were seeking mercy from God.

But there would be no help from God.

:15 I will destroy the winter house along with the summer house; The houses of ivory shall perish, And the great houses shall have an end,” Says the Lord.

:15 houses of ivory shall perish

These are descriptions of the wealth of the northern kingdom.

The wealth of the northern kingdom will be destroyed.

4:1-5 Spoiled and unrepentant

:1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, Who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, “Bring wine, let us drink!”

:1 cows of Bashan

Bashan is the land of northeastern Israel, known for well fed cattle.

Amos is calling the well-fed women of Samaria the cows of Bashan. 

I’m not sure this is very flattering…

BTW gentlemen, don’t ever call your wife a “cow”.

Play Tim Hawkins “Wife Song

Even the women were oppressing others.

:2 The Lord God has sworn by His holiness: “Behold, the days shall come upon you When He will take you away with fishhooks, And your posterity with fishhooks.

:2 take you away with fishhooks

fishhooks (first) – tsinnah – something piercing, hook, barb; shield

fishhooks (second) – duwgah – fishing, fishery

andciyr – pot; thorn, hook, brier

These proud, arrogant women will be led away captive by the Assyrians.

:3 You will go out through broken walls, Each one straight ahead of her, And you will be cast into Harmon,” Says the Lord.

:3 cast into Harmon

Harmon – “high fortress”

We don’t know where this is.

:4 “Come to Bethel and transgress, At Gilgal multiply transgression; Bring your sacrifices every morning, Your tithes every three days.

:4 Your tithes every three days

The “tithe” was a tenth of your income.

The overall tithe was to be done once a year to the main place of worship (Jerusalem).

(Dt 14:22 NKJV) “You shall truly tithe all the increase of your grain that the field produces year by year.

Once every three years the tithe was supposed to be given to the local Levites.

(Dt 14:28 NKJV) “At the end of every third year you shall bring out the tithe of your produce of that year and store it up within your gates.

Here, they give their tithes every three days – they are “super” religious.

Some people feel that if they put money in the offering box that that will take care of their sin.

I would imagine that there are some pastors who don’t mind this either.


There were 2 men shipwrecked on this island. One started screaming and yelling, “We’re going to die! We’re going to die! There’s no food! No water! We’re going to die!” The second man was propped up against a palm tree, so calm it drove the 1st man crazy. “Don’t you understand? We’re going to die”! The 2nd man replied,” You don’t understand, I make $100,000 a week” The 1st man looked at him quite dumbfounded & asked, “What difference does that make? We’re on an island with no food & no water. We’re going to DIE!!!” The second answered, “You just don’t get it, I make $100,000 a week & I tithe on that $100,000 a week. My pastor will find me!”

:5 Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, Proclaim and announce the freewill offerings; For this you love, You children of Israel!” Says the Lord God.

:5 Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven

Leaven is a picture in the Bible of sin.

Leaven (or yeast) is a microorganism that multiplies itself in a lump of dough and works by a process of decay, producing carbon dioxide that makes your loaf of bread “raise” before you bake it.
Sin also multiplies itself in our lives, and produces a decay of sorts.

When God gave instructions to Moses about sacrifices, He said that no sacrifice was to be made with leaven (Lev. 2:11)

(Le 2:11 NKJV) ‘No grain offering which you bring to the Lord shall be made with leaven, for you shall burn no leaven nor any honey in any offering to the Lord made by fire.

Amos is describing the people of the northern kingdom performing bad sacrifices, their sin being mixed with it.

:4 Come to Bethel and transgress

Gilgal, like Bethel, was another place where the northern kingdom worshipped.

Normally a priest would say, “Come to Bethel to worship”.  But instead he says, “Come to Bethel and transgress”.

Amos is mocking them, almost like after Detective Harry Calahan has shot all the armed bandits except one …
Play “Make my day” clip

God is taunting the hypocrites, the people who are living lives of open disobedience to God, and then thinking they can just offer extra sacrifices to make it all right.


Repentance vs. Hypocrisy

Do you want to change?
Are you sincerely grieved over your own rebellious sin?
If so, then when you confess your sin to God, you will find forgiveness, grace, and acceptance.
Or do you think that going to church is just about a “quick fix”.
I say the magic words, “forgive me”, and God is obligated to pay for what I think amounts to a little parking ticket?
(1 Jn 1:9 NKJV) If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
confesshomologeo – to say the same thing as another, to agree with
Do you say the same thing about your sin that God says?
I’m not saying that you have to be free from your sin for three weeks before God will forgive you.

You may truly confess your sin to God and find yourself doing it again in a couple of days.

Do you look at your sin in the same way that God does?

God thinks your sin is pretty serious. 

(Ro 6:23 NKJV) For the wages of sin is death…

God thinks your sin deserves the death penalty. That’s why Jesus “died” for us.

Do you agree with Him enough to want to turn around?  If so, you will be forgiven.

The people of the northern kingdom looked quite religious with their many sacrifices, but they had no intention of turning from their sin.

There’s that old saying, “If you can’t to the time, then don’t do the crime.”

The people of the northern kingdom felt that “doing the time” simply meant putting a few extra coins in the offering basket, and since they were a prosperous people, they could pay the price for doing the crime.

So they did the crime.

4:6-13 You Have Not Returned

:6 “Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities. And lack of bread in all your places; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:6 cleanness of teeth

This is not talking about good dental hygiene.

It’s talking about a lack of food.  There is no food to “dirty” your teeth.

:7 “I also withheld rain from you, When there were still three months to the harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, And where it did not rain the part withered.

:8 So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, But they were not satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:7 I also withheld rain from you

Drought is one of the ways that God promised to bring judgment on the nation if they should wander from Him.

It was meant to get their attention.

Yet they had not turned to God.

BTW – we are in a drought.  Do you think God has our attention?

:9 “I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, Your vineyards, Your fig trees, And your olive trees, The locust devoured them; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:10 “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; Your young men I killed with a sword, Along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:11 “I overthrew some of you, As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:11 As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah

Sodom and Gomorrah were leveled by fire and brimstone from heaven (Gen. 19).

Perhaps this is talking about some of the invasions of various enemies who would burn entire cities to the ground.  Archaeologists digging into an ancient city will find layers showing the city having been burnt to the ground.

:11 like a firebrand plucked from the burning

God didn’t allow everything to burn.  Some people were plucked from the fire.

:11 Yet you have not returned to Me

There is a progression in vs. 6-11 of things going from bad to worse.

It’s just like God warns in both Leviticus and Deuteronomy.  God promises that if His people are rebellious, things will go from bad to worse.

In both the books of Leviticus and Deuteronomy God tells Israel how He is going to bless them when they learn to obey His laws, but if they ever choose to walk away from Him in disobedience, things would get difficult.

(Le 26:16 NKJV) I also will do this to you: I will even appoint terror over you, wasting disease and fever which shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart. And you shall sow your seed in vain, for your enemies shall eat it.
If the people choose to not turn from their sins, God warns them that things will get worse and worse.
(Le 26:18 NKJV) ‘And after all this, if you do not obey Me, then I will punish you seven times more for your sins.
For 20+ verses, God warns that with each step of continuing rebellion, things will get worse.
The difficulties aren’t intended to punish them, they are meant to get their attention to turn around.
The last difficulty would be the scattering of the nation:

(Le 26:38 NKJV) You shall perish among the nations, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.

It’s been 640 years since Moses gave this warning, and now the northern kingdom is just 40 years away from being scattered.

Remember back in 3:7 –
(Am 3:7 NKJV) Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

God has given them over 600 years of warning that the “bridge is out” ahead.

:12 “Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

:13 For behold, He who forms mountains, And creates the wind, Who declares to man what his thought is, And makes the morning darkness, Who treads the high places of the earth— The Lord God of hosts is His name.

:12 Prepare to meet your God

God is not like a little statue made by a man (an idol).

He is the one who has formed the mountains.

He is the Creator.


Are you ready?

(Lk 12:16–21 NKJV) —16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’ 21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
We tend to think like that success is having lots of money.
But not in God’s eyes.
There is a way to become successful in God’s eyes.  It comes from putting your life in Jesus’ hands.  It comes from learning to trust Him to pay for your sins.  And when you truly trust your life into Jesus’ hands, this is what God does…

(2 Co 5:21 NLT) For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

Being “right with God” is what true, eternal success is all about.

Are you prepared to meet your God?

When a person is ready to meet God, they don’t tremble in fear over what might happen, but they look forward to that day.
(Is 25:9 NKJV) And it will be said in that day: “Behold, this is our God; We have waited for Him, and He will save us. This is the Lord; We have waited for Him; We will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.”