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Amos 5

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 23, 2014


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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.

5:1-3 Lamentation

:1 Hear this word which I take up against you, a lamentation, O house of Israel:

:1 lamentationqiynah – lamentation, dirge, elegy

A lamentation is a song that is sung at funerals, after a person has died.

:2 The virgin of Israel has fallen; She will rise no more. She lies forsaken on her land; There is no one to raise her up.

:3 For thus says the Lord God: “The city that goes out by a thousand Shall have a hundred left, And that which goes out by a hundred Shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”

:3 Shall have a hundred left

Only 1/10 of the nation would survive the coming captivity of the Assyrians.


It will surely happen

What God predicts will one day happen.
Moses had warned the people over 600 years earlier what would happen if they continually turned their back on the Lord.

(Dt 28:62 NKJV) You shall be left few in number, whereas you were as the stars of heaven in multitude, because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.

At the time that Amos was giving this prophecy, the destruction hadn’t happened, and yet Amos is singing out this lamentation as if it has already happened.

The destruction of the nation is 40 years away.

We’ve been promised that Jesus is coming.
Even though some may say He’s never going to come…
(2 Pe 3:3–9 NKJV) —3 knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” 5 For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, 6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. 8 But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. 9 The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

We may at times get discouraged that it hasn’t happened yet, but it will happen.

Jesus will come back.

The only thing that’s holding Him back is that He doesn’t want people to perish. Jesus wants just a few more to turn to Him.

Are you one of those He’s waiting for? There will be a day when He will stop waiting.

5:4-15 Call to Repentance

:4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live;

:5 But do not seek Bethel, Nor enter Gilgal, Nor pass over to Beersheba; For Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, And Bethel shall come to nothing.

:4-5 Seek Me … not … Bethel

Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba were all places the Israelites had been going to worship.

Play Bethel & Co. map clip.

Bethel is where Amos is … where Jeroboam had set up a golden calf.
Gilgal was down by the Jordan River, where Joshua had first camped before conquering the Promised Land.
It had become another alternative to Jerusalem.
Beersheba was one of the places where Abraham and Isaac had spent time, far in the south of Judah.
Apparently some sort of alternate worship was happening there as well.
It almost seems as if they were willing to go anywhere except Jerusalem.


God or religion?

The word “religion” for many people is a word often connected to God.
I think that God has put something inside of every man that tells him that he needs God.
The problem is that sometimes we think that we should be the ones to make up the rules of how to connect to God, rather than paying attention to the things that God Himself has said about connecting to Him.
God had decreed that when Israel came into their Promised Land, that there would be one place to worship. (Deut. 12)
In David’s day, it became clear that the one place was Jerusalem.
And yet the people would rather go to Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba.
They’d rather go anywhere than where God wanted them to go.
Bethel was set up as a worship center by Jeroboam I specifically to keep the people of the north from going to Jerusalem to worship.
Gilgal and Beersheba were worship centers apparently more out of the nostalgia of the “good ol’ days”, remembering the history of those places.
With the coming of the Messiah, God’s one place to connect with Him became a person, not a place.
(Jn 4:21–24 NKJV) —21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

Connecting with God no longer has to do with the place where you go.

You might have thought that your worries are over because you’ve decided to come to church today.

Going to church doesn’t make you a right with God any more than going to McDonald’s makes you a Happy Meal.

Honoring God has to do with your spirit connecting to God’s Spirit.

There is a specific way that God has decreed for you to connect with Him.
(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.
Are you “religious” or do you actually know Him?
Play “I Am Here” clip
As you can see with Israel here, when people are caught up in religion, things might look good on the outside, but as you dig deeper into their lives you see that they are fake – hypocrites.
When people are caught up in knowing God, they may not be perfect, but as you dig deeper into their lives, you will find sincerity, not fakery.

:6 Seek the Lord and live, Lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, And devour it, With no one to quench it in Bethel—

:4 Seek Me and live


Seek God

God wants us to turn around.
Even after what we might think is the “final straw”, God doesn’t think it’s too late to turn around.
(Dt 30:1–6 NKJV) —1 “Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

:7 You who turn justice to wormwood, And lay righteousness to rest in the earth!”

:7 turn justice into wormwood

wormwoodla’anah – wormwood; bitterness (metaph.)

Wormwood is a bitter herb, symbolic of bitterness.

There are many species of wormwood (a woody herb) grow in Israel, and all have a strong, bitter (but not necessarily poisonous) taste, which causes the plant to be used as a symbol of bitterness, sorrow, and calamity.

The process of justice should be one that brings a sense of peace to people as those who are guilty are punished for their sins.

But the northern kingdom was making a mockery of justice, letting guilty people go free.
It leaves a bitter taste in your mouth as you watch this happen.

:8 He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning And makes the day dark as night;

:8 He made the Pleiades and Orion

These are two groupings of stars.

Our translators have labeled these two groups of stars with their Greek names, but Amos is actually using the Hebrew names for these groups of stars.

PleiadesKiymah – Pleiades, a constellation of seven stars

The Pleiades are called the “Seven Sisters”. It is an open star cluster located in the constellation of Taurus. It is one of the nearest star clusters to the Earth and is the cluster most obvious to the naked eye in the night sky.
Alcyone, the brightest star of the Pleiades, is actually a cluster of stars 400 light years from earth. The main star is 10 times larger than the sun and is 2,400 times brighter.

OrionKeciyl – constellation, Orion

Orion is a very recognizable constellation, you will be able to identify it by the three bright stars in a row that form “Orion’s belt”.
Rigel, the brightest star in Orion, is actually a triple star system 800 light years from us. The primary star is 18 times the weight of the sun, and 117,000 times brighter than the sun.

God made these stars:

(Job 9:9 NKJV) He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, And the chambers of the south;
Isaiah wrote that God has …
(Is 40:12 NKJV) …Measured heaven with a span ..
God is really, really big.

When He comes to judge the earth, do you really want to be found guilty of breaking His laws?

:8 He turns the shadow of death … morning…night

God ends the night with the dawn, then the day once again become night.

:8 He calls for the waters of the sea And pours them out on the face of the earth; The Lord is His name.

:8 waters … pours them out

Amos is describing the water cycle where water is evaporated from the oceans, carried in clouds, and then rained on the earth.

:8 The Lord is His name

Lord – “Yahweh”

God’s name is “Yahweh”

:9 He rains ruin upon the strong, So that fury comes upon the fortress.

The “strong” are those who are abusing the weak. God will judge them.

:10 They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, And they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.

:10 They hate the one who rebukes in the gate

Judges held court at the gates of the city.

Those people who would speak up against evil weren’t appreciated.


Handling criticism

I don’t know about you, but I don’t like it when someone criticizes me.
I don’t even like it when they’re correct.
But Solomon wrote:
(Pr 9:8 NLT) So don’t bother correcting mockers; they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you.
(Pr 15:31 NLT) If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.
(Pr 13:18 NLT) If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept correction, you will be honored.
One wise 96 year old lady wrote this:
If you can start the day without caffeine
If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles
If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it
If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time
If you can overlook it when something goes wrong through no fault of yours and those you love take it out on you
If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him
If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend
If you can face the world without lies and deceit
If you can conquer tension without medical help
If you can relax without liquor
If you can sleep without the aid of drugs
If you can say honestly that deep in your heart you have no prejudice against creed, color, religion or politics
If you can take criticism and blame without resentment

Then, my friend, you are almost as good as your dog.

Every time I start talking about how God hates sin, I risk offending some of you. I know it’s hard to listen to someone telling you that you’re wrong about something.
In J. Oswald Sanders’ Book, Spiritual Leadership (pg.120), he writes:
Samuel Brengle, who was noted for his sense of holiness, felt the heat of caustic criticism. Instead of rushing to defend himself, he replied: “From my heart I thank you for your rebuke. I think I deserved it. Will you, my friend, remember me in prayer?” When another critic attacked his spiritual life, Brengle replied: “I thank you for your criticism of my life. It set me to self-examination and heart-searching and prayer, which always leads me into a deeper sense of my utter dependence on Jesus for holiness of heart, and into sweeter fellowship with Him.”
How do you handle it when someone corrects you?

:11 Therefore, because you tread down the poor And take grain taxes from him, Though you have built houses of hewn stone, Yet you shall not dwell in them; You have planted pleasant vineyards, But you shall not drink wine from them.

Those who have abused the poor will be judged.

:12 For I know your manifold transgressions And your mighty sins: Afflicting the just and taking bribes; Diverting the poor from justice at the gate.

:12 I know your manifold transgressions

:12 manifoldrab – much, many, great

This is not talking about using the wrong auto parts.

“Manifold” means “many” or “great”. God knows their many sins.

:12 Diverting the poor from justice at the gate

The courts were held at the gates of a city.

Judgment was coming because those who were in a position of leading were causing harm to good people.

Rulers made their judgments based on how much money a person had. The poor people got the short end of the stick.

:13 Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, For it is an evil time.

:13 the prudent keep silent

prudentsakal – to be prudent, be circumspect, wisely understand, prosper

keep silentdamam – to be silent, be still, wait

Sometimes the best thing to do is to keep your mouth shut.

David used this word when he wrote,

(Ps 37:7 NKJV) Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, Because of the man who brings wicked schemes to pass.
The word “Rest” (v.7) is the same word as “keep silent”.
Sometimes the wisest thing to do is to keep your mouth shut, and still trust in God to work it out.

Keeping silent doesn’t mean you don’t do anything. You trust.

:14 Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken.

:15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

:15 the remnant of Joseph

Joseph (the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh) was another way to refer to the northern kingdom.

Joseph was actually represented by the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh.

5:16-27 The Day of the Lord

:16 Therefore the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, says this: “There shall be wailing in all streets, And they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmer to mourning, And skillful lamenters to wailing.

:17 In all vineyards there shall be wailing, For I will pass through you,” Says the Lord.

:17 I will pass throughabar – to pass over or by or through

This is the same word used to describe the judgment on Egypt, the time of the “Pass-over”.

(Ex 12:12 NKJV) ‘For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord.
The difference is that this time the judgment won’t be against the gods of Egypt, but against Israel.

:18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.

:18 who desire the day of the Lord

The “day of the LORD” is a day of judgment.

There were those who were thinking that the “Day of the Lord” would only bring judgment on the enemies of Israel.

They didn’t realize that it would bring judgment to them as well.
The coming Assyrian invasion will be a form of the “day of the LORD”, and it will not be a happy day for Israel, it will be a sad day.

The ultimate “day of the LORD” is when Jesus comes back.

We see it described in Revelation 6-19 – and it’s not a pretty thing.

While some of us are more than ready for the Lord to come back, it doesn’t hurt for us to realize that there are people around us who are not ready.

We ought to be a little torn about it. We want Jesus to come back and for all this mess to get cleaned up. But we wouldn’t mind if Jesus waited a little longer for some of our friends to come around. Right?

:19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!

:20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

:19 lion … bear … serpent

Amos is painting a picture of one calamity happening after another. First a man flees from a lion, only to meet a bear. It reminds me of a story…


Two men are walking through a forest. Suddenly, they see a bear in the distance, running towards them. They turn and start running away. But then one of them stops, takes some running shoes from his bag, and starts putting them on. “What are you doing?” says the other man. “Do you think you will run fast than the bear with those?” “I don’t have to run faster than the bear,” he says. “I just have to run faster than you.”

When the guy escapes from the bear, he runs into his house and is bit by a snake.

It will be a little bit like the plagues on Egypt in the book of Exodus, or the judgments in Revelation. It is one bad thing after another.

The book of Revelation gives us the same picture – from bad to worse.

Reminds me of …

The Bricklayer’s Accident
National Health Insurance, Inc./ ATTN: Claims Review/ PO Box 17342/ New York, NY 12276
Dear Sir/Madam:
I am writing in response to your request for additional information. In block number 3 of the accident report form, I put “trying to do the job alone” as the cause of my accident. You said in your letter that I should explain more fully, and I trust that the following details will be sufficient.
I am a bricklayer by trade. On the date of the accident I was working alone on the roof of a new 6-story building. When I completed my work, I discovered that I had about 500 pounds of brick left over. Rather than carry the bricks down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley, which fortunately was attached to the side of the building, at the sixth floor.
Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out, and loaded the brick into it. Then I went back to the ground and untied the rope, holding it tightly to insure a slow descent of the 500 pounds of brick. You will note in block number 11 of the accident report that I weigh 135 pounds.
Due to my surprise at being jerked off the ground so suddenly, I lost my presence of mind and forgot to let go of the rope. Needless to say, I proceeded at a rather rapid rate up the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming down. This explains the fractured skull and broken collarbone. Slowed only slightly, I continued my rapid ascent not stopping until the fingers of my right hand were two knuckles deep into the pulley.
Fortunately, by this time I had regained my presence of mind and was able to hold tightly to the rope in spite of my pain.
At approximately the same time, however, the barrel of bricks hit the ground—and the bottom fell out of the barrel. Devoid of the weight of the bricks, the barrel now weighed approximately 50 pounds.
I refer you again to my weight in block number 11. As you might imagine, I began a rapid descent down the side of the building.
In the vicinity of the third floor, I met the barrel coming up. This accounts for the two fractured ankles and the lacerations of my legs and lower body. The encounter with the barrel slowed me enough to lessen my injuries when I fell onto the pile of bricks, and, fortunately, only 3 vertebrae were cracked.
I’m sorry to report, however, that as I lay there on the bricks, in pain, unable to stand, and watching the empty barrel 6 stories above me—I again lost my presence of mind, and I let go of the rope. The empty barrel weighed more than the rope as it came back down on me and broke both my legs.
I hope I have furnished the information you require as to how the accident occurred.
Billy Wohlnut

We can chuckle at Billy’s calamity, but the picture of one bad thing happening after another is what is described in horrible detail in the book of Revelation.

:21 “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies.

:22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.

:23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.

:22 Take away from Me the noise of your songs

The feast days, sacrifices, offerings, and the songs are all good things… unless you’re a hypocrite.

It’s like a man singing a love song to his wife while his girlfriend is waiting for him out in the car.

:24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.

:24 let justice run down like water

God doesn’t want “religious” stuff, He wants to see “justice” and “righteousness”.

:25 “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

:26 You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, Which you made for yourselves.

:25 In the wilderness forty years

When God brought Israel out of the slavery of Egypt, they wandered in the wilderness for forty years before God brought them into the Promised Land.

During those forty years, Israel was not blameless before God.

They still had their foreign gods tucked away in their back pockets.
They carried “Sikkuth” with them, a Babylonian deity.
Sikkuth – “tent”

A Babylonian deity

LXX – “tabernacle of Moloch”

They also worshipped “Chiun”, the god of the planet Saturn.
ChiumKiyuwn – “image” or “pillar”

Probably a statue of the Assyrian-Babylonian god of the planet Saturn and used to symbolize Israelite apostasy

When Stephen defends himself before the Sanhedrin, he quotes this passage from Amos (quoting from the LXX text)

(Ac 7:39–43 NKJV) —39 whom our fathers would not obey, but rejected. And in their hearts they turned back to Egypt, 40 saying to Aaron, ‘Make us gods to go before us; as for this Moses who brought us out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ 41 And they made a calf in those days, offered sacrifices to the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands. 42 Then God turned and gave them up to worship the host of heaven, as it is written in the book of the Prophets: ‘Did you offer Me slaughtered animals and sacrifices during forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? 43 You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch, And the star of your god Remphan, Images which you made to worship…

The “good old days” were not really always all that “good”.

:27 Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.

:27 into captivity beyond Damascus

In forty years (722 BC), the northern kingdom will fall to the Assyrians.

Play Captivity map clip.

2Kings 17:6 tells us they were taken far beyond Damascus and scattered as far away as modern Iran.

(2 Ki 17:6 NKJV) In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria, and placed them in Halah and by the Habor, the River of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.

The ancient city of Halah is in the north of modern Iraq near Mosul.
They might have been carried as far off as Ecbatana, the capital city of the Medes.
Today, the city of Ecbatana is known as Hamadan in northern Iran.

:27 whose name is the God of hosts

Elohe Tsabbaoth

He is the God of heaven’s armies.

Back to…

:14 Seek good and not evil, That you may live; So the Lord God of hosts will be with you, As you have spoken.

:15 Hate evil, love good; Establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts Will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

:15 Hate evil, love good

If the people start doing this, God might be gracious to the northern kingdom


What repentance looks like

Change your course
They were dispensing “injustice” in the courts (at the gate).
Now they need to reestablish justice in the courts.
Peter wrote,
(2 Pe 3:10–14 NKJV) —10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;
Are you going the wrong direction in life? Then turn around.