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Amos 6-7

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 9, 2014


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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 them into captivity.

6:1-14 Jacob’s Pride

:1 Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria, Notable persons in the chief nation, To whom the house of Israel comes!

:1 Woe to … Zion … Samaria

Amos mentions the capital cities of both the northern and southern kingdom.

The chief men from both capitals were in trouble.

Zion (Jerusalem) is the capital of the southern kingdom of Judah.

Samaria is the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.

This chapter’s warning isn’t just aimed at the north, but the south as well.

:1 Notable persons

The warning is aimed at all those top advisors that people go to for help.

chiefre’shiyth – first, beginning, best, chief

:2 Go over to Calneh and see; And from there go to Hamath the great; Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?

:2 CalnehHamath … Gath

Play Gath and Hamath map clip

Gath is pretty close to Jerusalem and Samaria.
Hamath and Calneh are a couple hundred miles to the north in modern Syria.
We aren’t sure exactly where Calneh is, though some have suggested this location even further north of Hamath in Syria.

These were all important cities, once thought to be unconquerable.

Calneh and Hamath had been overrun by the Assyrians 108 years before Amos. (in 854-846 BC)
(Is 10:9 NKJV) —9 Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?
Gath of the Philistines had been conquered by Aram 77 years before Amos in 815 BC (2Ki. 27:17)
(2 Ki 12:17 NKJV) —17 Hazael king of Syria went up and fought against Gath, and took it; then Hazael set his face to go up to Jerusalem.

:3 Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, Who cause the seat of violence to come near;

:4 Who lie on beds of ivory, Stretch out on your couches, Eat lambs from the flock And calves from the midst of the stall;

:5 Who sing idly to the sound of stringed instruments, And invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;

:4-5 beds … couches … instruments

These are all pictures of prosperity.  The people were well off and not worried about a thing.

:6 Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

These are all pictures of prosperity.  The good life.

These people have it good.  Wine.  Perfume.

:7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.

:7 the first of the captives

firstro’sh – head, top, summit, upper part, chief, total, sum, height, front, beginning

The word translated “chief” in verse 1, and “first” in verse are the same word.

The entire nation is the “first” nation in God’s eyes, but they will go into captivity “first”.

:8 The Lord God has sworn by Himself, The Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, And hate his palaces; Therefore I will deliver up the city And all that is in it.”

:8 the pride of Jacob

Again, this is both the northern and southern kingdoms being addressed.

:9 Then it shall come to pass, that if ten men remain in one house, they shall die.

If ten men from the same family don’t die in the battle, they will die of disease.

:10 And when a relative of the dead, with one who will burn the bodies, picks up the bodies to take them out of the house, he will say to one inside the house, “Are there any more with you?” Then someone will say, “None.” And he will say, “Hold your tongue! For we dare not mention the name of the Lord.”

:11 For behold, the Lord gives a command: He will break the great house into bits, And the little house into pieces.

:10 Hold your tongue!

In those days, bodies tended to be cremated only if there was some sort of disease.

The picture is of people picking up dead bodies to cremate them, but being afraid to mention God’s name, lest they offend Him.

They will know that God is behind this disaster.

:10 we dare not mention the name of the Lord

It will be very obvious that God’s judgment has come. The people will be terrified to mention God’s name lest they too be put to death.

When you see Lord in your English Bibles with the word in all capital letters, it’s because the underlying original Hebrew text is the actual name of God, Yahweh.

Today the Jews have a great reverence and fear regarding the name of God, Yahweh.

They will never say the name Yahweh, but will refer to it as “the name”.
Sometimes they will spell it out as “G_d”.
Sometimes they will use the Hebrew word for “Lord” (no caps), which is Adonai.

:12 Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into gall, And the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

:12 Do horses run on rocks?

It would be stupid to make your horse run on rocks.

The nation is just as stupid by twisting the justice system – letting criminals go free and throwing good people in jail.

:13 You who rejoice over Lo Debar, Who say, “Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves By our own strength?”

:14 “But, behold, I will raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel,” Says the Lord God of hosts; “And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath To the Valley of the Arabah.”

:13 Lo Debar … Karnaim

Play Lo-Debar and Karnaim map clip

Both cities are up north on the other side of the Jordan River.

Under King Jeroboam II, the northern kingdom had won great victories and expanded their territory.

The people were feeling kind of cocky, thinking they were invincible.

:14 from … Hamath to … Arabah

Play Hamath to Arabah map clip

Hamath is in the north, the Arabah is in the south.  The entire nation will be afflicted by the coming war with Assyria.

We’ve already seen Hamath being far north of Israel.

The Arabah is the desert of southern Judah.

:8 I abhor the pride of Jacob



When our lives are filled with pride, God is not too happy.  There are some interesting characteristics of pride in this chapter.


(Am 6:2 NKJV) Go over to Calneh and see; And from there go to Hamath the great; Then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?
The nation was unable to learn by watching how other cities were being judged.
 Are you able to see when there are lessons you need to be learning?
Play Golden Retriever Puppy to Adult clip in background…
If a Dog were your teacher, you would learn stuff like.....

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

When it’s in your best interest—practice obedience.

Take naps and stretch before rising.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

The problem is that most of us seem to learn most from cats…
Play Creepy Cat Things video
What are you learning?
Are you teachable?

False Comfort

Some people would say they were “self-medicating”
Though “doom” was close (vs. 3), they “put it off” by having fancy beds, couches, fine meals. fine music, and …
(Am 6:6 NKJV) Who drink wine from bowls, And anoint yourselves with the best ointments, But are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
Real comfort comes when we turn from our sins and turn to God.
He is called the “God of all comfort”
(2 Co 1:3–4 NKJV) —3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
We get ourselves into trouble when in our pride we don’t turn to God for comfort and we settle for something less – whether it’s things like alcohol or drugs, or innocent things like the “creature comforts”.

False Strength

(Am 6:13 NKJV) You who rejoice over Lo Debar, Who say, “Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves By our own strength?”
Since they had won some pretty serious battles, they didn’t see the need to trust God for the threats in the future.
(Lk 18:9–14 NKJV) —9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’ 13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
All the Pharisee could see was his “strengths” and none of his weakness.
The tax collector was very aware of his weakness, and he was the one that God listened to.
Peter wrote,
(1 Pe 5:5 NKJV) …be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”

When your pride keeps you from trusting God’s strength, you just might find God resisting you.  Wouldn’t you rather find His grace?

Amos will now see a series of “visions”. These are things that a person sees while they’re awake (dreams come when you’re asleep).

7:1-3 Locusts

:1 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings.

:1 after the king’s mowings

The king had the right to claim the first batch of grain “mowed” from the harvest. The people would get their portion from the “late crop”. Amos sees a swarm of locusts coming after the king gets his portion, but before the people got their portion.

:2 And so it was, when they had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said: “O Lord God, forgive, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!”

Amos prays for the nation. He even asks for forgiveness.

:3 So the Lord relented concerning this. “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

God responded to Amos’ prayers and stopped the locusts.

7:4-6 Fire

:4 Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire, and it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory.

:5 Then I said: “O Lord God, cease, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, For he is small!”

:6 So the Lord relented concerning this. “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

:5 O Lord God, cease, I pray!



God is responding to Amos’ prayers for the nation.
This is our responsibility as believers – to pray for our nation.
When Israel was wandering through the wilderness with Moses, there was a rebellion.  A fellow named Korah had stirred up the people against Moses’ leadership.  God was not too happy about the rebellion and responded with a plague on the people.
Moses told Aaron to take incense and stand between the people and the plague.

(Nu 16:47–48 NKJV) —47 Then Aaron took it as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the assembly; and already the plague had begun among the people. So he put in the incense and made atonement for the people. 48 And he stood between the dead and the living; so the plague was stopped.

Offering incense is a picture of prayer.  Aaron took his stand between the living and death, and his prayers stopped the plague.

Henry Blackaby writes,
Ivah Bates was a widow who had lived on a farm and was retired. She was one of the greatest pray-ers I have ever known. Our church was the body of Christ, and we called Ivah a knee. God put her in the body as a powerful pray-er.
When we had new believers, I would send them over to Ivah and let her talk to them about how to pray. She equipped many pray-ers. When we began our ministry to the university campus, Ivah didn’t know how to function in the body concerning the campus. Who was to equip her to function in the body in this new ministry? Well, our campus minister was. He shared with Ivah how she could pray regarding the campus. She did not change her role in the body. She just learned how to be the “knee” (pray-er) for the campus. The students were told, “Whenever you are going to witness to somebody or you have a particular assignment in our ministry, go to Ivah and tell her about it. She will pray.”
So a student named Wayne said to Ivah, “Next Tuesday I will be witnessing to Doug, would you pray for me?” Ivah agreed. She dropped everything and began to pray over the noon hour while Wayne was witnessing. She did that every time the students told her what they were doing. Only the “hand” was touching the campus, but the whole body was fitly joined together. Each part functioned where God put it, so that the hand could be effective.
About three months later, a young man came down the aisle during the invitation. He was trusting the Lord. I said to the congregation, “This is Doug. He has just become a Christian.” I looked over at Ivah and she was deeply moved and weeping. She had never met Doug, but she had prayed for him for three months.

Do you pray for others?

7:7-9 Plumb Line

:7 Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.

:7  a plumb line

A plumb line is a carpenter’s tool. A weight hangs on a string, giving a vertical line to help the carpenter tell if something’s not straight.

:8 And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.

:8 I will not pass by them anymore

When God puts His standards (the plumb line) next to His people, the nation failed the test.

There is no getting over the fact that Israel is off.
Israel did not match God’s standards.

:9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

:9 high places – the centers for the false worship. These were usually found at a higher altitude, perhaps the people thought that they were closer to God somehow.

:9 Jeroboam – this is Jeroboam II, the current king. Like all the kings of the northern kingdom, he was “evil”. But he also was a great military strategist and had brought the nation great military and economic success. But they weren’t closer to God.

:9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate


Judgment is coming

There are limits to intercession.
There are times when a nation has gone too far, and no amount of prayer is going to stop God from bringing judgment.
Our nation is creeping closer and closer to this.  But for now, we pray.

7:10-17 Amos is rebuked

:10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.

:10 the priest of Bethel

Bethel and Dan were the two places that Jeroboam I had set up with golden calves to give the people of the northern kingdom an alternative to worshipping at Jerusalem.

The kings of the northern kingdom maintained a “royal chapel” in Bethel. Amaziah is the priest at this chapel.

:10 sent to Jeroboam king of Israel

This is Jeroboam II, the current king of Israel (not the guy that originally set up these worship places).

:11 For thus Amos has said: ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, And Israel shall surely be led away captive From their own land.’ ”

:11 Jeroboam shall die by the sword

The truth is, this isn’t exactly what Amos had said.  Amos had said:

(Am 7:9 NKJV) …I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”
Jeroboam II actually died of old age, not the sword.  (2Ki. 14:29).

(2 Ki 14:29 NKJV) —29 So Jeroboam rested with his fathers, the kings of Israel. Then Zechariah his son reigned in his place.

But Jeroboam’s son Zechariah was assassinated (2Ki. 15:10)
(2 Ki 15:10 NKJV) —10 Then Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck and killed him in front of the people; and he reigned in his place.

:11 led away captive

Amos has said this.  Several times. (Am. 5:5,27; 6:7)

(Am 5:5 NKJV) —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.
(Am 5:27 NKJV) —27 Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.
(Am 6:7 NKJV) —7 Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, And those who recline at banquets shall be removed.

:12 Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread, And there prophesy.

Amaziah is telling Amos to go home to the southern kingdom of Judah.

:13 But never again prophesy at Bethel, For it is the king’s sanctuary, And it is the royal residence.”

:13 the king’s sanctuary

Amos has been speaking all of this at Bethel, in the king’s sanctuary.

:14 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.

:15 Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, And the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’

:14 sheepbreeder … sycamore fruit

Amos was simply a fig tending sheepbreeder. 

He was not a “professional” prophet.
He didn’t ask to be a prophet.

But God chose him and he obeyed.

When God calls you to speak for Him, you can’t use the excuse that you aren’t qualified.
God often picks “unqualified” people.

:16 Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord: You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, And do not spout against the house of Isaac.’

:17 “Therefore thus says the Lord: ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city; Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword; Your land shall be divided by survey line; You shall die in a defiled land; And Israel shall surely be led away captive From his own land.’ ”

:17 And Israel shall surely be led away captive


Don’t hinder the truth

Amaziah can tell Amos to be quiet about the coming captivity, but that isn’t going to stop it from happening.
Because Amaziah has been trying to keep Amos from getting God’s warning to the people, his family will be destroyed.
Amaziah will be judged for trying to keep the truth from the people.
His family is going to be destroyed.
He will die in a foreign land.
Israel will go into captivity.
Amos is prophesying that Amaziah will meet a terrible end, and the nation will indeed be judged.
Amos doesn’t say this because his feelings are hurt.
Amos says this because God has told him what will happen to Amaziah as a result of misleading the people.
Jeremiah warns about false prophets who say “peace” when there is no peace.

(Je 8:11 NLT) They offer superficial treatments for my people’s mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace.

This is like the preacher who is good at telling everyone that God loves them, but never warns people about the judgment that is ahead if they continue in their sin and never accept Christ.

It’s better to speak the truth, even when it hurts.
If you go to the doctor because you are experiencing pain, and he runs all his tests, do you want him to tell you the truth?  Do you want him to tell you there is nothing to worry about when in fact you have cancer?
The problem is, some of us want to hear good news, even if it’s false.
If you are living a life that is contrary to the things that God wants you to do, I have to tell you that you are not in a safe place.
Jesus died in order to pay for your sins, but you must trust Him if you want to find forgiveness.
If you were to die tonight without Jesus, you will go to hell – not because God doesn’t love you, but because you have rejected God’s hope for salvation, Jesus.
God wants you to change.
God wants you to trust Him.
God wants you to follow Him.