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Bible Study in Amos 5 part 2

AMOS 5.18-27

Judgement at the hand of the Lord

A common phrase in the OT is ‘The Day of the Lord’; this had meanings, which came from the context of the writing. It could mean impending disaster because if the actions of the people, it could also mean the day when the Messiah would appear, but it often referred to the final day of judgment when the world as we know it will come to an end and Christ will reign supreme, but that is another study for the future.

In this passage it is quite dramatically clear that it is the impending disaster of judgement and defeat and exile, quite clearly because of their failure to listen to what God has been warning them about, but they have arrogantly ignored in their pride and self-conceitedness. It is a condemnation on their false belief that God would look after them and they would be all right. Not an unsimilar situation today with people believing that as they claim to be Christians, their way of life and worship, if any, does not matter as God will look after them, there is no such thing as eternal condemnation and hell, as God is a God of love and wouldn’t do it! They are still trusting in a false and self-centred belief that they will be all right.

This passage shows them longing for the Day of the Lord, because they assumed it would be victory over their enemies, they went regularly to the places of worship, offered sacrifices, so it would all be well. Yet Amos had constantly been telling them that all was not well between them and God, they need to repent and seek His mercy but their pride always got in the way.  So in these verses, we see a picture of what they believed was the deliverance, but in fact turned out to be the opposite. The prophet describes what it would be like for those who tried to escape from God’s wrath rather than seeking him. Look at the pictures they run from a lion but straight into the path of the fierce bear, they get into their houses, they need to rest on the wall to recover and are bit by a snake. It is wonderful but even in the days of Amos’s prophecy, The Lord is still calling out to them, seek me and live.

The final section deals with the religion of the majority of the Israelites. God says, ‘I hate, I despise, I cannot stand, I will not accept, I will have no regard, I will not listen.’ This is a similar message to that which Isaiah spoke to the Southern Kingdom, God says, ‘I have had more than enough of the burnt offerings, I have no pleasure in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.’ (Isaiah 1.11) Notice that the Lord is not saying the offering are wrong in themselves, it is the condition of the hearts of the people. In performing those ceremonies, it was out of habit, out of an unloving sense of duty; their songs of praise came from impure thoughts. In v 24 Amos turns to a positive side have his message, he calls on the people to let justice roll, allow righteousness as a stream; he wanted the people have an enjoyment of God and burst out in praise. It wasn’t to be a trickle but to rush out like a noisy torrent down the mountainside. It’s not a mention of drought but rivers and streams in a contrast, people should share their worship and it should be true worship and a never-ending stream. Sadly it wasn’t happening, they were still trusting in their own ceremonial religious worship, it was not justice and righteousness. Notice, burnt offerings and grain offerings are mentioned often but there’s no reference to a sin offering. Had they lost the awareness of their sin and their experience of God’s forgiveness, there’s no point in offering these sacrifices because they were not in the right state of relationship with God. He reminds them of some of their history, 40 years in the desert, He was with them.  But they had compromised and brought into the worship some of the false gods, perhaps the gods of Assyria to pacify an impending invader. Not only failing to worship God with pure hearts but incorporating false gods into their worship. Is it little wonder that God would send them into exile, beyond Damascus into Assyria? Again, the ‘The Lord God Almighty’ signs it, it would inevitably happen, as they had ignored all calls for repentance and true worship.


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