Today: [Amos 1] Introduction to Amos. The prophet Amos was a contemporary of Isaiah. Unlike the aristocratic Isaiah who lived a privileged life, Amos was a humble herdsman, but God spoke through him to kings and to nations regarding the heart of God and the hand of God moving in their midst because of transgression and systemic generational sin.
[Amo 1:1-15 KJV] 1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen 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. 2 And he said, The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, and the top of Carmel shall wither. 3 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron: 4 But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Benhadad. 5 I will break also the bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the plain of Aven, and him that holdeth the sceptre from the house of Eden: and the people of Syria shall go into captivity unto Kir, saith the LORD. 6 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they carried away captive the whole captivity, to deliver [them] up to Edom: 7 But I will send a fire on the wall of Gaza, which shall devour the palaces thereof: 8 And I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashdod, and him that holdeth the sceptre from Ashkelon, and I will turn mine hand against Ekron: and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish, saith the Lord GOD. 9 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Tyrus, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they delivered up the whole captivity to Edom, and remembered not the brotherly covenant: 10 But I will send a fire on the wall of Tyrus, which shall devour the palaces thereof. 11 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he did pursue his brother with the sword, and did cast off all pity, and his anger did tear perpetually, and he kept his wrath for ever: 12 But I will send a fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. 13 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of the children of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border: 14 But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour the palaces thereof, with shouting in the day of battle, with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind: 15 And their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together, saith the LORD.
The prophet Amos came on the scene after the time of Joel whose book precedes his own book in the canon. He was contemporary with the prophet Isaiah, whereas Isaiah was an aristocrat in Jerusalem’s upper crust, Amos was a farm worker, a herdsman by trade. He is reckoned as the third of the 12 minor prophets in the Christian canon, Hosea and Joel preceding him. Amos derived from the kingdom of Judah but his preaching ministry was carried out in the northern kingdom of Israel during the reign of Jeroboam II. Jeroboam II was the 14th king in the line of the kings of Israel. Little is known about this king other than the fact that 2 Kings 14:24 said that he did evil in the sight of the Lord and the fact that during his reign an earthquake struck the northern kingdom of what was estimated to be a 7.8 magnitude. This same earthquake is referred to in chapter 3 of this very book we are studying today.
Given the timeline of Amos life we observe that he prophesies 8 centuries before Jesus, therefore approximately 100 years before the northern kingdom falls to Assyria and 200 years before Judah is taken by Babylon. V. 1 makes reference to Uzziah as king in Judah – the king who was stricken with leprosy for presuming on the office of the high priest. We can see then wickedness in the rule of the north and presumption in the rule of the south, therefore Amos comes forth prophesying with great ferocity declaring that the Lord would roar from Zion and utter His voice to shake these recalcitrant peoples for their wickedness and backslidden condition.
In the book of Amos the transgressions of the nations are itemized.
1. Syria will be punished because she invaded Gilead.
2. Philistia will be judged because they sold Hebrew captives to the Edomites.
3. Tyre will be harshly dealt with as a shipping people who hired out slave ships to transport Hebrew captives to Edom.
4. Edom will be brought low because as the descendants of Esau, when they brutalized the northern 10 tribes they were molesting their own kinsmen.
5. Ammon will be dealt with because they implemented what we call today ethnic cleansing by murdering all the pregnant women in Gilead so they could secure their border with their own peoples.
6. Judah is not exempted but will be punished because they forsook the commandments of God while enjoying the privileges of hosting the temple of Solomon within their borders.
7. Israel will be punished (the northern tribes) because they sold Judah in the south to the Assyrians, bringing great warfare against Jerusalem in order to save their own skins and keep from being invaded themselves.
For these transgressions and godless behaviors God is roused to roar out of Zion like a lion coming forth upon the pray. Fire is prophesied against Hazael the king of Syria in verse 4. Hazael’s name is an obscenity in itself because this was an evil king who had blasphemed in calling himself by a name that meanas “God sees – and does nothing”. Verse 5 speaks of the house of Eden in Damascus being destroyed (meaning the house of pleasure) and the people of Syria shall go into captivity. You can see that even 1000 years before Christ this nation struggled and suffered for its inveterate rebellion against God and against his peoples.
In verse 6 the divine scrutiny is turned to Gaza which at this time was populated by the Philistines, because they carried away the captives. In other words as a seafaring people they were hired to deliver Hebrew captives to Edom, whereupon Edom hired Tyre in the north to take these same captives to nations further north on their slave ships. The great lesson here is that we might not participate in great evil perpetrated against others, but when we profit from it and do nothing, or collude with ungodly choices of others there is recompense recorded in the annals of accountability in the heavens, both for nations and for individuals.
Tyre (v. 9) will likewise be judged as mentioned above because of their trade agreements with Edom. They might have complained that they were just doing their job or providing a service, but that is not how God Himself viewed their actions, and therefore brings this nation to judgment. This gives us pause to consider the plight of those who refuse to serve homosexual couples in their businesses, whether they were to capitulate and consent to do so they would be bringing a heavier condemnation upon themselves than can be levied in the courts of man. V. 10 again mentions a fire that would come upon the nation of Tyre, which makes us stop and think when we see even in our own country – massive blights of insects on our great forests, and hundreds of hectares of land destroyed by fire. If you have any transparency or humility in you regarding the word of God the question has to be considered, is this brought about by the same process by which these ancient nations and peoples suffered.
Verses 11-12 speak of the treachery of Edom for oppressing their brother nation by attacking Gilead and taking Hebrew captives and worse. For us we must realize that there is a greater accountability for how we deal with family members and those who are near in kinship to us. Many times, people will show kindness to strangers, but utterly forsake their own kin who are suffering greatly right under their own roof or in their own family. In dealing with family members it is in our best interest to pause and remember Edom’s chastisement in the days of Amos.
In verse 13-15 Ammon is spoken against because they destroyed the fruit of the womb and murdered pregnant women in order to make room for themselves and enrich their nation with lands that were forsaken because of this brutality. One of the little-known facts about Margaret Sanger (the founder of Planned Parenthood) is that she saw birth control and abortion primarily as a means of suppressing the African-American people and marginalizing their numbers in American society. This is the sin of Ammon. In our day, we only defend the life of the unborn when that life is esteemed by the mother. If the intent of the mother however is to terminate the pregnancy, then it is considered a God-given right. In reply to this insanity we can only look to the recompense brought upon the nation of Ammon and their king that captivity and destruction will be their end for the cruelty with which they conducted themselves.
Does any of this have any relevance to our lives? It is up to us to peruse the narrative and remember the words of Paul:
[1Co 10:11 KJV] 11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.
Notice it says ALL THESE THINGS … we tend to grab hold of blessing passages such as Deut. 28 and apply them to our day, but when we read Amos 1 we are tempted to say “well that’s Old Testament – it doesn’t apply to us…” Paul’s declaration in 1 Cor. 10 informs us differently and we can only nod in agreement and ask the Father if the spirit that drove these nations to their destruction works in us in any form, and if so let us quickly repent.
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