September 15, 2017
Scripture Reading – Amos 1-4
Borrowing the modern vernacular of politics, the prophet Amos was an outsider when God called him to deliver a word of prophecy against Judah and Israel (Amos 1:1). He lived and worked in obscurity as a common herdsman with no political ties or religious lineage. When God called him to prophecy, Israel and Judah were enjoying a season of peace and prosperity and the thought of God’s displeasure and judgment was far from them.
“Uzziah king of Judah” (1:1) presided over the southern kingdom and the nation maintained an outward form of worshipping the LORD (5:21-22); however, the hearts of the king and people were far from Him. “Jeroboam the son of Joash” was king of Israel (1:1), the northern kingdom; making no pretense of worshipping the LORD, that nation built an altar in Bethel and offered sacrifices to a golden calf.
Amos, a layperson “who was among the herdmen of Tekoa” (1:1), was a courageous prophet. With the word of the LORD upon his lips, he delivered a series of prophecies against six Gentile nations: Syria, identified as Damascus (1:3-5)… Philistia, identified by its principal cities, Gaza, Ashdod, Ashkelon, Gath, and Ekron (1:6-8)… Tyre (1:9-10)… Edom (1:11-12)… Ammon (1:13-15)… and Moab (2:1-3) all were warned the judgment of God was imminent.
Turning his focus from the six Gentile nations, Amos warned Judah the nation would be judged “because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments” (2:4).
Amos then declared the sins and wickedness of the kingdom of Israel and warned the nation would suffer God’s judgment (2:6-16). Lest any doubt the grace and longsuffering of God, the prophet reminded the nation how the LORD had brought them out of Egypt (2:9) and given them the land of the Amorites (2:9-10). God sent prophets, but the people said, “Prophesy not” (2:12).
In chapter 3 Amos prophesied reminding the people the LORD had chosen the “children of Israel” (meaning both the kingdoms of Israel and Judah) as His people and made Himself known to them (3:1-2). Israel, however, rejected the LORD and He set Himself against them saying, “I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:1).
Adding to the Israel’s humiliation, God commanded Amos to summon two Gentile nations, Ashdod, a Philistine city, and Egypt to witness God’s judgment against Israel (whose capital was Samaria). A sad commentary on the deception of sin is the condemnation: “For they know not to do right, saith the LORD” (3:10).
How did the nation to whom the LORD had revealed Himself, His Law and Commandments come to this? How could they be so blind they lost sense and discernment of right and wrong?
Warning: Here is the beguiling way of sin and wickedness. When a people make light of God’s Truth, trivialize and rationalize sin, eventually their hearts becomes desensitized to wickedness, they no longer know how to do right. Perhaps an oversimplification, but I believe an accurate one: Israel had strayed so far from God’s law the people no longer had “common sense”—they had no sense of right (3:10).
My friend, the same condemnation is true of our beloved United States!
The lunacy of atheism coupled with the perversity of humanism is so entrenched in government, education, religion and media it has crippled our judgment as a society. Having rejected God and His Laws, our moral judgment as a nation is twisted and perverted and we “know not to do right” (3:10).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith