Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Book of Amos

Back in the day a writer wrote an "updated" version of Amos in a particular religious newspaper. WOW!!! I wish I had saved a copy. I suppose we can all update it a bit if you wish.

Amos is a prophet who shows God's anger at war and man's inhumanity to man. The prophecy starts off with,
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.
The implication might be that God had sent the earthquake to shake up the evil nations that had all gone to evil...but don't hold me to that. I can't off-hand remember if an earthquake was mentioned in the book of Kings or Chronicles.

Amos was sitting around living his normal farming life when suddenly God called him to preach. Prophets tend to react differently when called. Jeremiah pulled the old, "But I'm too young." Isaiah said, "Send me....ah but...I'm actually pretty unholy and the people I live among are unclean." Both Jonah and Ezekiel were supremely pissed to be asked. Jonah, called to preach to his enemies, fled. (Hey, who wants one's enemies to escape hell and damnation?) And Ezekiel (a priest), called to his own people, went all sullen and silent in his tent and had to be warned by God that if he didn't do what he was called to do, the blood of the Jewish exiles would be required of him.) When Amaziah told Amos to stop prophesying -- which was often the case back in the day-- Amos said,
I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit
and God called me. I have to preach.

In Amos we see God's total anger and patience. No one is spared. The prophet speaks against Syria, Judah, Edom, Israel, every nation. It's like a drumroll relentlessly beating out the sins each of these warring nations have committed against each other.

And the sad thing about Amos is that it can easily be updated. Okay, these are a sampling of the sins that has made God lose His patience with man's warring.


6 This is what the LORD says:
"For three sins of Gaza,
even for four, I will not turn back my wrath .
Because she took captive whole communities
and sold them to Edom,

....
9 This is what the LORD says:
"For three sins of Tyre,
even for four, I will not turn back my wrath .
Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom,
disregarding a treaty of brotherhood,
...
11 This is what the LORD says:
"For three sins of Edom,
even for four, I will not turn back my wrath .
Because he pursued his brother with a sword,
stifling all compassion, [f]
because his anger raged continually
and his fury flamed unchecked,

13 This is what the LORD says:
"For three sins of Ammon,
even for four, I will not turn back {my wrath}.
Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead
in order to extend his borders,
....

Amos 2:
6 This is what the LORD says:
"For three sins of Israel,
even for four, I will not turn back {my wrath}.
They sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals.
7 They trample on the heads of the poor
as upon the dust of the ground
and deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son lay with the same girl
and so profane my holy name.

Amos 3:
3 Do two walk together
unless they have agreed to do so?

4 Does a lion roar in the thicket
when he has no prey?
Does he growl in his den
when he has caught nothing?

5 Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground
where no snare has been set?
Does a trap spring up from the earth
when there is nothing to catch?

6 When a trumpet sounds in a city,
do not the people tremble?
When disaster comes to a city,
has not the LORD caused it?



Sounds familiar, uh? Israel didn't get away with it. No one escapes. Not "God's chosen nation" Or (to update it) Not "Christian Nations." Well, would we recognize an earthquake or any natural disaster as the earth rebelling against us for our sin? BTW, did I ever tell you that one of my favorite movies is The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock? Very apocalyptical. Even so... even if judgement begins at the house of God....even so, Come Lord Jesus. Maranatha.
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