La Palma volcano

Amos 6-9: God Promises Judgment, Yet Ends with Mercy and Grace

Yesterday we saw how God gives us plenty of warnings about the judgment that everyone will eventually face, though He gives us an “out” — which is Jesus. In today’s chapters, God continues with His warning of the coming judgment on Israel, however, the Book of Amos ends with God’s promise of Mercy and Grace. Furthermore, we know that God keeps His promises! Let’s dig in…

Amos 6

What sorrow awaits you who lounge in luxury in Jerusalem,
    and you who feel secure in Samaria!
You are famous and popular in Israel,
    and people go to you for help.
But go over to Calneh
    and see what happened there.
Then go to the great city of Hamath
    and down to the Philistine city of Gath.
You are no better than they were,
    and look at how they were destroyed.
You push away every thought of coming disaster,
    but your actions only bring the day of judgment closer.
How terrible for you who sprawl on ivory beds
    and lounge on your couches,
eating the meat of tender lambs from the flock
    and of choice calves fattened in the stall.
You sing trivial songs to the sound of the harp
    and fancy yourselves to be great musicians like David.
You drink wine by the bowlful
    and perfume yourselves with fragrant lotions.
    You care nothing about the ruin of your nation.
Therefore, you will be the first to be led away as captives.
    Suddenly, all your parties will end.

The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his own name, and this is what he, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says:

“I despise the arrogance of Israel,
    and I hate their fortresses.
I will give this city
    and everything in it to their enemies.”

(If there are ten men left in one house, they will all die. 10 And when a relative who is responsible to dispose of the dead goes into the house to carry out the bodies, he will ask the last survivor, “Is anyone else with you?” When the person begins to swear, “No, by . . . ,” he will interrupt and say, “Stop! Don’t even mention the name of the Lord.”)

11 When the Lord gives the command,
    homes both great and small will be smashed to pieces.

12 Can horses gallop over boulders?
    Can oxen be used to plow them?
But that’s how foolish you are when you turn justice into poison
    and the sweet fruit of righteousness into bitterness.
13 And you brag about your conquest of Lo-debar.
    You boast, “Didn’t we take Karnaim by our own strength?”

14 “O people of Israel, I am about to bring an enemy nation against you,”
    says the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
“They will oppress you throughout your land—
    from Lebo-hamath in the north
    to the Arabah Valley in the south.”

Amos 6 NLT

Basically, this opens with a warning to those who have become complacent. Back in 1992, I was living in Miami when Hurricane Andrew hit as a category 4 storm. Having already lived through some storms in NY and Puerto Rico, I knew to prepare. The Miami area hadn’t had a hurricane hit directly since 1926. Needless to say, many of the residents had gotten complacent. Many people didn’t properly prepare thinking, “It won’t hit us”. Well, it did.

Fast forward to today and on the tiny island of La Palma, the Cumbre Vieja volcano is erupting. It’s on its 42nd day with no signs of it stopping anytime soon. The last time it erupted was in 1971. Plenty of time for people living on the island to become complacent. The molten lava flow has buried and destroyed over 2600 buildings including homes, businesses, schools and churches. The picture at the top is of the volcano. The earth around it has swelled, changing the topography. Check out the video at the bottom.

In this chapter of Amos, God is warning the Israelites that because they’ve become complacent and lazy and have ignored Him and His commandments, punishment is coming. Even the rich will be in shackles soon.

Going on…

Amos 7

In chapters 7 and 8, God shows Amos 5 visions…

  1. Locusts
  2. Fire
  3. A Plumb Line
  4. Ripe Summer Fruit
  5. The Destruction of Bethel

A Vision of Locusts

The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision. I saw him preparing to send a vast swarm of locusts over the land. This was after the king’s share had been harvested from the fields and as the main crop was coming up. In my vision the locusts ate every green plant in sight. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please forgive us or we will not survive, for Israel (Jacob) is so small.”

So the Lord relented from this plan. “I will not do it,” he said.

A Vision of Fire

Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. I saw him preparing to punish his people with a great fire. The fire had burned up the depths of the sea and was devouring the entire land. Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, please stop or we will not survive, for Israel is so small.”

Then the Lord relented from this plan, too. “I will not do that either,” said the Sovereign Lord.

A Vision of a Plumb Line

Then he showed me another vision. I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”

I answered, “A plumb line.”

And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins. The pagan shrines of your ancestors will be ruined, and the temples of Israel will be destroyed; I will bring the dynasty of King Jeroboam to a sudden end.”

Amos and Amaziah

10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is hatching a plot against you right here on your very doorstep! What he is saying is intolerable. 11 He is saying, ‘Jeroboam will soon be killed, and the people of Israel will be sent away into exile.’”

12 Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”

14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the Lord:

“You say,
‘Don’t prophesy against Israel.
    Stop preaching against my people.’
17 But this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in this city,
    and your sons and daughters will be killed.
Your land will be divided up,
    and you yourself will die in a foreign land.
And the people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile,
    far from their homeland.’”

Amos 7 NLT

For the first 2 visions, Amos intercedes for Israel and God holds back those plagues. That’s what Jesus does for us believers when we pray. That’s HIS job. Mary doesn’t work that way. She was human and she’s dead. Yes, her soul is in Heaven, but she can’t communicate with us or for us. So don’t even try.

Then we have the plumb line. A plumb line measures to see if a wall is straight. A crooked or leaning wall will eventually fall down. For us, Jesus is our plumb line. We believers must strive to be Christlike. We need to walk in the straight and narrow.

Finally, in the last section, Amaziah, the pagan priest of Bethel, confronts Amos. Amaziah knew better, yet he rejected God’s Word and Truth. Here’s what he gets for being a false priest.

Amos was a straight-shooter. Again, not beating around the bush at all. He also didn’t do it as a job, but as an unpaid missionary and spokesperson for God. That’s how I see myself. No one is paying me to do what I do. God’s using the talents and skills He gave me to help spread His Word around the world — for such as time as this.

Continuing…

Amos 8 – A Vision of Ripe Fruit

Then the Sovereign Lord showed me another vision. In it I saw a basket filled with ripe fruit. “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.

I replied, “A basket full of ripe fruit.”

Then the Lord said, “Like this fruit, Israel is ripe for punishment! I will not delay their punishment again. In that day the singing in the temple will turn to wailing. Dead bodies will be scattered everywhere. They will be carried out of the city in silence. I, the Sovereign Lord, have spoken!”

Listen to this, you who rob the poor
    and trample down the needy!
You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over
    and the religious festivals to end
    so you can get back to cheating the helpless.
You measure out grain with dishonest measures
    and cheat the buyer with dishonest scales.
And you mix the grain you sell
    with chaff swept from the floor.
Then you enslave poor people
    for one piece of silver or a pair of sandals.

Now the Lord has sworn this oath
    by his own name, the Pride of Israel:
“I will never forget
    the wicked things you have done!
The earth will tremble for your deeds,
    and everyone will mourn.
The ground will rise like the Nile River at floodtime;
    it will heave up, then sink again.

“In that day,” says the Sovereign Lord,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth while it is still day.
10 I will turn your celebrations into times of mourning
    and your singing into weeping.
You will wear funeral clothes
    and shave your heads to show your sorrow—
as if your only son had died.
    How very bitter that day will be!

11 “The time is surely coming,” says the Sovereign Lord,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread or water
    but of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
    and wander from border to border
searching for the word of the Lord,
    but they will not find it.
13 Beautiful girls and strong young men
    will grow faint in that day,
    thirsting for the Lord’s word.
14 And those who swear by the shameful idols of Samaria—
    who take oaths in the name of the god of Dan
    and make vows in the name of the god of Beersheba—
they will all fall down,
    never to rise again.”

Amos 8 NLT

Israel was ripe for judgment and punishment — no more delays. Idolatry wasn’t their only crime. There was cheating, and taking advantage of the poor and working class. The famine was not of bread (food) or water, but of “hearing the words of the Lord.” We humans hunger for truth. We are starved for truth. People search, but they will not find it. Especially where they were going into pagan Assyria.

Gong on…

Amos 9 – A Vision of God at the Altar

Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar. He said,

“Strike the tops of the Temple columns,
    so that the foundation will shake.
Bring down the roof
    on the heads of the people below.
I will kill with the sword those who survive.
    No one will escape!

“Even if they dig down to the place of the dead,
    I will reach down and pull them up.
Even if they climb up into the heavens,
    I will bring them down.
Even if they hide at the very top of Mount Carmel,
    I will search them out and capture them.
Even if they hide at the bottom of the ocean,
    I will send the sea serpent after them to bite them.
Even if their enemies drive them into exile,
    I will command the sword to kill them there.
I am determined to bring disaster upon them
    and not to help them.”

The Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
    touches the land and it melts,
    and all its people mourn.
The ground rises like the Nile River at floodtime,
    and then it sinks again.
The Lord’s home reaches up to the heavens,
    while its foundation is on the earth.
He draws up water from the oceans
    and pours it down as rain on the land.
    The Lord is his name!

“Are you Israelites more important to me
    than the Ethiopians?” asks the Lord.
“I brought Israel out of Egypt,
    but I also brought the Philistines from Crete
    and led the Arameans out of Kir.

“I, the Sovereign Lord,
    am watching this sinful nation of Israel.
I will destroy it
    from the face of the earth.
But I will never completely destroy the family of Israel,”
    says the Lord.
“For I will give the command
    and will shake Israel along with the other nations
as grain is shaken in a sieve,
    yet not one true kernel will be lost.
10 But all the sinners will die by the sword—
    all those who say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to us.’

Idolaters will fall down and never rise again. We, too, must not listen to what tickles our ears, but to sound, Biblical teaching. The Israelites adopted the pagan rites and rituals from their neighbors, ignoring the truth that God had fed to them through Moses. Worship was not pure. God destroyed the temple and there was no escape.

Coming judgments…

  • Melting land and ground rising — volcanoes.
  • Tsunamis and floods — though God won’t destroy the whole world via a flood (Noah’s) ever again, that doesn’t mean that certain areas won’t have them.

A Promise of Restoration

11 “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David.
    I will repair its damaged walls.
From the ruins I will rebuild it
    and restore its former glory.
12 And Israel will possess what is left of Edom
    and all the nations I have called to be mine.”
The Lord has spoken,
    and he will do these things.

13 “The time will come,” says the Lord,
“when the grain and grapes will grow faster
    than they can be harvested.
Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel
    will drip with sweet wine!
14 I will bring my exiled people of Israel
    back from distant lands,
and they will rebuild their ruined cities
    and live in them again.
They will plant vineyards and gardens;
    they will eat their crops and drink their wine.
15 I will firmly plant them there
    in their own land.
They will never again be uprooted
    from the land I have given them,”
    says the Lord your God.

Amos 9 NLT

Amos Shifts to Bible Prophecies of the Last Days

These prophecies are being fulfilled right now!

1) The restoration of the Davidic dynasty — King Jesus! Here’s where God gives us sinners Mercy and Grace if we repent and surrender our lives to Jesus. His Grace and Mercy are 100% unmerited. What we sinners deserve is judgment like what Israel got — in our case, hell. It’s your choice to accept His Mercy and Grace or not.
2) Israel’s domination of her enemies — Right now Israel is fighting Syria, Iran, Hezbollah and others. Check out the video at the bottom.
3) The cultivation of the land — There are more varieties of fruits and vegetables grown in Israel than anywhere else!
4) The gathering of the exiles — The Jews are returning to their homeland! God will save a remnant of Israel. Obviously, there are some godly people that will be spared. Israel was scattered — eventually all over the world. And they are coming back fulfilling the prophecy in Ezekiel. (We’ll get to him in due time.)
5) The preservation of the nation — This came true in 1948 when Israel become a nation.

There are many lessons that apply to us today…

  • Don’t let pride rule your life.
  • Don’t become complacent.
  • Love one another and treat everyone as if they were higher then yourself.
  • Seek the truth in the Word of God. Read the Bible every day. Back in Amos’ day, the people had to rely on priests to share the Word of God with them. We have the convenience of free bible apps like YouVersion and ThroughTheWord.org which make it so easy to immerse ourselves in God’s Word daily. We do not have any excuses! When you’re bored, don’t pick up your phone to get on social media, READ THE BIBLE!
  • Make sure that you’re attending a church that is Bible-based and they actually teach the Gospel.
  • Get rid of ALL your idols! Why would you continue to have worthless, meaningless statues around?

Are YOU tired of running from God? Isn’t time to ran TO God?

Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart -- let Him in!
Jesus is knocking at the door of your heart — let Him in!

What are you waiting for?

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift and Confident Hope of Eternal Life…


Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!

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