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The Book of Amos
JUDGMENT AGAINST MOAB FOR INJUSTICE
Amos 2:1 Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime: (KJV)
Amos was a great preacher, a great prophet, a great man of God. There is only one of him. He uses unusual expressions. “For three transgressions of Moab, and for four”. . . that is his way of saying that there were many transgressions; but, as usual, he will mention only one specifically. It’s possible that, "he burned the bones" means, Moab burned the king of Edom alive, reducing his very bones to lime.
Amos 2:2-3 But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet:  And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the Lord. (KJV)
“Moab shall die with tumult” means the nation will be ended. This proud nation was brought to extinction later on at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, and you haven’t seen a Moabite since then. Amos’ prophecy was fulfilled.
An interesting fact: out of this heathen country had come a gentle and lovely girl by the name of Ruth, who became the wife of Boaz. Her story is recorded in one of the loveliest books in the Bible. Ruth, a woman, and from a Gentile nation, is in the genealogical line of Jesus Christ. And she had come from Moab. Moabites were really a heathen, pagan people with a sad and sorry beginning and just as sad and tragic an end as a nation. But Ruth’s story reveals what the grace of God CAN do in the life of a believer IF the believer will let Him do it.
JUDGMENT AGAINST JUDAH FOR DESPISING THE LAW
Now Amos turns to the nation Israel in a reverse of the method which the other prophets used later on. They would always mention God’s judgment of Israel and then the judgment of the other nations which surrounded them. However, Amos has taken up these other nations first before he turns to Israel against whom the judgment of God will be greater. The reason for their greater judgment is quite obvious: Privilege always creates responsibility. The more light that you have, the more responsible you are to God. I believe that you and I are more responsible to God than people who are denied Bibles and who are not hearing the Word of God at all. We are more responsible than they are. We often like to sit in judgment of these other nations round about us, but have you ever stopped to think of the tremendous responsibility that you and I have because of the privilege of having the Word of God? We boast of the fact that we have the Bible, but the important thing is our own personal obedience to the Word of God and whether or not we are doing anything to help get it out to others.
As Amos turns from the surrounding nations, he takes up the sins of God’s people. He begins with Judah, the southern kingdom, from which he himself had come. Judah is different from the other nations. The other nations (Gentile) have broken the general law, which is for all peoples. But Judah has broken the special law for God’s people. This is more serious. Judah’s ancestors have led them in a wrong direction, but that is not an excuse for the people in Judah. They are guilty (Ps.51:3-4; Mat. 23:31-36).
Amos 2:4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked: (KJV)
“Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof” . . . God could give many more transgressions of which they were guilty, but here is the key one.
“Because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked” . . . This is saying very briefly what the prophet Isaiah and Jeremiah and Ezekiel took quite a few pages to say; that is, that God would judge the southern kingdom. For what would He judge them? They did not keep the commandments of God; they despised God’s law. They even had the temple which was in Jerusalem, so God now judged them according to the Law.
If you notice, God did not judge any of these other nations on this. He judged them for certain specific sins which are common to the natural man. Because these other nations did NOT have God’s law, they were not judged according to God’s law.
Amos 2:5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem. (KJV)
Again and again, Amos mentions, as do the other prophets, that there is to be a judgment by fire. When Nebuchadnezzar came against the city, he completely burned Jerusalem. There was nothing left but the stones.
JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL FOR IMMORALITY AND BLASPHEMY
Remember that Amos is delivering these messages in Beth-el of the northern kingdom. He is speaking in the king’s chapel. He has pronounced God’s judgment upon each nation, even coming down on Judah, which was pretty close to home.
But, the ten northern tribes and the two southern tribes were at war with each other much of the time. There were times when they made alliances, but only because of fear and the need to stand together against a common enemy. Most of the time they were enemies. Therefore, when Amos gave his message of judgment against the southern kingdom of Judah, many of that group from the northern kingdom were glad, agreeing that God should judge Jerusalem and Judah.
But what about the northern kingdom? Beginning with verse 6, Amos will speak to the northern kingdom. Beth-el is the city where the king worshiped, and Amos man was speaking in the king’s chapel. Amos is going to start meddling.
No longer will his message be about the sins of the “Moabites” but the sins of the northern kingdom. And they too, had God’s law, and knew the commandments of God.
JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL FOR IMMORALITY AND BLASPHEMY
Amos 2:6-8 Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;  That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:  And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god. (KJV)
Thus saith the Lord . . . anyone who preaches from the pulpit or teaches God's Word, had better be sure that they are speaking or writing on the basis of “Thus saith the Lord.” We have the BIBLE . . . and in it we can find just what the Lord does say! What the Word of God has to say should always be the basis of all preaching and teaching.
Amos is going to talk about the sin of the congregation that was before him. His message will NOT be about the sins of the “Moabites” but of the sins of the northern kingdom (Israel). They like Judah, had God’s law, and they knew the commandments of God. For three transgressions of Israel, and for four . . . Israel had MANY transgressions, and Amos will mention more than three or four. He is going to deal with the Mosaic Law. He will not deal with the Ten Commandments as he did with Judah, but with the Mosaic Law which had to do with man’s everyday life.
God condemned Israel for five specific sins: (1) selling the poor as slaves (Lev.25:39; Amos 8:6), (2) exploiting the poor (Ex.23:6; Deut. 16:19), (3) engaging in perverse sexual sins (Lev. 20:11-12), (4) taking illegal collateral for loans (Ex.22:26-27; Deut.24:6, 12-13), and (5) worshiping false gods (Ex.20:3-5).
Amos was speaking to the upper class. There was no middle class in the country . . . only the very rich and the very poor. The rich kept religious rituals. They gave tithes, went to places of worship and offered sacrifices. But they were greedy and unjust, and they really took advantage of the poor.
“Because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes” . . . the ten tribes in the north had the Mosaic Law, but they were committing the SAME sins as the nations that were around them. The very people that God had cast out of that land were guilty of the same sins that Israel was now committing.
First, Amos speaks of the mistreatment of the poor. Amos has quite a bit to say about the poor. Amos 4:1 Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. (KJV) . . . WOW! What Amos is saying here is "Listen to me, you cows of Samaria, you grow fat, you mistreat the weak, oppress the poor, and demand that your husbands keep you supplied with booze." . . . And too: “Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor …” (Amos 5:11).
Amos 2:9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath. (KJV)
The Amorites were the most powerful of all the Canaanite nations, but God destroyed them. God loved and took care of Israel, but she rebelled, so she was now in trouble!
Amos 2:10 Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite. (KJV)
The Amorites occupied both sides of the Jordan and the mountains that were afterward possessed by Judah; but they here, and in verse 9, stand for all the Canaanites. God kept Israel 40 years in the wilderness, which protected them and taught them in His statutes, so they would be the better fitted to enter Canaan.
Amos 2:11-12 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord.  But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. (KJV)
The Nazirites took a vow to God; abstaining from wine and not cutting their hair. But instead of being respected for their disciplined and godly lives, they were being urged to break their vows. If the Nazirites were corrupted, there would remain little influence for good among the Israelites. This is SO much like today! If someone really tries to live a righteous life, they are bullied and persecuted by Satan's children! (1 John 3:10).
Israel's sin was because they hated God’s laws. They tempted the Nazarite to break his vow; and forbid the prophets from prophesying (Isaiah 30:10). Later on, Amaziah also forbid Amos to prophesy (Amos 7:12-13).
All God’s former benefits and blessings to Israel made their ingratitude worse SO much worse! Have you ever considered what God has done for you? Do you really appreciate what God does for you? Or are you, like Israel, and not appreciate His goodness?
JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL FOR IMMORALITY AND BLASPHEMY
Amos 2:13 Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves. (KJV)
God will make Israel groan, like as a wagon groans when it is over loaded with grain.
God put Israel in the land, and put the Amorite out. Now Israel was committing the same sins the Ammorites committed! I think what God is saying here is: “I cannot shut My eyes to your sin, just because you are My people.” (Ex.3:7; 19:5; Deut.4:6; 7:6; 14:2,21; 26:18).
Amos 2:14 Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself: (KJV)
Amos says that not even their fastest runners will get away, and not even the mightiest warriors be able to save themselves.
Israel was a strong nation. God had kept the enemy out, and no one had ever advanced into their land. But, because of their sin, the enemy has come in, and their strength is gone.
We as a nation today should think about what is happening here in our land. In two world wars we were able to cross the sea and to bring an end to the conflict. Because of that, we became a great nation, and we were very proud. We felt we didn’t need God at all . . . we had the atom bomb. Then a little country called North Vietnam came along, and we thought that we would subdue them overnight. I lost a brother there. I think that America should have learned a lesson from that. We did not win a victory. We were never able to subdue the little enemy and we were divided at home. This reveals that we have become weak as a nation. We had better wake up, people, instead of shutting our eyes to what is going on here! The fact is, God is already beginning to bring us down, just as He brought His own people down.
God said to Israel, “You are losing your strength, and you do not even realize that it is because I am judging you.” That was what Amos was saying. Is it any wonder that the people wanted to run him out of town? Is it any wonder they wanted to hear NO more from him? And he is not done yet!
Amos 2:15 Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself. (KJV)
The archers will fail to stand their ground. The swiftest soldiers will not be fast enough to escape. Even warriors on horses will not be able to outrun the danger.
Amos 2:16 And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the Lord. (KJV)
Amos tells them that the bravest of their warriors will drop their weapons and run for their lives, says the Lord. If any do escape, it will be with the loss of everything they own. They will be content with saving only their life. That day refers to when Assyria would attack Israel, destroy Samaria, and take the people captive (722 B.C.). This military defeat came only a few decades later.
Television and movies are filled with people who seem to have absolutely NO fear whatsoever of God. It is SO sad indeed that so many today have modeled their lives after these ungodly icons: they want to be rich and famous, they want to be
tough. Believe me, God is not impressed with them. God says, through Amos that even the toughest people will run in fear when His judgment comes.
God’s charge is against the whole house of Israel.
Do you know people who think they can make it through life without God? Do NOT be swayed by their self-assured stand! God fears NO one, and one day ALL people will fear Him.
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