Showing posts with label Amos. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amos. Show all posts

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Amos 9

Amos documented another vision he had - the LORD standing by the altar, supervising the work of destruction. His judgment cannot be escaped and LORD stays close to His hard-work.

The threshold of a house is the strongest structure of the house, and shaking it is equivalent to bringing the house down. The LORD will sift the house of Israel, as grain is sifted in a sieve. Many sinners who think they are safe and unaffected by these calamities will have their ends met by the sword.

Later, LORD will repair and restore the tabernacle of David. At that time, those captives of Israel will be restored and rebuild the ruined city. They will have fruits and wine in abundance. Israel will be planted in the land, and no longer pulled up.
Amos 9:15 "I will plant Israel in their own land,
    never again to be uprooted
    from the land I have given them,”
says the LORD your God.

Amos 8

Now the prophet speaks about rotting and corruption, dishonesty and cheating.

Amos saw a vision that contained a basket full of ripe fruit. This meant the time was ripe for Israel, and LORD will no longer spare them. LORD again speaks about the most hated quality - pride.
Amos 8:7 The LORD has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
LORD then rebukes their dishonesty and cheating the poor. In the day of judgement, sun will go down in the noon, the sky will be darkened, religious festivals will turn to mourning, people will experience famine, people will wander and men & women will faint due to thirst.

My thoughts
So far, we saw two things that LORD hates - idolatry and pride. Combining both these qualities is a sure-fire 'recipe for disaster'.

Amos 7

Prophet Amos shares his three visions in this chapter:
- vision of locusts,
- vision of fire,
- vision of plumb line. 
The first vision indicated that LORD would punish the people of the land by taking away all the grass, by means of locusts.

Amos prayed to LORD, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

So the LORD relented.

“This will not happen,” the LORD said.

In his second vision, Amos saw LORD calling for a judgement by fire. Again the prophet prayed to the LORD.

“Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”

So the LORD relented.

“This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.

Then there was the third vision of a plumb line. This was to see if Israel are ‘straight’ by LORD's standards. Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, spoke to the king against Amos, and he was ordered to immediately leave the city.

Amos replied to the priest that he was called upon by the LORD to come prophesy. He issued a punishment to the priest.
Amos 7:17 “Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
    and you yourself will die in a pagan country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.’”

Amos 6

The prophet woes at those who are at ease in Zion as they indulge themselves in sinful rest - luxury, comfort and lust. They care for self and self only. A reference is made to neighboring countries asking whether they are better off than them.

Woe to those whose lives were that of luxury, lying on beds if ivory and pampered themselves. During the time of economic prosperity, they used that prosperity for pure self-indulgence. They did not have any obligation to use what He gives them to glorify Him.

One thing that LORD abhors is their pride.
Amos 6:8 The Sovereign LORD has sworn by himself - the LORD God Almighty declares:
“I abhor the pride of Jacob
    and detest his fortresses;
I will deliver up the city
    and everything in it.”
When a relative of one of the dead comes to burn the corpses, if he finds one person still alive, that person will not permit him to mention the name of the LORD - due to the fear, that the LORD may turn His wrath upon him.

Justice has been turned to poison, and righteousness to bitterness.

Amos 5

In a call to repentance, Prophet Amos laments the fall of Israel saying virgin Israel has fallen and never to rise again. The city will be taken captive and deserted. The LORD and creator of everything invites everyone to seek Him to stay alive. Here the prophet corrects the ironic statement he made earlier.
Amos 5:4 This is what the LORD says to Israel:
“Seek me and live;
5     do not seek Bethel,
do not go to Gilgal,
    do not journey to Beersheba.
For Gilgal will surely go into exile,
    and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
He makes it clear that it is pointless and in vain to search Him at places of sacrifice such as Gilgal, Bathel and Beersheba. The leaders of Israel pervert justice and treads down the poor.

His advice is to be good in His eyes.
Amos 5:14 Seek good, not evil,
    that you may live.
Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you,
    just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
    maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy
    on the remnant of Joseph.

The day of the LORD is described as a day of pitch darkness when a man fled from a lion, only to meet a bear, and as he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall, he was bitten by a snake. The LORD has no regard for their offerings and will not accept them.

My Thoughts
If I keep quiet while witnessing evil deeds around me, then my silence is my consent for the evil deed, and I am a silent partner in that crime. 

I wonder how many will jump in, and fight for such evil deeds when poor people are oppressed and misled. Majority of the folks want to protect their 'face' and do not risk tarnishing their image in front of others. "Why should I object? I will just take care of my own activities, and stay quiet," is what many think. 

Amos 4

As the Bashan terittory was very rich, those luxury and party loving women of Israel are referred to as 'well-fed cows of Bashan'. They oppressed the poor and crushed the needy - which was not direct, but their luxury continually watered the tears of the poor due to their action and behavior. The prophet calls them by name of beasts because of their abundance of wealth, they are after self-indulgence - with the inability to resist bodily appetite, especially that of passion. They demand wine from their husbands to stay intoxicated during that 'pleasure moment'. They have forgotten the LORD completely.

Soon, these women will be taken away with fishhooks - the Assyrians used to lead people by hooks driven through the lower lip. The prophet makes an ironic statement that their sacrifices at Bethel and Gilgal - those popular places of worship, are in vain.
Amos 4:4 Go to Bethel and sin;
    go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three years.
Rain will be withheld, and there will be a shortage for food. Israel will suffer blight and mildew. LORD tells them to be ready to meet Him - the creator of everything.
Amos 4:12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
    and because I will do this to you, Israel,
    prepare to meet your God.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Amos 3

The children of Israel have tasted LORD's special love and care. However, they have not fulfilled their responsibilities as God’s chosen people. They have broken their covenant-agreement with the LORD. The prophet asks them about value of an agreement.
Amos 3:3 Do two walk together
    unless they have agreed to do so?
Anyone breaking a promise or agreement has to face the consequence, and pay the penalty. The city will be destroyed and during that time, the Egyptians and Philistines will be invited to the mountains of Samaria to witnesses these punishment upon Israel.

Eventually, Israel will be conquered and exiled, and those altars of Bethel will be destroyed. Those living in mansions will not be spared.
Amos 3:15 I will tear down the winter house
    along with the summer house;
the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed
    and the mansions will be demolished,”
declares the LORD.

Amos 2

Moab violated all ancient universally unwritten laws.  Since Moab burned the bones of the king of Edom to ashes, it will be destroyed with fire, and its officials will be slain.

Judah, the hometown of Prophet Amos, will be destroyed by fire, because their lies have led them astray towards idol worship, and they have rejected the law of the LORD.

The main agenda for Amos was to preach and warn the Israelites about LORD's judgement. Israel will be punished for its sins against the righteous, poor and humble. Both young and old make use of temple prostitutes, and they drink wine in the house of god.
Amos 2:7 They trample on the heads of the poor
    as on the dust of the ground
    and deny justice to the oppressed.
Father and son use the same girl
    and so profane My Holy name.
8 They lie down beside every altar
    on garments taken in pledge.
In the house of their god
    they drink wine taken as fines.
Those who took the Nazirite vow were made to drink wine and those appointed as LORD's spokesmen were gagged and forbidden from prophesying.
12 But you made the Nazirites drink wine
    and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.
A warning is issued saying the most courageous of men shall flee naked in the day of LORD's judgment.

My Thoughts
The day of judgement is something I should keep in mind. As I cannot fool God, or do anything without His knowledge, it is better for me to lead a life of righteousness.

Amos 1

Amos was a shepherd and a simple farmer. When it came to theology, he was a layman. He lived in Tekoa, about 20 miles south of Jerusalem, during the days of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel. This was the period of prosperity and influence. However, the nation was rotten with social and religious corruption.

Amos was chosen to denounce these immoral acts and warn about LORD's impeding judgement. People turned a deaf ear to this prophet.

In the first chapter, Amos condemns those surrounding nations of Israel - Syria for gross cruelty, Philistia for selling their own people, Tyre & Edom for infringing the laws of blood relationships, Ammon for their atrocities to gain further land, and for ripping open pregnant women.

In each of these instance, Amos uses a rhetorical formula to introduce the judgment is ‘For three transgressions of Syria/Philistia/Tyre/Edom/Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment.’