Tags: Amos, Amos 6, commentary on Amos, cracks, fissures, homebuilding, Jesus Christ, leaks, Sunday School lessons on Amos, wrath of God
The prophet Amos was concerned that the people would ignore his warnings concerning God’s impending wrath. They did not seem to be taking their sin – or God’s holiness and righteousness – seriously at all.
That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall; That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David; That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
They weren’t interested in repentance and forgiveness. They were too preoccupied with rest, recreation, entertainment, amusement, eating, and drinking. They believed their houses were safe, and they forgot the Word of the Lord and the reality of their abject dependence upon Him for their safety and survival.
It had become necessary for the Lord to smite them.
For, behold, the Lord commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
The affluent men, who lived in “great houses” would find “breaches.” The Hebrew word translated as “breaches” has a connotation of small cracks or leaks – places where the elements would begin to seep in unnoticed and weaken the structural integrity of their homes. By the time they were stirred from their slumber or jarred from their amusements, it would be too late to escape the collapse of the buildings on which they relied for safety.
The lesser or poorer citizens, who perhaps thought their wickedness would go unnoticed due to their lack of influence or notoriety, would also meet a rude awakening. Those in the “little houses” would have their homes smitten by “clefts.” The Hebrew word translated as “clefts” has a connotation of a large and glaring fissure or division. These little houses would be struck suddenly with God’s wrath.
When God’s patience wears thin and His time of pleading and/or warning to turn from wickedness has ended, neither the “great” nor the “little” will find refuge from His destructive power. Let us make sure today that the foundations of our homes are stable – that our “spiritual houses” are built upon the rock of Jesus Christ. Let us make sure that our walls and ceilings are not concealing from the world the sin and hypocrisy which can never be concealed from God the Omniscient.
Tags: Amos 5, Cinco de Mayo, Cinco de Mayo devotions, commentary on Amos, consuming fire, forest fires, God's wrath, idolatry, Sunday School lessons on Amos, syncretism
The people of the “House of Israel” thought they had worked out a viable system. Historically, they had been called the people of Jehovah, the One True God, the God of holiness Who hated sin. But they also really liked to indulge in the practices of their pagan neighbors and their many “gods.” So, they took sort of a “best of both worlds” approach, and attempted to worship idols and the true God at the same time.
God’s prophet, Amos, tried to warn them that the real God was coming to deal with them concerning their abominable syncretism.
For thus saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.
Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba were places where the people could find altars set up to golden bulls and other false idols representing little fake gods. The Lord was giving them one last chance. They could turn to Him and repent… or they could behave irrationally. What does an irrational person do when he’s confronted with the threat of judgment from a powerful God? He seeks refuge in other, kinder, gentler gods. In those days, the fake gods were images or statues that were built, graven, carried around, and spoken to (although the images themselves were silent and couldn’t talk back). This still goes on today. A person mired in sin gets confronted with the Truth, and, instead of repenting and trusting the mercy of the Savior, he looks for relief in the form of alcohol, drugs, sinful sexual behavior, hobbies, entertainment, luxury purchases, or fine dining. These are just a few of the Gilgals, Bethels, and Beershebas of our day.
Amos was very clear about the consequences of this:
Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.
Trying to escape the consuming wrath of the Creator by hiding in or among His creation is like trying to dodge a forest fire by crawling into a papier-mâché tent.
If you have fallen into the sin of idolatry, seek refuge from the wrath of the Savior in the Savior Himself. He is merciful to the repentant.
Tags: 1 Corinthians 6, Amos 3, commentary on Amos, commentary on Psalms, confessing sin, God's omnipresence, God's omniscience, Psalm 139, Sunday School lessons on Amos, Sunday School lessons on Psalms
Thank You, Lord, for overcoming so many obstacles in our lives. Help us to hear Your voice clearly as we read and study Your Word. In the Name of the Lord Jesus. Amen.
In the Bible the image of “walking” is a picture of fellowship.
Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
That’s a rhetorical question – a question to which the asker does not really expect a formal answer. It is a question for which the answer immediately comes to mind, and we can just assume that everyone would answer it the same way. So, when the Bible asks, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” the answer is obviously “no.” As we’re “walking” with God, God expects us to be in agreement with Him. We tend to focus on our fellowship with God from a perspective of how well we know Him. But it might be more helpful to acknowledge and remember how well He knows us. That’s one of the key themes in Psalm 139.
O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.
There’s no point in trying to hoodwink God. Is there anybody in your life with whom you can totally let down your guard? Anybody about whom you can say, “There is absolutely nothing they could find out about me that I wouldn’t want them to know.” Maybe your spouse, maybe even your parents or your child, but, even then, in human relationships intimate knowledge almost always carries a loss of respect, or at least reverence. Not with God, however. You’ll never find any “dirt” on Him. For Christians, our relationship with Him is clear: Loving Father and imperfect child; Creator and created.
There is no point in trying to keep secrets from God, and there is no use in trying to hide from Him.
Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.
There is no corner dark enough, no dark alley, no barroom, movie theater, closet, or desk drawer that God does not see. Even under the covers in the middle of the night with your windows painted black, you are not invisible to God. Not only is He able to see you, but He is able to come guide you to safety or even deliver you.
In our fallen flesh, we are prone to cringe away from the truth that God sees us all the time – as if He were some malevolent totalitarian Big Brother hoping to catch you in a moment of unguarded freedom. The reality is that God’s omnipresence and omniscience are actually great blessings. Imagine if you could hide from God, what trouble you might get into.
If we’re going to walk with God, the best fellowship – the sweetest fellowship – and the most profitable fellowship – is going to be found walking where He wants to walk. Don’t make the mistake of contemplating the commission of something so shameful that it makes you think that God will depart from you while you do it, and make Himself blissfully ignorant when you’re done.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
I Corinthians 6:18-19
The Corinthian church was as carnal as most churches today. They had members openly engaging in fornication. The Holy Spirit wrote to them through the Apostle Paul and told them, “You’re sinning outside of your bodies, you’re sinning inside your bodies, you’re even sinning against your own bodies.” They were joining the temples of the Holy Ghost with harlots. If there was ever a time the Holy Ghost was going to leave them, it would have been then. Instead, He informed them that they were grieving Him by bringing Him into proximity with their fornication. There’s no hiding from God – even in a harlot’s bed.
1. You can’t hoodwink God.
2. You can’t hide from God.
3. You shouldn’t try to hinder God’s plans.
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.
Since God formed us – since He fashioned us – since He made our bodies work – since He even knows the number of our days – how can we think we know better than Him how we ought to live our lives? Or what we ought to do with our lives?
One of the great things about walking with God is just seeing what he planned for us today way back before He even created us. We live in a day when the world says “life” is just a random event. We can allow it to happen or hinder it from happening if we want. Children in their mothers’ wombs – from the instant of conception – are human beings bearing the image of God. Abortion is not a “legal choice” or a “right.” It is the brutal unjustified murder of a baby in an attempt to hinder God’s plan for life.
1. We can’t hoodwink God.
2. We can’t hide from God.
3. We shouldn’t hinder the plans of God.
4. We shouldn’t haggle with God.
Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men. For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain. Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
We will be much better off when we learn to love what God loves and hate what God hates, and to stop trying to convince Him that we know better than Him. We need to go ahead and submit ourselves to a thorough examination each day, but we are poor self-examiners. If I “search” me, I’m not going to be objective. I’m going to be very subjective, and I’m going to be ready to quickly cover my obvious and grievous sin-caused lacerations with Band-Aids of rationalization. But the Holy Ghost gives a more thorough examination than any doctor. If I ask God to search me – and pray the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24 – He will do it. It won’t be fun, but it will lead to a closer walk with God. It will lead to a revival in my life every day.
Covering our sin is not prosperous for us. Confession and forsaking sin pleases God. Few parents get a kick out of chastening their children, but the hug afterward is well worth the pain. If you are a Christian, God loves you. He wants to walk with you “in the cool of the day” (Genesis 3:8), but He doesn’t want your sin walking along with you. Unconfessed sin means that we are not in agreement with God, and two can’t walk together unless they be agreed.
Tags: Amos 4, Amos 5, church attendance, commentary on Amos, fake revival, hypocrisy, meeting God, meeting your maker, revival, Sunday School lessons on Amos
What a revival! Tithes were up and people were coming to church every day! Public worship was encouraged and popular! Praise songs were topping the charts! There was only one problem… The revival was not genuine. People were play-acting and faking it. God was not pleased. The prophet Amos used a little holy irony to drive home the point.
Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.
I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
Wouldn’t you think that a bunch of people who were singing praises to God, attending church all the time, and giving their money, would be ready to meet God? Amos’s prophecy was a message to these people: “You’re acting like you’re ready to meet God? Well, guess what…You are about to!”
Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
I wonder if, upon the pronouncement of this prophecy, you could have heard a pin drop?
Are we that different from the people of Amos’s day? Have you ever attended church as a listener, instead of a learner – hoping to be entertained instead of taught? Have you ever given yourself a “Sunday off,” since you had made it to church on the previous three Sundays? Have you ever stayed up until 3:00 a.m. to watch a movie, only to find yourself dozing off during the Sunday sermon? Have you ever spent scores of dollars to attend a religious rock concert, right after saying “I’ll think about it” when someone invited you to a free Bible study? Meeting God is a wonderful prospect for those who are truly prepared. But it is a terrifying prospect for those who only appear to be prepared.