Beware the Flammable Frauds

September 24, 2014 at 12:33 pm | Posted in Amos, The Fives | 1 Comment
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The people of the “House of Israel” thought they had worked out a viable system. Historically, they had been called the people of Yahweh, 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.

Amos 5:4-5

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.

Amos 5:6

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.

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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.

Prepare to Meet Your Maker

March 22, 2011 at 8:45 am | Posted in Amos, Common Expressions, Uncategorized | 7 Comments
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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.

Amos 4:4-5

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.

Amos 5:21-23

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.

Amos 4:12

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.


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