Amos 5

 Amos Chapter #5

This chart taken from duckduckgo.com tells it all per Amos’s mission in chart form. Chapters 1 – 8 are basic who, what, why and results. The “who” gives us insights to watch for current or future global news headlines. One cannot have wisdom without understanding. One cannot have understanding without knowledge. One cannot have knowledge without a source. This requires more than a church pew or under pandemic circumstances, a chair in the parking lot or on the lawn of a church. We do not need more messages (at church) about Bible stories. We need to understand the source; i.e. Bible. This is not the sole and total responsibility of the preacher. As even with medications, that responsibility falls upon the individual(s) taking the medication. The Bible is similar to a prescription; even an over the counter medication. The person in need needs to seek it. It won’t come to him or her. Seek and you will find.

Chapter 5: “The entire chapter is a continuation of Amos’ prophecy against Israel, elaborating and expanding the condemnation and overthrow of Israel already announced in Amos 3” [studylight.org]. Amos is now explaining that there is no longer a pending recovery or “return” to greatness for Israel. Not this time. Recall Israel (Northern 10 Tribes) is at their economic highpoint. The wealthy are even wealthier, but the poor still exist and are leveraged by those who are the “haves” of Israel’s society. New Testament Matthew 26:11 tells us that “we will always have the poor.” However, Israel has a vast chasm between the haves and the have-not at this time in HIS-story. Interestingly the second half of Matthew 26:11 explains well the circumstance of the Northern Kingdom of Israel during the time of Amos. It reads…”but you will not always have me.” The Israel to whom Amos is writing had lost their connection with God. Like Hosea, Amos is pleading their return to the God who brought their forefathers out of Egypt.

Chapter 5 is similar to a eulogy. Amos is preaching their funeral before they die as a kingdom. It is the final message per the life of these people until the return of Jesus Christ. Verse 2 verifies this. It is blunt: “…Israel has fallen and will not rise again.”The Kingdom of Israel is great at this time but will fall. Revelation 18:2 says the same thing about End Time and (symbolic) Babylon; Babylon will fall and NOT rise again.

Verse 3 gives us a somewhat mathematical example of their demise. One out of ten is the formula used by Amos. This can be a prophecy of either survivors of their military or occupants of the land. One out of Ten will remain. But this is not the only option of Israel. Verse 4, just as it says in the New Testament verse in James 4 (v8). It is a powerful underscoring of what Free Will actually means. Draw close to me THEN I will draw close to you. Amos 5:4 says the same…”seek me and live.” We MUST get this straight. We often pray for God to be close to so-in-so but this is not supported by scripture in either the old or New Testaments. The free will of man requires that we seek out God/Jesus.

Multitudes have enjoyed Michael W. Smith’s music. However, there is one song with which it has it’s lyrics in conflict with scripture. It is his song “Draw Me Close” to you. Verse 1 has the first lyric sentence and the last one wrong.

Opening lyric line: “Draw me close to you” (God)
last line in his vers1: “Bring me back to you”

Choose to Draw Near to God and He will draw near to you!

Reread James 8:4 and Amos 5:4. It is incumbent upon us to make that move first.  Michael W. Smith is a good gospel musician but just like so many, in ignorance we get scripture mixed up. We must draw ourselves closer to God so He can then draw closer to us. Amos is telling those in the Kingdom of Israel the same thing. “Seek me and Live.” It underscores the Free Will of man.

  1. Isaiah 45:22 states “Turn to me and be saved.”
  2. Luke 13: 23, *24 “…many will seek to be saved but will not be able.”
    1. *Many still want to do it their way, not God’s way
  3. I Timothy 2:4 “[God] desires all men to be saved”
    1. His desire but it is our choice to follow him or do it our way.

These few verses are examples of the “If you __?__, then I [God] will __?__”conditions of God fulfilling His promises and covenants with man. Every promise and covenant in scripture is supported by the “if you do, then I will” principle. Amos is telling Israel exactly the same thing. God is waiting but they were the ones who walked away. The old adage of “If one does not feel as close to God as s/he once did, guess who moved away” is fact, not supposition.

I don’t recall but believe the Burton, Coffman Commentary puts Amos 5 this way:

“(This chapter has): a funeral song (Amos 5:1-3); a call to repent (Amos 5:4-7); part of a song of praise (Amos 5:8-9); a warning about injustice (Amos 5:10-13); a further call to repent (Amos 5:14-15); and a further funeral song, or vision of death (Amos 5:16-17).

Amos 5:5 is of particular interest. A lesson NOT LEARNED even to this very day. Amos tells his northern cousins to not go to Bethel or Gilgal (he might also include Samaria with Beersheba). He is referencing PLACES of worship. This is so true of Christianity today (not a reference to the magazine Christianity Today). These people went to “places” to worship. We do the same thing today. We go to CHURCH to worship. This is incorrect theology. We need only to go to God, praise him, seek forgiveness, acknowledge his Holiness, and seek guidance/wisdom. Why is it the place that matters so much? In too many people’s minds it is the only place of worship instead of “a” place of worship. Church buildings matters but not required to worship God. Church can become the place of captivity just as did Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba. It is the worship that to God.

Amos 5:6 is a repeat of verse 4 and supports verse 5…”Seek Jehovah.” It is the where; it is the “who.” If we don’t seek HIM out, the consequence is His judgment. “The Lord will be like a fire.”

Amos 5:7 reminds us of today’s establishment of different churches and denominations. During the time of Amos the Northern Kingdom had a very corrupt legal system. It served the well-being of those who were in charge; not the layperson within their population. “Justice is turned to wormwood.” That is, a bitter pill for those seeking true justice. It serves the purpose of those in the in-crowd, not the general population. Churches and denominations do precisely the same thing. If it serves their platform of right or wrong, then one can expect their support. If it fails to fit their terms and church doctrines, it is wormwood to fellow believers of another denomination. A bitter realization of “it is what it is.”

Amos 5:8 – 10 makes the point of WHO it is to worship. If it exists, God created it. This is repeated again in John 1:3…”All things were made by (through) Him (God) and without Him was not anything made (created) that was made (created)” Amos gives us a list of things God handed to us. The consequence of the disparity of those who have and those who have not is found in the following verse (v11). The very house and vineyards the “haves” have will not be for their consumption. This tells us that the judgment day Amos references is at hand for Israel. Within two years of this prophecy, Assyria overruns and disperses Israel throughout the world.

Key statements in the Amos 5:10-19 verses include:

  1. …because you trampled on the poor
  2. I [God] know your many transgressions
  3. You have afflicted the righteous
  4. Accept or hand out bribes
  5. Turn a back on the *needy
    1. This is not a plea for socialism. There is a stark difference between the NEEDY and those are simply GREEDY or LAZY.
    1. He who does not work shall not eat (II Thessalonians 3:10)
  6. Silence at time is being prudent
  7. Hate evil but love good
  8. Establish (real) justice [hmmm?]
  9. V18: The Day of the Lord is darkness?

Amos 5:18 demands attention and explanation. “The Day of the Lord is darkness?” This seems contradictory to all that we have heard about God. After all, “God is love,” right? The very same Bible tells us that HE also is “just[ice].” In Amos 5:1 we learned that his approach in chapter five is like a funeral eulogy or perhaps a funeral song. The emphasis is the conclusiveness or finality of a funeral. S/he [the one deceased] will no longer be among the living on earth. In this sense it is a dark day; similar to the evening marking the finality of another day. This verse has an End Time parallel. Choices are no longer an option. Bottom line? The Day of the Lord brings judgement. This is not the Bema Seat judgement but the Great White Throne day-of-judgment.

  1. Flee from a lion into the jaws of a bear
  2. Be bitten by a viper (some time identified as a two-step viper). When Paul in his ship wreck as a prisoner of the Romans and on his way to appeal to Caesar, was bitten by a viper [Acts 28:3]. The local islanders expected immediate death. He simply shook it off into their campsite fire.

Amos 5 concludes with a very blatant, unconcealed, overt statement. God no longer has an accepts  their songs and sacrifices. Why? He is but one of the gods to which these Israelites are making such offerings. Their worship is adulterated. They have given themselves to many gods.

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020

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