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

Amos Chapter 4

Coffman’s Commentary:

There is a continuation in this chapter of the general thought and movement of the last, consisting of denunciations and exhortations of Israel. First, there is a powerful blast against the idle, sinful and oppressive rich “in the mountain of Samaria” (Amos 4:1-3), then, a sarcastic and ironical “call to worship” at Bethel and Gilgal (Amos 4:4,5), and next, a dramatic reminder by the prophet of the seven disasters God had sent upon Israel with the benign purpose of leading them to repentance (Amos 4:6-12). Some have considered these disasters as progressive in intensity and severity.

Coffman’s thought on verse 1 in Amos 4 is spot on. In a very real way, it could fit 2020 during and post Covid pandemic. We have the media, both broadcast and social, denunciations of people, races, countries, leaders, rights to gather in public settings including church, and political rallies. All of this is based upon something for which we have little or no control…C-19.

“Powerful blast against the idle.” In 2020 it is the idle who are taking away the goods, prosperity, and control of the general law and order of society. Amos is talking about the rich doing this to the poor but verse 2 that those of prosperity will be taken away against their choice. Yes, Amos is specifically speaking to the wealthy of the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but we are seeing a replay of this around the world today.

“Sarcastic ‘call to worship’.”  This is almost chilling in today’s society. The church is being identified as something that is not essential and people by the millions willingly if not eagerly fall in line with the whims of governors and local authorities to stay home FROM WORSHIP. After all, they say, to gather together is a danger. Yes it is a danger but actually a targeted danger to spiritual prosperity.  Break the routines of society, reshape it into someone else image of *society, and we have a reflection of the ten Tribes of Israel to whom Amos is preaching.

*Defund police, shut down large gatherings and free-speech, access to education, travel bans, isolation mandates, with so much more. All of it is due to a flu that is no respecter of mankind. Perhaps a flu lab-designed to do just what it is doing; put the world into the hands of a “peace-maker”.  We end up with those who can afford their own “fences” of defense and the rest remain susceptible to the elements. This can make one wonder if Amos 4 is speaking to us today. The Northern Kingdom of Israel was within two years of being thrown into total disarray.

James L. Mays wrote this about Amos 4:

“There is no perceptible development…, no heightening of the disasters’ intensity. Each is terrible in its own right, no worse than the previous one. The sequence gains its effect from repetition, the recollection of one disaster after another as though the narrative meant to exhaust the catalogue of human misery.”

“The purpose of these disasters (upon Israel) is to bring them back to God for repentance and worship.” Once again, this is possible if not a probable parallel to the 2020 global C-19 pandemic. There is no end in sight. The idle and fake ‘call to worship’ in Israel was not a call to worship God but manmade mandates. The parallels they be accurate or assumed are uncanny.

JIV NOTE: We MUST keep in mind that Amos is not just talking to his initial calling, that being the Northern Kingdom of Israel, but he condemns multiple nations. His calling is, at that time, global.

The hooks and fishhooks mentioned in verse 2 are obvious. This is not voluntary. It is forced. One will be pulled into the direction they are required by others to go. Choice has been removed. It is amazing how willingly people of the denominational religions and church settings have fallen in line…stay at home; form a new habit of not attending worship services, follow the guidance of mandates or pay a dear price. Who is doing the “taking away with hooks”? Verse two says…”The Lord God.” Think back if one will to the plagues upon Egypt. They were consequential; not happenstance.

Verses 2-5 are conditional for relief from consequences. God wants his people (believers) to worship him, not, if one might say, vaccines. Are we suggesting vaccines are evil? NO! It is the symbolism of man’s help versus God’s help.

Amos 4:6 reminds these Israelis of the northern kingdom of their past. God provided their needs but now they have transgressed. They had become very prosperous. No need for God as the “did it their way” and were exceedingly prosperous. Hmmmm? Is this another coincidental parallel to that time and this time up to the C-19 plague? David Guzik (commentary) identifies or relates the “clean teeth” [v6] to not having food to dirty them. This is a curse, not a blessing.

Amos 4:7 is significant if not a message of salvation in an earthly sense. God withheld rain (prosperity) from some locations and gave rain (prosperity) to others. This is a sign that God blesses when we as individuals and as a people draw closer to him; his choice. The have nots will seek the wealth and abundance of others. Just as in verse 9, Amos explains the curse of God is a call to return to him. It is not a message exclusive to the poor or welathy, but to all (kole; meaning no exceptions). Return to God. The New Testament puts it well in James 4:8.  Draw close to God and he will draw close to us.

To God and He will draw closer to you.

Outline of The Book of Amos (Article 2)

I.  The Author and Theme of the Book,  Amos 1:1-2

II.  The Prophecies of Amos,  Amos 1:3-2:16

Amos is not exclusive to Israel in his prophecies.He includes surrounding nations as instructed by God Jehovah.

A.  Concerning Damascus,   Amos 1:3-5
B.  Concerning Philistia,   Amos 1:6-8
C.  Concerning Tyre,   Amos 1:9-10
D.  Concerning Edom,   Amos 1:11-12
E.  Concerning Ammon,   Amos 1:13-15
F.  Concerning Moab,   Amos 2:1-3
G.  Concerning Judah,    Amos 2:4-5
H.  Concerning Israel,   Amos 2:6-16

III.  The Sermons of Amos,  Amos 3:1-6:14

A.  The Doom of Israel,                                                                                  Amos 3:1-15
B.  The Depravity of Israel,                                                                            Amos 4:1-13
C.  A Dirge over Israel,                                                                                  Amos 5:1-6:14

1.  The ruin of Israel in coming judgment,                                                      Amos 5:1-17
2.  The rebuke of religious people,                                                                 Amos 5:18-27
3.  The reprimand of the entire nation,                                                           Amos 6:1-14

IV. The Visions of Amos,  Amos 7:1-9:15

A.  A Vision of Devouring Locusts,                                                               Amos 7:1-3
B.  A Vision of Fire,                                                                                       Amos 7:4-6
C.  A Vision of a Plumb Line,                                                                        Amos 7:7-9
D.  An Historical Interlude: Opposition from the Priest of Bethel,                Amos 7:10-17
E.  A Vision of a Basket of Summer Fruit,                                                    Amos 8:1-14
F.  A Vision of the Lord Judging,                                                                   Amos 9:1-10
G. A Vision of Future Blessing,                                                                     Amos 9:11-15

The Minor Prophets and their [Primary] Message

  1. Hosea  – The Lord loves Israel despite her sin.  755-715 B.C.
  2. Joel – Judgment precedes Israel’s future spiritual revival. 835–796* B.C.
  3. Amos – God is just and must judge sin. 765-750 B.C.
  4. Obadiah – Sure retribution must overtake merciless pride. 848* B.C.
  5. Jonah – Divine grace is universal. 780-750 B.C.
  6. Micah – Bethlehem-born Messiah will be mankind’s Deliverer. 740-690 B.C.
  7. Nahum – Doom is to descend on wicked Nineveh. 630-612 B.C.
  8. Habakkuk – Justification by faith is God’s way of salvation. 625 B.C. or earlier
  9. Zephaniah – The Day of the Lord must precede kingdom blessing. 625-610 B.C.
  10. Haggai – The Lord’s Temple and interests deserve top priority. 520 B.C.
  11. Zechariah – The Lord remembers His people Israel. 520-515 B.C.; Zechariah 9–14 after 500 B.C.
  12. Malachi – Let the wicked be warned by the certainty of judgment. 433-400 B.C.

Remarkably these Bible book descriptions can be read as a single progressive statement:

The Lord loves Israel despite her sin however Judgment precedes Israel’s future spiritual revival. God is just and must judge sin. Sure retribution must overtake their merciless pride. Thankfully Divine grace is universal. Bethlehem-born Messiah will be mankind’s Deliverer. Nonetheless, Doom is to descend on wicked Nineveh. Mankind’s Justification by faith is God’s way of salvation. The Day of the Lord must precede kingdom blessing. The Lord’s Temple and interests deserve top priority. The Lord remembers His people Israel. Let the wicked be warned by the certainty of judgment.
(JIV; Jim’s Introspective View)

  • All dates are approximate. *The text does not specifically date these prophets. As a result differences of opinion exist concerning the time of their ministries. (from The New Unger’s Bible Handbook). However, these dates are close enough for bible history discussion. Credit to Bible.org

Do facts equal the acts of the church today?

1) Everyone Answers to God- Amos pronounced judgment from God on all the surrounding nations. God is in supreme control of all the nations, they all are accountable to Him.

2) Complacency- With all the comfort and luxury that Israel was experiencing finds a false sense of security. Prosperity brought corruption and destruction.

3) Oppressing the Poor- The wealthy and powerful people of Samaria, the capital of Israel, had become prosperous, greedy and unjust. Illegal and immoral slavery came as the result of over-taxation and land-grabbing. There was also cruelty and indifference toward the poor. God is weary of greed and will not tolerate injustice.

4) Superficial Religion- Although many people had abandoned real faith in God, they still pretended to be religious; merely participating in ceremony or ritual falls short of true religion.

Our faith in God is constantly under negotiation with our social and environmental demands to compromise; just a little here then a little later. All of it is too often subtle. CoVid 19 proved that a church gathering can be totally eliminated by law to shut down. This is so without a vote or say of the public. This is the foundation for establishing colonies by the first European to the Americas.

Far too many people who call themselves Christians, even true believers, ignore God’s Word and commandments. Or, they seek God only for His blessings or to help in times of trouble. Like the Israelites of Amos’s day, some live only to please themselves.

Judgment on the Nations. Amos opens the way for his message to Israel by proclaiming the Lord’s judgment upon six surrounding nations—Damascus (Syria), Gaza (Philistia), Tyrus (Phoenicia), Edom, Ammon, Moab. Then he comes nearer home and pronounces judgment against Judah (Amos 2:4), and against Israel itself (Amos 2:6), and finally against the whole nation (Amos 3:1–2).

He denounces the sins of the northern kingdom of Israel in more graphic detail than Hosea, dwelling especially on the careless ease and luxury, the oppression of the poor, the extortion and lying and cheating which prevailed, and the utter hypocrisy in worship.

Amos – Introduction (Article One)

The prophecy of Amos should simplify the choices in our lives. Instead of choosing between prayer and service, the book of Amos teaches us that both are essential. God has called Christians not only to be in relationship with Him but also to be in relationships with others. For those Christians whose tendency has been to focus more on the invisible God than on His visible creation, Amos pulls us back toward the center, where both the physical and the spiritual needs of people matter in God’s scheme of justice – Chuck Swindoll

It is seldom that ahabiblemoments.com uses a quote from someone else to introduce a new series of chapter-by-chapter book studies, but Chuck Swindoll says is so well. Seldom does one seriously consider a balanced service and prayer life outside of church attendance, perhaps a mid-week bible study and prayer at church or for one’s dinner. Our prayer lives suffer intimacy with God. In ignorance we pray for God to “be with us” (or so-in-so) even though both the Old Testament in Deuteronomy 36:6 and the New Testament in Hebrews 13:5 state God IS with us and will not forsake his followers. That is rote (preconditioned) prayer, not intimacy with God. Amos points this out to the northern ten tribes of Israel. It certainly applies to too many of us here and now.

Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea (and Isaiah), took a different prophetic approach to the very same sins Hosea prophesied against, but included seven other neighboring kingdoms. Amos was from the southern kingdom of Judah while Hosea was a member of the northern kingdom of Israel. We will see in Amos chapter 7 that he determines he is neither a son of a prophet nor “graduate” from their School of Prophecy. One might legitimately say that he is a layman minister; i.e. not a son of a preacher nor a product of some denominational seminary. It is not unusual for a prophet to first identify himself as to who, what and the where of his very being. In a sense, they source themselves for the sake of legitimacy that can be verified. Amos is a bit odd in that he is not quoted in any other book of the Bible. Many other prophets are quoted, paraphrased, or identified within text of other scripture.

Over and over again many commentaries and articles mention that this is “two years BEFORE the famous Amos earthquake. What earthquake? We refer you to the earthquake most likely to be the one to which Amos refers [next page]. Amazingly, this is evidence of both Amos and of his ministry since this earthquake is a benchmark in history. Keep it in mind that this website does not distinguish between histories of scripture and secular. They are within each other; the same history content but under differing contexts. Bible history and secular history are HIS-story after creation in Genesis 1.

The picture to the left is of Israel. The Amos earthquake occurred in or around 750 B.C. Researchers and archeologist “diggers” place this earthquake at or around a mid-8 seismic event. Isaiah, Zechariah, and Joel mention the damage and reference this quake. Isaiah and Zechariah come shortly after Amos in His-story.

During this time, 780 B.C. to around 740 B.C. Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel had defeated and conquered portions of Syria, Moab and Ammon. An interesting historical fact is that these territories had been the possession of the “east of Jordan Tribes of Manasseh, Gad, and Rueben”. They did not want to cross the Jordan during the time of Joshua as the pasture lands were very good to the east of the Jordan River. However, as we will point out in a later Amos article, they did send their troops across the Jordan to help their “cousins” conquer the Canaanites.

JIV NOTE: National Geographic 2017 DNA samplings have discovered that by far most of Lebanon is where the Canaanites moved after warring with Joshua and the Israelites.

Amos did not travel throughout the Northern Kingdom with his message to the Kingdom of Israel. He spent most of his time in and around Bethel, just north of his own home town in Tekoa, Judah. Bethel was one of two worship centers for the northern Tribes of Israel. The other was in Dan. Dan was to the northern sector of Israel and Bethel to the southern. Both were established to deter the members of the ten northern tribes from going to Jerusalem and the Temple in Judah to worship; even on festival days.

 Chuck Swindoll puts it this way in defining the Book of Amos and the man himself.

“Amos was fed up. While most of the prophets interspersed redemption and restoration in their prophecies against Israel and Judah, Amos devoted only the final five verses of his prophecy for such consolation. Prior to that, God’s word through Amos was directed against the privileged people of Israel, a people who had no love for their neighbor, who took advantage of others, and who only looked out for their own concerns.”

As we will read in a later article, Amos was personally “invited” to leave the northern kingdom and return to his home in Tekoa of the southern kingdom. The elite did not wish him well and the fact that he was pointing out that there was a growing wealth gap between the haves and the have-nots in the kingdom of Israel. PLUS, he notes in his book several visions he has regarding this northern territory of Israelites. We will be able to see in this series on the Book of Amos and by using just a little insight, how the message Amos leaves with Israel and God’s frustration with what was once a nation under God parallels America today (2020).

For the sake of identifying bible persons, places and things, understand that Syria at that time was NOT Assyria. They were enemies of each other.  It was a physical buffer zone between northern Israel and Assyria. Syria is often referred to as Aram. They are one and the same. Damascus was once what is called a city-state; a government to itself; i.e. Aram/Syria/Damascus; one and the same.

For a great summary of Amos and his prophetic mission, click the link below.

https://www.biblewise.com/bible_study/characters/amos.php

Rev. Dr. Jstark
2020