Archive for May 16th, 2017

Yesterday, our focus was on King Uzziah in the Southern Kingdom about 150 years before the country would be overthrown by the Babylonians in 597BC.  We saw how he would be ‘helped’ by God until he became ‘strong’, i.e., independent of God. Today our focus switches to the Northern kingdom through the ministry of the prophet Amos.

Although originating from Judah, the Southern Kingdom, (presumably because God could not find someone to speak from the North), Amos is sent to prophesy a much more imminent judgment on Israel, the Northern kingdom, namely invasion by the Assyrians. The date is approximately 755 BC and in 33 years’ time, Amos’ prophecy would come to pass.

As we saw yesterday, there is a build-up of warnings, one of which in two years’ time will be a huge earthquake, so significant that 250 years later it is referred to by the prophet Zechariah as in Amos as ‘the’ earthquake (v1).

These first two chapters of Amos begin, though, by condemning Israel’s neighbours, ethnically cousins but sworn enemies, for former attacks against her.  In chapter two, judgment against Israel’s sister nation, Judah, is detailed.  The device is to engage and draw in his audience through their righteous anger at their neighbours’ hatred toward them.  Hearing then about the failings of their sister nation sits equally comfortably with them.  How we love to hear about the failings of others!

Once engaged, Amos moves in for the kill and details their own wickedness before the Lord, (2:6 onwards): they countenance economic injustice; they pervert the course of justice in the courts, denying justice to the poor; and they exchange true religion for the pagan practices of their neighbours, indulging in prostitution as part of pagan fertility rites, all mixed in with the proper worship of Yahweh and all in transgression of the Law of Moses.

Chapter two ends with the reminder that it is God who will do this, bringing judgment if repentance is unforthcoming. Affluence and comfort so often precede ungodliness and pride.  But in his graciousness God gives plenty of warning.  His grace is not cheap, and we also, under the New Covenant do well to heed that still, small voice. As believers in Jesus our salvation is secure, but we will be judged for the value of fruit produced for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pray for strength to heed his timely warnings.

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