Archive for May 17th, 2017

Amos is sent to the Northern Kingdom of Israel to reach a people in the 8th century BC, who have been relatively at peace with their long held arch enemies, the Assyrians.  Since Jonah’s successful call to repentance of the people of Nineveh, Israel has enjoyed relative peace.  This has led to increased prosperity, with all the trappings associated with this:  second homes, summer retreats, strong drink and partying, but also, financial misconduct, corruption in high places, including in the judiciary, and sexual laxity.  These ills have crept up on society and what seemed like God’s continued blessing has led to complacency and a lack-a-daisical attitude to his laws. Those calling for reform are mocked. This all sounds amazingly familiar to the prosperous West in the 21st century AD.

But a new generation of Assyrians is emerging and Amos warns that hostility from this new generation will loom again with devastating consequences. Amos is to warn them that although it is a new generation of enemies who are coming, it is God who is allowing it all to happen and for good reason.  They and their sister nation of Judah are the ‘chosen’ people and therefore to be held to higher account than others (3:2), a theme continued in the New Testament.

Chapter 3:3-6 speaks of the inevitability of judgment, every bit as much as the laws of Nature are inevitable.  Yet God is merciful and gives warning (3:7).  Chapter 4 outlines a whole list of disciplines brought against the nation, food shortages, water shortages, blighted crops, sicknesses and great fires. Yet, the peoples’ consciences are blunted by their soft living and lax ways: “They do not know how to do right”, 3:10.  So debased have the minds of people become, they seem to have forgotten God altogether; forgotten that they are a covenant people. They do not even ask him for help.  A kind of collective amnesia or madness has overcome the whole nation. In our own lives, and indeed in the life of our nation, God sends his word and sometimes action to wake us up if we are not listening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pray that God will help us all listen and heed his word and to continue, as Amos did, to call our own nation to repentance in the name of Jesus. Amen.

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