- Remember God’s covenantal promises given to Abraham, the patriarchs, and Moses. When blessings fail, and idolatry is practiced – the people were to return to God (Deut. 4:29-31).
- Frequency and self-centered worship do not build fellowship with God.
Read Amos 4:6-13
- You can imagine Amos’ voice rising to a climax at this point ending with a shout “Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name.”
The Message You know, don’t you, that I’m the One who emptied your pantries and cleaned out your cupboards, who left you hungry and standing in bread lines? But you never got hungry for me. You continued to ignore me…But you never got thirsty for me…Times up Israel! Prepare to meet your God!
- It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of an angry God.
- Divine Intrusion (6-11)
- Divine Encounter (12-13)
Divine Intrusion (6-11)
- Seven acts of divine intrusion:
- Famine (6): In Ruth, Elimelech and his family fled the famine rather than repent.
- Drought (7-8): Its effect on crops (7) and people (8).
- Blight (9): Plant disease…
- Locusts (9): Insects which devour plants.
- Plagues (10): God is now treating Israel like he treated Egypt.
- Military defeat (10): See Lev. 26:25.
- Natural disaster (11): May refer to preserved remnant. We should consider our response (not it’s precise cause).
- The severity increases from famine to overthrow.
- Seven calamities indicates complete/fullness of God’s attempts to gain Israel’s repentance. Israel had been given every opportunity to repent, but their stubbornness prevailed.
- We clearly see God’s sovereign control over nature. God is sovereign over every tribulation a country might endure. He never loses control. The weather doesn’t catch God off guard. He ordains all of it.
Motyer Words could not be plainer, and unless we wish to trim Him down to the poor limits of a God nice enough to suit our emotions, small enough to fit within our logic and effete enough to leave room for our wills, we shall bow before the Sovereign revealed in this passage and throughout the rest of the Bible.
- Israel was so faithfully entrenched in their hypocritical worship that they could not fathom repentance being necessary.
- Our response to calamity should involve self-examination, and prayer for comfort and strength.
- The fact that Israel didn’t think to repent or pray for comfort indicates their lack of fellowship with God.
- Do we have such a relationship with God that we turn to him first? Are we quick to seek the comfort of the Lord, or is He our last resort?
- If you have ever faced calamity you know that you often respond instinctively. So the best preparation for calamity is developing habits and patterns in your life of prayer, including adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication.
After continually ignoring all divine intrusion, they must prepare for a…
Divine Encounter (12-13)
- v.12 “This” may have been accompanied by a gesture. Are they prepared for a confrontation with their Maker?
Hubbard The thus and this may assume some dramatic symbolic gesture like a blow from a fist, a cutting of the throat, or a wielding of a sword.
- v.13 Cf. Amos 5:8-9 and 9:5-6. All have hymnic structure. All three sections share the phrase “the Lord is his name” which may indicate that it comes from the same hymn.
- It is ironic that Amos takes what appears to be a hymn the people knew and loved, and turns a comforting word into one of judgment.
- Could this be positive encouragement for the people to repent?
- Meeting with God almost always has connotations of grace (Exod. 19:17). There may be fearful reactions, but it does not point to the wrath of God (cf. Gen. 18:2; 19:1; Exod. 5:3; Num. 23:3; Zech. 2:3).
- Personalized “your God” is rare in Amos (only other occurrence is 9:15) and suggests comfort/assurance.
- “Morning to darkness” or “darkness to morning.” Either option is permissible for translation. “Who makes morning out of darkness” (cf. Psalm 30:5).
- YHWH = Redeemer.
Motyer Amos stabs the conscience with his ambiguities: is the darkness to become dawn or the dawn darkness? Will the Creator leap in to save or to destroy? Yet there is in abundance that on which faith can rest: He calls to a meeting, not a confrontation; He speaks as your God; He names Himself by the name of sovereign grace, Yahweh. The way lies wide open for the penitent; they can still flee from the wrath to come.
- It is interesting to note that Amos doesn’t bring up the fact that Samaria was worshiping golden calves. We know that is what Jeroboam promoted. And other places in Scripture condemn their idolatry. But as far as Amos is concerned, it is their lack of genuine fellowship with God that needs to be addressed first and foremost.
- Can we not learn something from Amos’ tactfulness? Rather than jump to significant theological differences between us and others – it may be more important to address where a person’s heart is. What are they loving? An evaluation of passions may be more effective – at times, and with certain people – than a critique of their theology.
- Isaiah 45:23; Phil. 2.
- It is as if Amos is holding out one last opportunity for them to repent. Their hearts must be truly changed so they hate their sin, turn to God and submit to his rule. We cannot expect forgiveness where we have found no reason for judgment.
- We must personalize this statement and rephrase it as a question: Are you prepared to meet your God? You will stand before the Judge of all mankind one day. Are you ready? Many preachers have removed this kind of language from their vocabulary.