Amos 1

Amos 1

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The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

Judgment on Israel’s Neighbors

And he said:

  “The LORD roars from Zion
    and utters his voice from Jerusalem;
  the pastures of the shepherds mourn,
    and the top of Carmel withers.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Damascus,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have threshed Gilead
    with threshing sledges of iron.
  So I will send a fire upon the house of Hazael,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Ben-hadad.
  I will break the gate-bar of Damascus,
    and cut off the inhabitants from the Valley of Aven,
  and him who holds the scepter from Beth-eden;
    and the people of Syria shall go into exile to Kir,”
      says the LORD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Gaza,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they carried into exile a whole people
    to deliver them up to Edom.
  So I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.
  I will cut off the inhabitants from Ashdod,
    and him who holds the scepter from Ashkelon;
  I will turn my hand against Ekron,
    and the remnant of the Philistines shall perish,”
      says the Lord GOD.

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Tyre,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they delivered up a whole people to Edom,
    and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
  So I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre,
    and it shall devour her strongholds.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of Edom,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because he pursued his brother with the sword
    and cast off all pity,
  and his anger tore perpetually,
    and he kept his wrath forever.
  So I will send a fire upon Teman,
    and it shall devour the strongholds of Bozrah.”

Thus says the LORD:

  “For three transgressions of the Ammonites,
    and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
  because they have ripped open pregnant women in Gilead,
    that they might enlarge their border.
  So I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah,
    and it shall devour her strongholds,
  with shouting on the day of battle,
    with a tempest in the day of the whirlwind;
  and their king shall go into exile,
    he and his princes together,”
      says the LORD.

(ESV)


Amos 1 Commentary

by Hank Workman

Often when we think of a man of God, they come with a title.  We tend to place people with the label of minister or reverend at the front of their name as one who fit the bill.  We think of someone who is busy at work within a country and titled missionary.  Titles are misleading.

Amos was not the son of a prophet and not a son of a priest.  He was a shepherd.  Tending sheep, watching over the orchard on his property was all he knew. Then God gave him a vision.  Not only a vision though, but a boldness to proclaim His word to the people of the Northern Kingdom, Israel.  He stepped from shepherd to prophet from this vision and his life was never the same.

I think all too often we grab hold of titles and place labels on people because of their specific role within the church or ministry.  Yet, as we who believe in Jesus are all Children of God, responsibility follows.  We are all ministers.  We are all those who have a message.  God has not called any of us to be bench warmers but to be actively involved within this Kingdom of His. We are all expected to be that of ‘men of God’, ‘women of God’.

I think back to various instances where someone needed a ‘pastor’ to come and visit their relative who was dying.  The person was fearful that their loved one was not in good standing with God and as time was short, they wanted me to come in and make sure things were okay.  And so here, a complete stranger was asked to come speak to this individual on his death bed.  Dutifully I would go.  But what never made sense then and still does not today, would it not have been better to have someone the person dying knew to speak to them?  Would the history of their relationship not have been the better springboard for such a real and genuine conversation?  But you see, the title is what they perceived was needed when in actuality the established relationship would have gone a lot further.  We are all ministers of God.

Sometimes the outcome of these stories was good. Other times not so much as they were resistant or uninterested.  I’ve stood over many a deathbed and spoken with people, prayed with those (one who onetime was in a coma and I begged God to open their mind as I spoke and held their hands) hoping they would be open to the redemption available for their eternity.  And in each of these situations, I wondered about these who stood beside me.  They were Believers and yet resistant to being that voice.  Their relationship would have been far more powerful in speaking love and boldness to these whose life teetered between this world and the next.

The point as we step into the prophet Amos’ writings is simple.  We are all ministers of God.  We are all people who have been transformed by the grace of Jesus.  We each have a story to tell and more importantly, we each have an audience or people of whom He has entrusted to us.  We each have a role.  As Amos willingly went from shepherd to prophet and became a voice of truth, God has placed each of us within the Body to be active participants in spreading His message, living His calling and actively reaching those in need.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; 13 until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. 14 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper workingof each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

Ephesians 4:11-16

Amos 1 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Nelson’s Commentary gives an informative but concise background on the book of Amos.

“The Lord sent Amos, a Judean, to Bethel to prophesy of coming judgment on Israel. But in Bethel, Amos faced a hostile audience. Israel’s first king, Jeroboam I, had made the town a center of pagan worship. Because the temple in Jerusalem was in Judah and not in the nation of Israel, Jeroboam had encouraged the Israelites to worship at Bethel instead of Jerusalem. Thus the Israelites who gathered at Bethel would regard Amos, a Judean, with suspicion. Yet Amos bravely condemned there the sins of Israel’s neighbors—the Syrians, Philistines, Phoenicians, Edomites, Ammonites, and Moabites. Then he went on to point out the iniquity of Judah and Israel: they had rejected the God who had covenanted with them. They too stood before God condemned by their own evil ways. With a steady voice, Amos called the Israelites to return to the living God.”

Nelson’s New Illustrated Commentary

Amos started with the nations surrounding Israel in order to gain an initial following, and by the end of the book, he would turn God’s judgment toward Israel. But first, he would use a series of metaphors to illustrate the sins of the surrounding nations. Take verse 3 for example…

The LORD says: I will not relent from punishing Damascus for three crimes, even four, because they threshed Gilead with iron sledges.

Amos 1:3 HCSB

What does he mean by “three crimes, even four?”

Three things are beyond me; four I can’t understand.

Proverbs 30:18 HCSB

The earth trembles under three things; it cannot bear up under four.

Proverbs 30:21 HCSB

Three things are stately in their stride, even four are stately in their walk.

Proverbs 30:29 HCSB

The numerical formula represented the countless sins against God. Three represented more than enough to punish but four was beyond comprehension. This metaphor represented in the strongest wording just how corrupt Syria had become and how horrific their sins were to God.

It is important to understand that God holds us accountable for what we know. In this case, the Syrians did not have the same revelation as Israel did, however, God was still holding them accountable to the moral law that they already knew.

In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained.

Philippians 3:16 HCSB

The application for us is that God has an expectation for us. His bar is high and there is no way we can even begin to reach it without faith. But once we submit our lives to Him, that expectation for living a fruitful life can be accomplished. Jesus illustrated this point in the parable of the talents. He praised the two servants who doubled what was given and He judged the one who squandered it. Our God expects us to live up to the truth revealed to us!

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