Amos 3

Amos 3

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Israel’s Guilt and Punishment

Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:

  “You only have I known
    of all the families of the earth;
  therefore I will punish you
    for all your iniquities.
  “Do two walk together,
    unless they have agreed to meet?
  Does a lion roar in the forest,
    when he has no prey?
  Does a young lion cry out from his den,
    if he has taken nothing?
  Does a bird fall in a snare on the earth,
    when there is no trap for it?
  Does a snare spring up from the ground,
    when it has taken nothing?
  Is a trumpet blown in a city,
    and the people are not afraid?
  Does disaster come to a city,
    unless the LORD has done it?
  “For the Lord GOD does nothing
    without revealing his secret
    to his servants the prophets.
  The lion has roared;
    who will not fear?
  The Lord GOD has spoken;
    who can but prophesy?”
  Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod
    and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt,
  and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria,
    and see the great tumults within her,
    and the oppressed in her midst.”
  “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD,
    “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD:

  “An adversary shall surround the land
    and bring down your defenses from you,
    and your strongholds shall be plundered.”

Thus says the LORD: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.

  “Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,”
    declares the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,
  “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions,
    I will punish the altars of Bethel,
  and the horns of the altar shall be cut off
    and fall to the ground.
  I will strike the winter house along with the summer house,
    and the houses of ivory shall perish,
  and the great houses shall come to an end,”
      declares the LORD.

(ESV)


Amos 3 Commentary

by Hank Workman

In an interesting opening, God poses rhetorical questions. Stating Israel is that of chosen family to Him, He is responding like one would in such a setting. As a good Father, He celebrates with His children when they do well. He also punishes with discipline as any good parent who cares about His children’s well-being would.

Let’s think about that a moment. In all the sin these people have done, all the ways we fail God over and over in lack of obedience, He still sees us the same way. Although discipline is hard to endure, the fact remains He doesn’t write off such waywardness. They, we are that looked upon as family, His children. How could a parent write someone off? Although it is simplistic of thought, consider this.

So much of the time our own selfishness and wayward behavior would relegate us toward abandonment, God chooses to stay connected. Even though we are uninterested in His parenthood at times, made evident in our behavior, that doesn’t detract from His love and Fatherhood over us. There’s hope in the hardship.

The discipline of God hurts. All of us have experienced this and maybe some are actually in the middle of it at the moment. Reminder – He’s not disciplining because He hates or is ‘done’ with us; His discipline comes because of His sheer love and desire to see us turn around and become fruitful. Is that not what you do as parents with your own children? You’ve not ‘given up’ on your children, not written them off but because you want to see them learn and grow from the experience to become what they need to be. You desire to see them become responsible in their actions and yes, grow into mature, reliable adults.

We cannot comprehend the depth of this though. For the love of God goes so much further than what we can comprehend.

I used to mentor a guy who was incredibly naughty. If there was trouble, he found it. He was exasperating to say the least. Right after high school he moved into my house and lived there for 4-5 years. He became like a son. And so we celebrated the great things of his life but man, he gave me the run around with his human nature continually. He used to tell a story I thought was hilarious of how as a child he would wake up to being spanked most mornings. From a dead sleep, he would be jolted with his backside being whooped. His mom would say, “I know you’re going to be bad today so I’m getting the first spanking in this morning so you’ll remember this throughout the day.”

His memory was short.

Although I was not a blood parent in the situation and really had no rights nor actually will to discipline, it did come in those years he lived with me. Do you realize how hard it is to discipline someone that’s an adult even? Like, it’s nearly impossible. But he became like family to me. He was and is family to me now. So the hard calls and discipline that were necessary many a day and night I had to resolve to follow through. But I had my eyes set on the higher calling of his life. I knew if God completely got hold of his heart, he would change his world for the Kingdom. Oh, we went round and round. It got ugly many a day. But in the end, he is now a missionary in China. The tough love and even discipline drove him to a life of obedience and now he is making an impact for the Kingdom.

I look back at those years and honestly laugh at so many of the situations and trials that kid put me through. The stories are rich and ridiculous. But believe me, it was no picnic at that time. The glory of who he is now far outweighs those times. In the scheme of things, I was nothing as far as a parent. But God drew me alongside this rebellious kid for that period of his life which drove him back to Him.

Sometimes God has to take us to the woodshed. It’s not because He’s so furious at us but because He sees our future far greater than we do ourselves. Sadly for how obstinate we all can be, the woodshed is the only answer. Although it is terribly painful and yes, grieves God in the middle of it all, it’s for our good as He looks forward toward His amazing calling upon our life where He revels in the glory of who we’ve become for Him and His Kingdom.


Amos 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

How can two people walk hand in hand if they aren’t going in the same direction?

“They do not need to be agreed about everything. They must, however, wish to keep each others company, and they must be going by the same road to the same place.”

Alexander MacLaren

This is a rhetorical question asked by God and a powerful illustration of Israel’s choices. In order for this to happen, two people must meet together. They must agree on where they are going, and what path they are taking. They must have the same goals and ideals. They must care for each other in order to go hand in hand. This is where the truth needed to sink in for Israel. The above statements were not true in their case. They could not expect God to walk hand in hand with them as they pursued their sin. It simply cannot happen.

Furthermore, God sums up these rhetorical questions by stating that He has told His prophets the whole story. So, not only are they going different directions, but God has revealed in plain, understandable language which direction He is going. Keep in mind that He is also gracious in giving them fair warning and allowing them to repent. These are revelations we are utterly incapable of comprehending without His divine intervention.

“The closer our relationship with God, the more searching His scrutiny and chastening. The sins of God’s children which may seem of slight consequence are rigorously dealt with by their Heavenly Father, who loves them too well to allow their life to be permanently injured.”

F.B. Meyer

God could have left Israel in their filth. He could have left us in our filth. He didn’t… and this reality punctuates His relentless love for you and for me.

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