Amos 4

Amos 4

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  “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
    who are on the mountain of Samaria,
  who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
    who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’
  The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness
    that, behold, the days are coming upon you,
  when they shall take you away with hooks,
    even the last of you with fishhooks.
  And you shall go out through the breaches,
    each one straight ahead;
    and you shall be cast out into Harmon,”
      declares the LORD.
  “Come to Bethel, and transgress;
    to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
  bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three days;
  offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
    and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
    for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”
      declares the Lord GOD.

Israel Has Not Returned to the Lord

  “I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
    and lack of bread in all your places,
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I also withheld the rain from you
    when there were yet three months to the harvest;
  I would send rain on one city,
    and send no rain on another city;
  one field would have rain,
    and the field on which it did not rain would wither;
  so two or three cities would wander to another city
    to drink water, and would not be satisfied;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I struck you with blight and mildew;
    your many gardens and your vineyards,
    your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
    I killed your young men with the sword,
  and carried away your horses,
    and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “I overthrew some of you,
    as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
    and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
  yet you did not return to me,”
      declares the LORD.
  “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
    because I will do this to you,
    prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
  For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
    and declares to man what is his thought,
  who makes the morning darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

(ESV)


Amos 4 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“…But you didn’t notice me. You continued to ignore me.”

Amos 4:10 The Message

It’s almost as though God is saying in this chapter, “What’s it going to take?” Five different times in this chapter alone, God goes through the hardships and disciplines He brought to the people, and five times He references how they learned nothing.  Their lack of learning brings more hardship.

It’s a question to ponder when we look at our own lives first.  Have we been so disobedient to the things and grace of God we find ourselves with Him asking us, “What’s it going to take?”  Have we become so hardhearted to our own ways, our flesh that drives us again and again, God has no other choice but to allow things to come against so we will finally stop and turn?  We can also look at those in our lives who are on this track.  These are the burdens for those who willfully continue to what they want even in hardship and confusion.  “What’s it going to take?” we may ask ourselves.

God gives a strong warning to all in this – prepare to meet Him.  None of us know the time or place when our last breath will come.  None of us know when His return will be, but to live in expectation to this reality is something we all know we must do yet so often don’t.

As David Guzik writes, the preparing to meet him is a challenge, an invitation and a summons.

As a challenge, Charles Spurgeon writes poignantly:

“A boxer prepares long and hard before stepping into the ring against a champion. If you are going to step into the ring with God, you had better prepare! “The prophet may be understood as in irony challenging the proud rebels to meet in arms the God whom they have despised. Let them prepare to fight it out with him whom they have made to be their enemy, and against whose laws they have so continually revolted”

Charles Spurgeon

As an invitation, this is God offering His blessing even in such times.  We must come to grips with our own state and return to Him.  We must be honest and no longer attempt to hide.  He’s calling us to meet with Him.  He’s calling us to be transparent with our lives.

As a summons, it is simply the reality.  We all will stand before Him giving an account.  It’s a sober reality to the lives we live now.

So, what’s it going to take?

As God was laying out to the Israelites some pretty harsh words in this chapter, his purpose, in the end, was to drive them back to Him. He would woo them to the desert of their choices where hardship would abound. The horrors to come would be beyond imagination as everything they knew and had would be stripped. It would get worse before it got better. And all too often, this is the exact same case for each of us and for the burdens we carry of those in our lives.

“What’s it going to take?” It’s going to take God doing whatever it takes to bring them to His throne of Grace and Mercy where bended knee and surrender is genuine.


Amos 4 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

My most interesting takeaway from this passage is simply the accountability to which God claims full responsibility for. Many times, we are quick to try and cover up the characteristics of God that don’t appeal to us. We modify Him up, or fit Him into the box we need. We say things like, “well, God didn’t really mean it that way,” or “God didn’t cause that to happen, He just allowed it to.” These are phrases that can sometimes try to soften or improve the characteristics of God.

But, in this chapter of Amos, we read of God attributing these consequences to no one other than Himself.

  • Amo 4:6  I gave you absolutely nothing to eat in all your cities
  • Amo 4:7  I also withheld the rain from you while there were still three months until harvest
  • Amo 4:9  I struck you with blight and mildew; the locust devoured your many gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees, yet you did not return to Me
  • Amo 4:10  I sent plagues like those of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I caused the stench of your camp to fill your nostrils, yet you did not return to Me
  • Amo 4:11  I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a burning stick snatched from a fire, yet you did not return to Me

God very plainly says, it was Me. I withheld bread. I withheld rain. I did it because I wanted you to see the folly of your ways, and return to me! Ultimately, I did it, because I love you!

This is what happens when we cheapen the character of God. We make him out to be a genie that is only interested in giving us what we want, and never demands respect and obedience from us. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge. His love runs deeper than we can understand.

When I read these passages, I think about how serious God is about redeeming his people. I see how far this Father will go to bring back his children. He’s not afraid to put you through temporary struggles in order to produce eternal fruit. God longs desperately for you to come to Him and leave the pigpen of slop you’ve been living in. This has been His goal since the beginning.

Do not skim over these verses and write them off as “Old Testament stuff.” We serve a God who will go to war with our stubborn flesh. Praise God He pursues us with everything!

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Your blog has been so great! Thank you! I lead an online Bible Study in which we have been reading through the Bible book by book. I include your link each day. I really appreciate reading both take aways on the chapter! They are very helpful. It is amazing to me how much of the Old Testament kings have so much to teach us about ourselves and our choices.