|Superintendent: Assistant Pastor Jerald L. Bryant
Sunday Morning: 10:30 - 11:30 am
|Christlike Ministries of Deliverance International, Inc.
Sunday School Department
|Lesson: Amos 5:14-15, 18-27;
Time of the Action: 762 B.C.;
Place of the action: Bethel
Aim for Change: By the end of the lesson, we will: KNOW how God establishes justice for the righteous and punishes deceivers; RECOGNIZE and REFLECT on actions of injustice within the community of faith; and IDENTIFY unjust
practices, commit to stop our participation in them, and help others do the same.
I. INTRODUCTION. Certain characteristics always identify societies that are ripe for judgment. They are spiritually apostate or indifferent. They are sexually immoral. They eat and drink excessively. They are violent. They love riches
and pleasure and they are filled with injustice because the powerful take what they want from the weak. Israel exhibited all these characteristics in Amos’s day. The true temple worship of the Lord had been replaced by the worship of golden
calves. Israel had adopted the ways of surrounding nations and had become the home of a materialistic, pleasure-loving, politically ambitious class who advanced themselves by oppressing the poor. This behavior had to be judged and the
nation punished. The Bible is clear --- God is all-seeing and all-knowing. Nothing will ever get by Him. But sadly, in spite of this fact, many people think they can fool God by their empty and hypocritical religious activity. When a person
worships God, the thing that the Lord looks at is that person’s heart. The prophets, especially Amos tell us that God is looking for a heart committed to justice and righteousness. In our lesson this week, we will learn from Amos what God is
looking for in our worship and that simple religious activity really does not fool God.
King James Version (KJV)
I. A GODLY LIFESTYLE (Amos 5:14-15)
14. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. 15. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be
gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
II. A FEARFUL TIME (Amos 5:18-20)
18. Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. 19. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a
serpent bit him. 20. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
III. A REJECTED WORSHIP (AMOS 5:21-24)
21. I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. 22. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts. 23. Take
thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols. 24. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
IV. A DESERVED RECOMPENCE (Amos 5:25-27)
25. Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26. But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves. 27.
Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts.
New International Version (NIV)
I. A GODLY LIFESTYLE (Amos 5:14-15)
14. Seek good, not evil that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
II. A FEARFUL TIME (Amos 5:18-20)
18. Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. 19. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his
hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. 20. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
III. A REJECTED WORSHIP (Amos 5:21-24)
21. “I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. 22. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for
them. 23. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. 24. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
IV. A DESERVED RECOMPENCE (Amos 5:25-27)
25. “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? 26. You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god—which you made for yourselves. 27. Therefore I will
send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is God Almighty.
II. BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON. The Lord called Amos to leave his native Judah and preach in the northern kingdom of Israel (see Amos 7:14-15) during the reign of Jeroboam II who was king of Israel from 793-753 B.C.
Jeroboam II expanded Israel’s boundaries and brought material prosperity to the nation (see II Kings 14:23-29). However, as God watched Israel, He was not pleased. Instead of justice, He saw injustice. The people ignored the laws and
let temporal lusts determine their life-style. Religion abounded in the land, but truly changed hearts were missing. The religious rituals offended God, who demanded exclusive loyalty. The people were oblivious to God and unaware of their
imminent danger from His wrath. The people only cared that their kingdom was secure and prosperous. Before he pronounced judgment on God’s people, Amos pronounced judgment upon the surrounding pagan or idolatrous nations such
as Syria (Damascus), Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab. These nations were punished for committing sins against God’s people (see Amos 1:3-2:3). Then he turned his attention to God’s people, Judah and Israel with his focus primarily
on the judgment of Israel, the northern kingdom in chapters 2-9. However, in chapter 5 from which our lesson comes, Amos continued to pronounce judgment upon Israel. In Amos 5:1-3, the prophet lamented or mourned over Israel as if the
nation had already died. Then in verses 4-9, Amos exhorted Israel to seek the Lord and live. In verses 10-13, the prophet reiterated previous indictments God had brought against Israel’s upper class including treading upon the poor, afflicting
the just and taking bribes for ruling against the poor in courts. This is where our lesson begins.
III. A GODLY LIFESTYLE (Amos 5:14-15)
A. What God expected Israel to seek (Amos 5:14).
In this verse, Amos speaking for God urged the people to “Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.” Although Amos had painted a picture of
oppression and injustice in Israel, the Lord had not abandoned the nation to its sins. God said “Seek good, and not evil.” The Lord was asking His people to reverse their natural inclination which was to seek evil instead of good. The
“good” they were to seek could only be found in God Himself (see Amos 5:4, 6). In order to “seek good” or strive to do good, the people had to seek the One in whom goodness resides (see Matthew 19:17). By turning to God in faith
and obedience, they would learn by experience what was truly good and receive divine strength to practice it. Note: A personal relationship with God is still the only way of knowing and doing what is good. Men will never
discover good as a quality or virtue in their fellowman because no human is good (see Romans 3:12). They will only find good in men as they are cleansed of evil by Jesus Christ, the One who showed the world the only
example of perfect goodness (see Acts 10:38; Ephesians 2:10). The prophet Micah explains what it means to seek the good when he said “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of
thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” The Lord gave two reasons why Israel was to seek good instead of evil. The first reason was so “that ye may live.” This included the promise of
individual survival, national well-being and spiritual life. Only as the Israelites turned to the Lord would their individual and national existence be spared and their souls rescued from eternal ruin. The second reason God gave for His people to
seek good instead of evil was “so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.” The Israelites had fooled themselves into believing that the Lord was with them to deliver them from their enemies regardless of their
spiritual condition (see Micah 3:11). But Amos, God’s prophet declared that only as they sought “good” would they enjoy the presence and deliverance of “the God of hosts (armies).” Otherwise their hopes were in vain. Note:
Unlike Judaism and Islam, people don’t become Christians simply because their parents or ancestors were Christians. Each person is saved by grace through their faith in Christ. Therefore, anyone today who thinks
they are safe from judgment because of godly lineage, heritage, or connections is like Israel, deceiving themselves. The only kind of relationship God honors is a direct spiritual one through faith in His Son (see Luke 3:8-
9; John 8:39-44; Galatians 3:7).
B. What God expected Israel to hate (Amos 5:15).
In this verse, the prophet continues to say “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” The prophet continued to tell
Israel to “Hate the evil, and love the good.” In the previous verse, Amos exhorted his listeners to “seek good” which is the opposite of “hate the evil.” To “seek good” means to “love the good” as well. God expected those living in sin
to experience a complete change in affection, or what they loved. What once attracted them---evil---should now repel them as they drew closer to God. While hatred is an intense dislike, love is a tender affection for something or someone.
Note: Too many people do good from a legalistic sense of obligation or a fear of the consequences of doing evil. The believer’s good deeds should flow naturally from a love for Christ planted within (see John14:15, 21,
23; Titus 2:14). Wholehearted devotion to doing good is often lacking in many believers because we don’t sufficiently hate the evil. If we neglect to study God’s Word, we will lose our hatred of evil, and good will no
longer stand out in contrast to evil. Love of good has social consequences. Amos stated that those who “love the good” also strive to see it practiced, and will “establish judgment in the gate.” The word “judgment” here means
justice. As the Israelites changed their affections from hating evil to loving good, this about-face would bring back the justice that was being constantly denied to the poor, widows, orphans, and strangers. The Lord wanted Israel to establish
true justice in their land instead of allowing the lawlessness and corruption of the leaders and court system that was so prevalent. Note: Old Testament Israel was to be a theocracy (a state or group that claims a deity as their ruler).
The nation’s laws were divinely given and reflected the righteous nature of the Giver, Jehovah. The laws included provisions for the unprotected of society and dealt harshly with their oppressors. The Israelites’
inhumanity toward the poor indicated a disregard for their own laws and disrespect for Him who gave them. Only a change of heart toward God could revive their sense of justice. If they demonstrated this change of heart,
there was the possibility, though a slight one, that the “Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” Israel’s sinfulness had come to the point of no return. If God should spare some of them described as “the remnant
of Joseph,” He would do so out of grace, not justice. Any that would be spared judgment by the Assyrians due to God’s grace would be “the remnant of Joseph” meaning a small number of survivors (see Isaiah 1:9). “Joseph” was
another way of saying Israel just as Jacob was (see Micah 2:12). Note: It is within God’s sovereign power to show grace and mercy to whomever He pleases (see Exodus 33:19; Romans 9:15). Amos indicated that if the
nation turned from hating evil to loving or doing good, it was possible that God might show grace and mercy on a small number of people allowing them to escape the upcoming judgment. An example of this happened
during Israel’s wilderness wanderings. After Israel worshipped a golden calf, Moses said unto the people, “Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the Lord; peradventure I shall make an atonement for
your sin” (see Exodus 32:30). Moses felt that if he interceded for Israel and her sins, maybe God would accept an atonement for them, and forgive their sins. This is always God’s prerogative. Thankfully the Lord did
have mercy on His people at that time, and it was possible that in Amos’ time God would do the same for His people again if they repented and turned back to Him.
IV. A FEARFUL TIME (Amos 5:18-20)
A. The day of the Lord (Amos 5:18-19).
1. (vs. 18). At this point Amos warned Israel saying “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.” The expression “day of the Lord” refers to that
period of time when God openly intervenes in the affairs of men in judgment and in blessing. Here it refers to the imminent destruction by the Assyrian army, as well as the future day of God’s judgment. Note: The phrase “day of the Lord”
refers to that period of time when the Lord openly intervenes in the affairs of men. It will begin with the rapture of the church (see I Corinthians 15:50-58; I Thessalonians 4:13-18). Since the prophets saw things from God’s viewpoint, they
discerned that visitations by God in their time were only foreshadows of an ultimate fulfillment. This is how Joel uses this phrase when speaking of the Assyrian invasion of Israel (see Joel 1:15; 2:1-11). The future “day of the Lord” will
include the coming tribulation (see Revelation chapters 6-19) and the reign of Christ on David’s throne (see Revelation chapter 20). It will be brought to an end by the judgment of the great white throne (see Revelation 20:11-15), the
destruction of the present earth and heaven by fire (see II Peter 3:10-11), and the ushering in of the new heavens and earth (see Isaiah 65:17-19; 66:22; II Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1). Those in Amos’ time understood the “day of the Lord”
as a time when Israel would be restored to military, political, and economic greatness similar to the times of David and Solomon. However, the people only looked forward to the blessings of that “day” but it would also include judgment.
However, Amos reminded them that this “day” or time of God’s intervention in the affairs of men, would also be a day of judgment for His people as he declared “Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! The word “woe” is used in
Scripture to express misfortune that’s expected to come upon someone or something (see Isaiah 3:9, 11; Jeremiah 10:19; Matthew 11:21; Luke 11:42-44; Mark 14:21). The people’s understanding of “the day of the Lord” was incomplete
so they were looking forward to that “day” or period of time without realizing that there had to be judgment before the blessings. They no doubt felt that since they were God’s chosen people they were favored by Him and would be delivered
from all their enemies when He came to judge the nations. Somehow they assumed that God would overlook their own sins because they were the chosen nation (see Exodus 19:5-6). Note: The Israelites were like many people today
who think that since they had godly ancestors, spiritual friends, an orthodox church, or a Christian nation they will be shielded from God’s wrath. They reason that with those connections, they will surely enjoy God’s
favor while others are judged. But such people deceive themselves. These people were calling for the “day of the Lord” thinking that it would bring an end to their troubles. But Amos asked “to what end is it for you?” In other
words, Amos was telling God’s people that they didn’t know what they were asking for. For the faithful, “the day of the Lord” will be glorious, but for the unfaithful, “the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.” It would be
“darkness, and not light” for unfaithful Israel, because Israel would be invaded by the Assyrian army within the next fifty years. “Light” here probably refers to happiness, cheer or prosperity. The only way the people could become eligible
to enjoy the Lord’s light was to repent and put away their evil practices.
2. (vs. 19). In this verse Amos continued to say “As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.” The people of the northern kingdom
were not aware of the seriousness of their situation. Therefore, Amos illustrated the difficulties that awaited them with a series of woes. First, he said the difficulties ahead were “As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him.” We
can imagine the distress of someone who having breathed a sigh of relief at escaping from a lion and suddenly has to face a bear. But Amos’s illustration goes further. He said this man “went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall,
and a serpent bit him.” This unfortunate man may somehow escape the bear, run into his house, close the door, and lean against the wall to catch his breath, only to have a serpent come out of the wall and bite him. Amos’s point is that
those who were ungodly will find no relief when the day of the Lord came. Instead they would find only the judgment hand of God sending great danger. Note: The New Testament teaching on the future day of the Lord is explicit.
That day will come when no one expects it “as a thief in the night” (see I Thessalonians 5:2; II Peter 3:10). For sure, sudden destruction will occur at the very moment men are speaking of “peace and safety,” and it will
be as inevitable as the birth of a child after labor pains have begun (see I Thessalonians 5:3). There will be no escape for those who have despised God’s warnings (see Romans 2:4-5).
B. The day of the Lord, a day of darkness (Amos 5:20).
In this verse, Amos asked “Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?" Amos repeated the warning from the previous verse indicating that the day of the Lord contained
nothing desirable for Israel. For the unfaithful in Israel, the day of the Lord would be “even very dark, and no brightness in it?” This adds emphasis to the illustration that Amos gave in verse 18 that if a person escaped one form of
judgment, he would immediately face another one. There would be no escape for anyone living an ungodly life. Note: The Israelites saw the Day of the Lord as their ultimate salvation. However, like the false security of the
person who thinks he has escaped the lion and the one who is falsely secure in his house, the faithless Israelites will find that the day of the Lord will be a time of judgment for them. It will be “even very dark” with not
one ray of light (see Zephaniah 1:14-15). It’s obvious that Amos’s message to Israel carried an immediate fulfillment in the coming Assyrian captivity as well as a future fulfillment still to come at the Lord’s return.
V. A REJECTED WORSHIP (Amos 5:21-24)
A. God’s disdain for feast days and offerings in religious practices (Amos 5:21-22).
1. (vs. 21). God, speaking through Amos in this verse said “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.” In the dark days in which Amos prophesied, there was still a great deal of religious
activity. The sacrifice of the offerings and the religious vocal and instrumental music was still going on. However, the people were just going through the motions of worship, but their hearts were not in it. It was all a sham! Therefore God said
“I hate, I despise your feast days.” The Lord absolutely abhorred their feast days, feasts that God Himself had commanded. The reference here is to the great annual gatherings of all Israel. Note: The people performed their religious
rituals before golden calves on the altars at Bethel and Dan. Such worship at those locations was never approved by God, who therefore considered their observances as sin. Since Jeroboam I had established calf
worship in the northern kingdom after the nation split, only one feast was held, a festival on the fifteenth day of the eighth month at Bethel. Jeroboam had introduced this feast as a substitute for the Feast of Tabernacles
in Jerusalem a month earlier (see I Kings 12:32-33). The Lord further declared “and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.” The “solemn assemblies” were gatherings for worship that accompanied the festivals (see Leviticus
23:35-36). The term “smell” refers to God’s satisfaction with the sacrifice that was presented to Him (see Leviticus 26:31). But in this case, God was not satisfied so He wouldn’t accept the offerings given at the most holy assemblies or
gatherings. The savory odors going upward were vile stenches in God’s nostrils, so He had to turn away in disgust.
2. (vs. 22). Amos continued to quote God saying “Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.” The Lord spelled out
the kinds of offerings that He would “not accept.” These included first, “burnt offerings”---those that involved the consuming of entire animals by fire. This offering was designed to make payment for a person’s sins in general, but also
showed a person’s complete devotion to God (see Leviticus 1:2-17). It’s not surprising then, that God rejected such offerings, for they came from a people who knew nothing of devotion or dedication. God also would “not accept” their
“meat offerings.” The Hebrew more accurately renders this as “meal offerings.” The ingredients consisted of grain, fine flour, or unleavened cakes, each being offered with oil, incense, and salt (see Leviticus 2:1-16). The “meat” or meal
offering most likely symbolized thankfulness for God’s blessings and dedication to Him for the best of His gifts. But God could not accept them from those who were disobedient and unthankful. God also said “neither will I regard the
peace offerings of your fat beasts.” The “peace offerings” were animal sacrifices presented on occasions of thanksgiving, making vows, or simply giving freewill offerings. The fat was burned on the altar and the breast and shoulder were
given to the priests. The rest of the animal was given to the worshipper (see Leviticus 7:11-34). But a holy God couldn’t accept such offerings from hypocrites. Israel was well aware of the principle that submissive obedience is better than
sacrifice (see I Samuel 15:22). Therefore, the Lord’s rejection of the sacrifices of these wicked people was in line with that principle. Note: God hates false worship in the form of religious rituals and gatherings by people who go
through the motions just for show. If we are living sinful lives and using religious ritual and traditions to make ourselves look good, God will despise our worship and will not accept what we offer. Today, our churches are
worth millions; our programs are well organized; and our talented musicians and gifted preachers conduct our stated meetings in fine order. Added to these is a steady flow of mail that comes to the desks of pastors and
Christian workers announcing all types of counseling and teaching aids. But we have to question if God is happy with what He sees. Could He be saying about our worship “I hate, I despise…I will not smell…I will not
accept…neither will I regard.” Although our churches have many followers, numbers alone don’t determine if a biblical ministry is being achieved. The true standard of judgment in the ministry of evangelism is the
transformation of lives.
B. God’s disdain for songs in religious practices (Amos 5:23).
In this verse Amos continued to say “Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” The Lord also refused to accept their “songs” of worship which were to Him only an irritating
“noise.” God could not honor hypocritical lips that sang of truths that were not in the heart. In addition, the Lord said “I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” In other words, neither could He listen to the instrumental music that
accompanied the singing. God is more interested in the condition of our hearts than He is in what we present to other people in worship. The “viols” were small harps also called a “psaltery.” David had used choirs and orchestras to praise
the Lord during holy gatherings (see I Chronicles 15:16; 25:1, 6-7). Note: The point of our text is that God Himself had ordained the sacrificial system for Israel and expected the nation to follow it. But He condemned the
misuse of the system. God never intended that external rites and rituals should be substituted for inner spiritual reality in order to win His favor. The fault was not in the forms of worship prescribed by God’s law, but in
the wrong attitudes of the worshippers (see Isaiah 1:11-18). God wants sincere hearts, not the songs of hypocrites. When you worship at church, are you more concerned about your image or your attitude toward God?
If we aren’t careful we will offer God worship teams and special music that may be nothing more than entertainment for the congregation. Leading in prayer can become self-promoting, and our giving may be done with
the intent to have God bless us with more, or to get a tax deduction. We must allow the Spirit of God to examine our hearts in the light of His Word. The starting point for all true worship must be “the sacrifices of…a
broken and a contrite heart” (see Psalms 51:17). Worship comes only after cleansing (see Psalms 51:2, 19).
C. God’s desire for justice (Amos 5:24).
God took no pleasure in sacrifices and songs from the unrighteous. Instead he said “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.” There are two possible interpretations of this verse. One view is
that “judgment” here is from God and brings righteous punishment on the land. Therefore the statement is taken as a prediction or threat of judgment. Since Israel’s worship had been rejected, only “judgment” lay ahead. However, a more
probable view is that God was here calling for a higher response from Israel. So “judgment” here is better translated as “justice.” The word “But” introduces a contrast to verse 23. Instead of the noise of empty songs, God called for
justice. The Lord wanted a spiritual revival that would release the full constant flow of social justice and “righteousness” or right living. In other words in this verse God was calling for a flood of “judgment” or justice, and “righteousness”
to wash down over His people. This was to take place both in their personal relationships and in the formal courts of the land. It was to affect all segments of society from the lowest of men to the highest. Note: When God spoke about
judgment running down as waters, He was begging His people to cleanse or wash their hands with righteousness so that their worship might be holy rather than hypocritical. Instead of watching the actions of those around
us during worship, we need to take a look at our own hands and heart. Are we guilty of hypocrisy? Are we descendents of the Pharisees? Do we just go through the motions, singing worship songs we don’t mean and
praying words from our heads instead of from our hearts? Have you ever noticed the sign in the restrooms of most businesses? It says “Employees must wash hands before returning to work.” Perhaps the following
sign should be placed on the doors of the church: “Members must wash hands before returning to worship.” How often have we gathered at the Lord’s table with filthy hands that reflect unclean hearts? God expects
His children to respond to Him in true, heartfelt worship. As for Israel, instead of feasts and fasts, instead of offerings and sacrifices, instead of singing and playing musical instruments, the Lord said he wanted justice
and righteousness. The Israelites were overflowing God with rivers of religiosity, but He wanted rivers of righteousness. Social justice and righteousness had been choked by the sins of the upper class resulting in the
oppression of the poor. That sounds a lot like our world today, doesn’t it? It’s true that if we allow justice and righteousness to become a lifestyle, flooding our lives, our faith will influence the surrounding society for
good (see James 2:15-17). Inner spiritual life, unless hindered by sin always displays itself socially. That was true not only in ancient Israel, but also in every spiritual awakening in the history of the church.
Governments have been reformed, poverty reduced, slaves freed, schools established, vices eliminated, missions expanded, and families strengthened.
VI. A DESERVED RECOMPENCE (Amos 5:25-27)
A. An indictment (Amos 5:25-26).
1. (vs. 25). Still speaking through Amos, in this verse God asked Israel “Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?” Of course the answer was yes. Things hadn’t changed
much in Israel since the day they had traveled the wilderness sands of Sinai. This question was a reminder that all the religious activity that took place in the wilderness had been offensive to God for many years.
2. (vs. 26). Then God said “But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.” Israel’s ancestors indeed had offered sacrifices and offerings in the
wilderness, but they also practiced idolatry during those forty years, worshipping the golden calf as well as the gods of other nations. Now God was telling His people that they were guilty of the same thing as their ancestors, following the
rituals of the Mosaic Law and worshipping idols. God indicted Israel for having “borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images.” In other words, they had lifted up, or worshipped the shrines of “Moloch and Chiun” as
their gods. “Moloch” was the fire god of the Ammonites, also called Molech (see I Kings 11:7). “Chiun” was believed to be the god representing Saturn. The Israelites had worshipped both of these pagan gods in the wilderness. The
phrase “the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves” refers to “Chiun” which Israel had made with their hands and made this image their god of the stars. In past days, Israel had turned to worshipping stars and planets, preferring
nature over the God of nature (see II Kings 23:4-5). Israel had picked up on all the pagan practices of the people around them. God had commanded them not to have any gods before Him, nor to make any graven images Exodus 20:1-4).
They had broken God’s first and second commandments time and again. The Lord had had enough!
B. A just punishment (Amos 5:27). In our final verse God says “Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts.” Israel had crossed the land of no return so
God declared that He would send them “into captivity beyond Damascus.” Some 41 years later, Israel, the northern kingdom would be invaded by the Assyrian army and carried off to Assyria which indeed was “beyond Damascus”
which was in Syria north of Israel. This punishment was inevitable because it was declared by “the Lord, whose name is The God of hosts.” In other words, Israel’s coming judgment would be followed through by Jehovah, the God of
armies. When this event occurred, Israel was taken from the land that had been promised to her and taken far away. Their pretending to worship God never fooled Him. When the time came to deal with His people for their sins, God moved
decisively, fulfilling His warning. Trust me, He will do the same to us.
Amos lived in a day like ours. Formalism and ritualism were accepted as substitutes for genuine worship. The people were indifferent toward God. They were guilty of compromise and idolatry, and they depended upon materialism and
military might for their security. True religion had almost completely disappeared from their national life. But God still continues to expect us to look to Him in true worship, and also to relate ourselves to others in terms of justice, mercy and
1. The fact that we have to seek good indicates that our natural instincts may not lead us to life in God’s presence (Amos 5:14; Romans 6:13).
2. God not only desires us to have proper attitudes toward good and evil, but to have conduct that corresponds to our attitude (Amos 5:15).
3. To presume that God will always have mercy is to guarantee sorrow in the Day of Judgment (Amos 5:18-20).
4. Because God looks on the hearts of those who bring their worship to Him, He recognizes every hypocritical practice and regards them as worthless (Amos 5:21-22; Isaiah 1:11-15).
5. Words of praise cannot offset a failure to show justice (Amos 5:23-24).
6. Those who refuse to honor God will inevitably fall into idolatry (Amos 5:25-26).
7. God’s kindness and patience toward us does not preclude judgment if we continue in sin (Amos 5:27).
|Sunday, June 21, 2015
God Is Not Fooled
Amos 5:14-15, 18-27
Golden Text: “But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).