Today’s Reading: Amos 1-6:14
I have to say I am a bit giddy these days. We have had readings from two minor prophets in a row. Yesterday we read Jonah and today we started with the first six chapters of Amos. Why am I giddy?
Reason 1: the value of reading a historical chronological course through the Bible is starting to pay off for me. Having read for the last ten days the miserable history of Israel in the north and Judah in the south was getting overwhelming. When was God going to do something about their constant dabbling in pagan religions? (see But they did what was evil in the Lord’s sight for more insight). Seeing how God responds through the sending of prophets, well prophets that are recorded for us that is, to read is interesting to me. I understand better who the other nations are and why the prophecies were coming. Israel and Judah deserved what they are about to get, they abandoned the one true God. Note in the following passage how it could apply to you and I if we aren’t careful…
Amos 5:21 – 24 (NLT)
21 “I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
22 I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
23 Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.
Reason 2: I read in Amos how the concept of a one true God over all peoples is developing. I am not saying that He was never the God of everything, I am saying that the prophets are supporting this idea with prophecies that extend to other nations. Up until now the prophecies and judgments have principally been against the Hebrews and their enemies. I felt like things said against other nations were intertwined with that countries direct connection to the Jews. I believe that here, in the prophecy of Amos we see how God’s intervention in other nations is better recorded.
Other nations mentioned in Amos:
Amos 9:7 (NLT) from 22 June reading
7 “Are you Israelites more important to me
than the Ethiopians?[j]” asks the Lord.
“I brought Israel out of Egypt,
but I also brought the Philistines from Crete[k]
and led the Arameans out of Kir.
Amos reinforces the idea of a God of all creation in these verses:
Amos 4:13 (NLT)
13 For the Lord is the one who shaped the mountains,
stirs up the winds, and reveals his thoughts to mankind.
He turns the light of dawn into darkness
and treads on the heights of the earth.
The Lord God of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
Amos 5:8 (NLT)
8 It is the Lord who created the stars,
the Pleiades and Orion.
He turns darkness into morning
and day into night.
He draws up water from the oceans
and pours it down as rain on the land.
The Lord is his name!
Reason 3: the stage is being set for a significant moment in the history of the nation of Israel. The first prophecies about the coming exile and ultimate destruction of Israel is being set right here in Amos. The times are about to change for Israel and Amos is there to tell them about it.
Amos 6:8, 14 (NLT)
8 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his own name, and this is what he, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says:
“I despise the arrogance of Israel,
and I hate their fortresses.
I will give this city
and everything in it to their enemies.”
14 “O people of Israel, I am about to bring an enemy nation against you,”
says the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
“They will oppress you throughout your land—
from Lebo-hamath in the north
to the Arabah Valley in the south.”
History is unfolding before our eyes as we read. The true judgment of God is coming. He is Righteous, Holy and Just and the miserable nations of Israel and Judah are on the doorstep of God’s judgment. You and I are reading their history, we know what came before and we know what it still to come. Can you tell I am giddy? Are you?