Tag Archives: Amos

Rejected by God

6 Aug

What does rejection from God look like? We are told it is hell, that it is the worst thing ever but what is that like? Is there any way we can picture God’s rejection.

In Amos 5:1-3, Amos gives us a haunting account of Israel’s fate under God’s wrath. In it we get a clearer picture of the wrath of God and what rejection from him truly means.

Continue reading

Why is There Suffering?

17 Jun

What are you suffering?

In Amos 4:6-13 we see the many disasters Israel went through. Famine, drought, plagues and wars tore the land apart.

The same is true today. From hurricanes to divorces, wars to unemployment. Individually, nationally and even globally suffering is an ever-present evil.

But why?

Suffering for Israel

Israel had no right to ask that question. They had been told clearly in Deuteronomy 28 disasters would come as punishment for their sin.

The presence of these disasters should have had them running back to God. Yet in spite of all these trials, they did not repent.

Suffering for Us

Suffering reminds us of the effects of sin. Every stillbirth, drought and family feud reminds us there is something not quite right. They show us we are far away from God’s intended plan for our world.

They show us we need to repent.

Israel didn’t listen to the warnings. Will you? Will you let suffering pass you? Or will you cling to Christ and be freed from the world of sin we are in?

There is suffering so that you will repent. Don’t waste this opportunity for salvation.

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post sign up by email or RSS Feed

(Picture by kaschmirkaschmir under the Creative Commons Licence)

Are You a Hypocrite?

29 May

WorshipAn elder, Sunday School leader and generous giver; Dave is the model Christian. Except for one thing.

He isn’t one.

Despite all these good deeds, Dave doesn’t know Jesus at all. Could this be you?

In Amos 4:4-5, God attacks sin at Bethel and Gilgal (the religious centres). In this, we see common sins of hypocrites to test ourselves against. Do these sins describe you?

Hypocrites go over the top

They bring tithes every three days, well beyond the requirement. Are you one of those people who has to say the longest prayers and know the most theology?

Hypocrites disobey

Though it should be unleavened (Lev 7:12), the Samaritans offered a leavened offering. This small failing ruined the sacrifice.

For Christians, thanksgiving offerings are living God’s way (Heb 13:15-16).  Paul told the Corinthians, their leaven was malice and evil (1 Cor 5:6-8). Think of some “good deeds” you did. Were they tainted by evil motivation?

Hypocrites are proud

They proclaimed their freewill offering, wanting everyone to know of their good deed.

When you do good in private, do you instantly feel the need to tell someone?

Defeating Hypocrisy

Unfortunately there’s a little hypocrite in every Christian. What can we do?

  1. Confess sin: Come to Jesus the sacrifice whose death erases our sin (1 John 2:1-2).
  2. Look to Christ: Self-made rules are no help. If we fix our eyes on Jesus, we’ll want to put sin to death (Col 2:20-3:5).

What hypocrisy is evident in your life? How are you dealing with it?

Feed IconIf you’ve enjoyed reading this post sign up by email or RSS Feed

(Picture “worship” by Vicki Wolkins under the Creative Commons Licence)

Equal Rights in the Minor Prophets

27 May

FemaleIn Amos 4:1-3 we come to meet Samaria’s rich women, “the cows of Bashan”. Some think women are overlooked in the Bible, but that’s not the case. In the Bible, both women and men have the right to be convicted of their sin.

Let’s see what word Amos has for the rich women of Samaria and how it applies today.

The Samaritan Women’s Sin

By using the word cow Amos is saying these rich wives are well fed and cared for.

They are criticised for two things. Firstly, oppressing the poor for their own physical comfort. These women laid back and lived the life of luxury at others expenses.

Ouch! How much does that speak of we westerners. We buy tonnes of useless toys but never buy ethically or give as part of our money to the poor.

Moreover, these women are pressurising their husbands to fund their luxurious lifestyle. Most women don’t realise the great influence they wield with their husband. He wants to do what’s good for her, yet this can easily lead him astray. The same can be true in any relationship, it’s very easy for all of us to influence others in wrong ways.

We all deserve their punishment

Have you fallen into the same sins as the Samritan women? They aren’t huge sins if you compare them to Amos 1:13. Yet God cannot stand sin and he will judge us all, male and female, for all our sins, big or small. If God counts these small sins against these women how much sin must be piled up for you.

Yet there is good news. On the cross Jesus took the punishment for all who trust in him, whether women or men. All our sins, big or small were brought to nothing on the cross.

Let’s stop being opressors and evil-influencers like the cows of Bashan. Yet most of all lets praise Jesus for the fact that all our sins are taken away.

Feed IconIf you’ve enjoyed reading this post sign up by email or RSS Feed

What Every Non-Christian Must Know (Amos 3:11-15)

25 May

Are you worshipping a god other than the God of the Bible? So did the Israelites. In Amos 3:11-15 God tells them what the result of that decision is:

God will destroy

God constantly says “I will” (v13-14). He will punish you. You can’t run from him, you can’t withstand his power, you can’t defeat him. Choose to go against him and your destined to defeat.

God will destroy your strongholds

The Israelites felt strong in their land and defences, and God destroyed these things (v11). Modern people rest in the security of their home, wealth and job. Yet we all know these can disappear far too easily and they will definitely disappear on the day of judgement.

God will destroy all you love

Yahweh destroyed what the Israelites loved. He destroyed their places of worship (v14) and he destroyed their material possessions (v13, 15). All you enjoy on Earth is destined for destruction, your false gods and all your possessions.

God will accept Jesus in your place

How can you escape this fate? Trust in Jesus.

Jesus was punished on a cross in place of all who trust in him. If you trust him your punishment will fall on him. He offers freedom from punishment for nothing. Not only that, he gives you eternal perfect life with him. What a deal!

Trust in your gods and everything you love will be destroyed.

Trust in Jesus and everything you need will be yours.

It’s got to be the easiest decision you’ve ever made.

Feed IconIf you’d like to know more about Christianity sign up by email or RSS Feed

Amos 3:9-10 – Living and Repenting for God’s Glory

23 May

Repentance is EssentialA few days ago we considered God’s Passion for His Glory. Now lets consider some applications of this passage.

Seek God’s Glory

If you aren’t a Christian you should be extremely interested in the Glory of God. God saw it worthy to send his own people into exile so that everyone may see him clearly. Mustn’t he be worth seeing?

Join us on this blog as we look at Christ’s glories. Get a Bible. Talk to a Christian friend. See the God whose very nature is worth that price.

Live for God’s Glory

If you’re a Christian God sees good conduct as essential to his people’s witness. We must live lives that proclaim him faithfully.

Consider your actions around unbelievers. When you laugh at that joke, talk about that friend, tell that little lie are you really showing the people around you what a great God you have?

Repent for God’s Glory

It is essential that non-Christians not only know when you get it right but also when you get it wrong.

God felt it necessary to proclaim widely the sins of his people we should too. When we get it wrong we must confess. Our sins could be doing God a great injustice.

Revelation of God’s Glory

However, we also must remember this: Christ is the true Israel. He shows the glory of the Father better than any other. He never had to repent of sin. Let’s thank God he gave us such clariy in Christ.

(Picture by prakhar under the Creative Commons Licence)

Amos 3:9-10 God’s Passion For His Glory

20 May

Glory Revealed 1 - 30D_Cloudburst_1A Terrible Irony

Israel should’ve revealed God to the nations. Unfortunately, they became ones to look down on:

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.”

Amos 3:8-9

God’s Passion for His Glory

Why does God hold up his special people for derision. Doesn’t he love them?

God is passionate that people know who he is. These people acting sinfully does not show who he is so he must proclaim their evil clearly that all may understand.

A Vain God?

Isn’t this vainity? No. God is the only one who actually deserves praise. Any good we have is from him. The conscience, commands, hands, air and existence we need to do good all come back from him, so he alone deserves praise.

If someone is bad-mouthing someone who deserves honour it is our instant reaction to butt in “That’s not fair. Jan is an excellent member of the team, it’s her department that let her down”.

In the same way God deserves praise and if he is being bad-mouthed he must be vindicated. So God vindicates himself here, so the nations know truly how great he is.

I’ll give some applications for non-Christians and Christians in a future post. For now just remember the God alone is worthy of praise and consider how that affects your relationship with him.

(Picture by Daniel Y. Go under the Creative Commons Licence)

Amos 3:1-8 God Punishes His People

6 Apr

Scales of justiceYahweh makes clear he punishes his people. No special treatment. Amos’ second sermon splits into two sections: God Punishes His People (3:1-8) and The Punishment is Violent (3:9-15) which we’ll cover in a later post.

God Punishes His People (3:1-8)

In verse 2 that it is precisely because God knows his people that he punishes them for their iniquities. There is a responsibility that comes with being God’s people, and God will punish those who don’t live up to what he expects.

Some argue God doesn’t do this, but just as surely as all the things in v3-6 are true so it is sure that disaster doesn’t come unless God allows it. We know this because God has said so through his prophets. What should our response be? Godly fear (v8).

Is this a difficult message to tell? Yes, but we must still preach it. “The Lord God has spoken who can but prophesy?”

Application for Christians

  1. Praise Jesus, because though guilty as the Israelites, we don’t face her fate.

  2. We must live in a way that befits our close walk with God.

  3. God is behind all that happens, even if it seems to be disaster for us.

  4. We can’t stop telling a message because it is difficult. Like Amos, we must preach.

Application for non-Christians

  1. God is so powerful, every disaster can only happen by his permission. Do you wish to fall into his hands?

  2. Though you are privileged to hear God’s message, nothing can come of this unless you obey what God has written. Repent and believe the Good News.

Other information that may be helpful:

  • Known means known personally, have an intimate relationship.

  • LORD or GOD, whenever written in small caps, mean Yahweh (the name of the God of the Bible).

Amos 1-2: God Judges Everyone…Including You!

27 Mar

LionIn the first two chapters (his first sermon) Amos pictures God as a roaring lion, a holy judge moving against the unrighteousness of the nations . Many people in our society, Christian and non-Christian, would cheer as he condemns the war-mongers, baby-killers and poor-abusers. But the point of the passage is this: all of us deserve God’s punishment. We all have skeletons in the closet and we desperately need someone to save us. (click “Read the rest of this entry” for a longer exegesis). Continue reading

Amos: Overview

25 Mar

Yesterday I finished reading the book of Amos in my quiet times. Since few people have a knowledge of this book I’ll post a summary of the main sections of the book over the coming days, including application points for both Christians and non-Christians. If you haven’t got a Bible read or listen to Amos here. I hope it’ll be useful.

Amos divides into three parts:

  1. 5 sermons (Chapters 1-6)
  2. 5 visions, with a brief argument with a priest (7-9:10)
  3. Yahweh‘s promise to restore Israel (9:11-15)

Amos’ prophecies seem to have been in the Northern Kingdom known as Israel or Samaria (cf. Amos 7:12-13).

The main theme of the book is that Yahweh judges whether his people seek him. If they do not horrific judgement is inevitable. This means three things:

  1. God will judge the things non-Christians do with justice, punishing them where punishment is deserved.
  2. God has no favourites and judges his people with justice as well.
  3. Jesus deserves praise because he bore the punishment illustrated in this book, the punishment we deserved.

(Illustration by Blair Israel, Amos 7:8 in The Flaming Fire Illustrated Bible. Visit the site for free Biblical Illustrations)

%d bloggers like this: