INTRODUCTION TO AMOS CHAPTER 3
|Israel and Judah are urged to hear the word of the Lord. God tells them that he is not threatening them without a cause. That lions don’t roar without a prey. Trumpets don’t sound with a cause. That two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. The prophet tells them that God does not do anything without revealing his intentions beforehand. He tells the prophet to publish in the palaces from Ashdod to Egypt what he had planned to do about their violence. He lets them know that in the day he pays them a visit that they will be lucky to escape with a table leg or a blanket. God says “I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel;…I will smite the winter house and the summer house…” This visit will not be pleasant. Read the exposition for further details.|
EXPOSITION TO AMOS CHAPTER 3
1 Hear this word that the LORD hath spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying,
God is saying that everyone who is connected with the people brought up out of Egypt to listen. God is speaking to both Israel and Judah—all the people who had came out of Egypt.
2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
I have taken no other people to be my own people. I have approved of you, loved you, fed, sustained, and defended you; but because you have forsaken me, have become idolatrous and polluted, therefore will I punish you. And the punishment shall be in proportion to the privileges you have enjoyed, and the grace you have abused. (Clark)
3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?
At one time Israel walked with God and he walked with them but now they are alienated from him. They were unholy and God was holy. God can no longer hold communion with them because they are not willing to walk with God.
4 Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey? will a young lion cry out of his den, if he have taken nothing?
This is a rhetorical question…the answer is implied in the question. The roar of a lion often terrifies the creature so that it freezes in its tracks. In chapter one and verse two we learned that the Lord roars like a lion after its prey.
Young lions do not roar in their den but when the prey is in their sight they let out a roar that sometimes stops an animal in its tracks.
5 Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him? shall one take up a snare from the earth, and have taken nothing at all?
A bird cannot be caught in a snare if there is no bait set for him if there is nothing to lure the bird inside the snare and thus trip the trap and leave him snared inside the cage.
6 Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?
He is talking about a war trumpet not a trumpet sounded for feasts and holy days. If they persist in the evil in which they were engaged then God will bring evil upon them in the form of some punishment.
7 Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
Before the lord brings disaster he warns his people by his servants the Prophets. Let’s look at scripture first and then my comments will follow.
Joh 14:29 “And now I have told you before it comes to pass, that when it comes to pass, you may believe.
Joh 13:19 “From now on I am telling you before it comes to pass, so that when it does occur, you may believe that I am He.
God told Noah that he would bring the flood. Gen. 6:17
God told Abraham and Lot, that He would destroy Sodom and Gomorra.
God told Joseph about the 7 years’ famine in Egypt. Gen 41:27
God told Moses about the plagues. Ex. 9:14
God told Jonah about the destruction of Nineveh. Jonah 1-4
God told Amos what he would do to Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel. Amos 1,2,3.
God told the Apostles of the impending doom of unrepentant sinners. Matt.25
God told the Apostles of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. Matt. 24
God told the Apostle John of the rise of the Beast. Rev. 12
God told John of the seven vials of wrath to be poured out on the beast. Rev.16
God told John that he would take the 10 kingdoms from the Great Whore, that 7 hilled city that ruled over the world and reduce her dominion to 108 acres. Rev. 17
God told John how he would put the Dragon in the bottomless pit for a 1,000 years. Rev. 20
8 The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?
Moses was not excused, though slow of speech; nor Isaiah, though of polluted lips; nor Jeremiah, because he was a child; but God said:
Jer 1:7 But the LORD said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak.
Eze 2:8 “Now you, son of man, listen to what I am speaking to you; do not be rebellious like that rebellious house. Open your mouth and eat what I am giving you.”
Jer 20:9 But if I say, “I will not remember Him Or speak anymore in His name,” Then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; And I am weary of holding it in, And I cannot endure it.
When God like the roar of a lion issued his denunciations of divine wrath it was enough to make the people tremble. Amos has heard the roar of a lion as he took care of the herd and knew first hand how the roar had thrown the animals into a panic. From this picture we can see the fear that would have struck the heart of his hearers.
9 Publish in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the palaces in the land of Egypt, and say, Assemble yourselves upon the mountains of Samaria, and behold the great tumults in the midst thereof, and the oppressed in the midst thereof.
Even though they would announce it in the palaces of Ashdod and in the palaces of Egypt and upon the mountains of Samaria there was such a stockpile of evil and wrong doing of violence and brutality and people taking to the streets in protest for the oppression the prophet says their meetings and efforts to straighten things out will be futile.
10 For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.
They had stored up violence and condoned robbery even in the palace for so long that it was woven into their fabric. By now it was a way of life so the prophet uses the words “for they know not to do right.”
11 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled.
Now we are beginning to hear the “roar of the Lion” this is not the voice of the prophet but the word of the Lord GOD.
12 Thus saith the LORD; As the shepherd taketh out of the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear; so shall the children of Israel be taken out that dwell in Samaria in the corner of a bed, and in Damascus in a couch.
The prophet pictures a shepherd chasing after a lion that has carried off one of his prize animals and recovers only two legs and a piece of ear. From this analogy he tells Israel that they will be dragged from their beds in Samaria and removed from their living couch in Damascus.
13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts,
I suppose this refers to the prophet who will testify that this is not the mere word of some shepherd but the word of the Living GOD.
14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
God is going to pay them a visit and it’s not going to be a friendly visit. His reason for the visit is because their sins are stacked up all the way to heaven. His itinerary calls for a visit to the altars of Bethel and he is going to dehorn the altars and then smash them to the ground.
1Ki 13:1-5 Now behold, there came a man of God from Judah to Bethel by the word of the LORD, while Jeroboam was standing by the altar to burn incense.
2 And he cried against the altar by the word of the LORD, and said, “O altar, altar, thus says the LORD, ‘Behold, a son shall be born to the house of David, Josiah by name; and on you he shall sacrifice the priests of the high places who burn incense on you, and human bones shall be burned on you.'”
3 Then he gave a sign the same day, saying, “This is the sign which the LORD has spoken, ‘Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.'”
4 Now it came about when the king heard the saying of the man of God, which he cried against the altar in Bethel, that Jeroboam stretched out his hand from the altar, saying, “Seize him.” But his hand which he stretched out against him dried up, so that he could not draw it back to himself.
5 The altar also was split apart and the ashes were poured out from the altar, according to the sign which the man of God had given by the word of the LORD.
Hos 10:13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors,
14 Therefore, a tumult will arise among your people, And all your fortresses will be destroyed, As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, When mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15 Thus it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely cut off.
15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.
The prophet declares that God will have his army tear down their vacation homes and then their main residences and their luxurious houses will all be demolished. When the Assyrians finished with Samaria it was a heap of rubble and an ash pile.
According to the first verse, Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jeroboam II over the Israel (793-753). After the reign of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. The Northern 10 tribes were called Israel (nick-named Ephraim) and the Southern two tribes were called Judah. In the North the religious shrines had become centers of vice and by Amos’s day the people had become pagan at heart. The Dan and Bethel shrines were about calf worship and Idolatry. Into this situation God chose as his spokesman a simple shepherd and itinerant orchard worker who was an enthusiastic Jehovah worshiper. He was from the working class of people but he understood human nature. This Tekoan shepherd launches out in his prophecy like a boiling pot he takes on such issues as social injustice and economic issues. His messages touched people, politics and purses. This commentary will explore the messages of Amos about the various Nations.
HIGHLIGHTS OF AMOS
Amos was like a roaring lion. This true man of God takes on the establishment. Ritualism had supplanted religion. They sneered at the thought of a rugged country man pouring out his messages like muriatic acid on a concrete floor. His messages were plain and simple he likens their escape to a shepherd yanking back a leg or an ear from a lion’s mouth, or to a person escaping with only a table leg or a corner of a blanket. His messages were bad news. He portrays God as being sick and fed up with their brand of religion.
This inhuman act was prompted by the spirit of vengeance. The most outstanding men shall be removed. Centuries have looked down on Moab and not a descendant living and fifty or more of her cities lie in total ruins. The scene passes from Moab to Judah and Amos predicts the burning of her palaces and then turns to Judah’s unthankfulness.
Israel and Judah are urged to hear the word of the Lord. God tells them that he is not threatening them without a cause. That lions don’t roar without a prey. Trumpets don’t sound with a cause. That two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. The prophet tells them that God does not do anything without revealing his intentions beforehand. He tells the prophet to publish in the palaces from Ashdod to Egypt what he had planned to do about their violence. He lets them know that in the day he pays them a visit that they will be lucky to escape with a table leg or a blanket. God says “I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel;…I will smite the winter house and the summer house…” This visit will not be pleasant. Read the exposition for further details.
The women of Samaria had led their husbands around and now he tells them that they will be led away to captivity with fishhooks in their nose. God had withholden the rain, smitten them with blasting and mildew, gardens had failed trees and crops were ravished by the locust, their young men had perished. Deuteronomy 28 was being fulfilled before their very eyes and yet they could not see. The prophet urges them to prepare to meet their God. He’s coming down hard on them with the devastations mentioned in the text. Yes, it will not be a god that they carry around with them or wear around their neck. It will be the God who is the mountain shaper and the wind maker─he’s the one who brings everything out of nothing. This visit won’t be friendly and they will have no one to help them.
The prophet does not rejoice over the fact that God is going to destroy the nations around Israel and punish Israel with an exile into slavery. The nation will be greatly reduced by ninety percent because they had turned judgment into wormwood. They are urged to seek the maker of the Atoms and the Angels and not the golden calves of Bethel. Amos has a word for the rulers who are bribed and the fraudulent dealers. Again, he speaks of a remnant and of wailing and lamentations when he passes thru with his judgment. He hates their sacrificial feasts where there is no piety. He wants an ocean of justice and a river of fairness. But, because of their stubbornness he will cause them to go beyond Damascus to a real hell hole to spend their days and none of that generation will return.
They were still living in denial and laying on beds of ivory and living it up with excessive drinking and made no connection with the people. They “just hadn’t gotten it.” It’s getting worse─ten men in one house and all are dead and a relative comes for the burial. The last verse of the chapter says it all and here it is summarized: I will rise up a nation against you (Syria) and they will make hash of you from the extreme north to the extreme south.
The seventh chapter consists of two parts. First A vision of grasshoppers or young locusts, which devour the grass, but are removed at Amos’ entreaty; second by Fire drying up creeks and springs, and withering part of the land, but removed at Amos’ entreaty; and third by a plumb-line to mark the buildings for destruction. Secondly by Amaziah demanding that Amos go back to Judah with his preaching. In Consequence of the foregoing prophecies, Amos tells the priest Amaziah that his wife will become the town whore and that his children will all be killed and that he will face deportation and receives a life sentence in a heathen prison.
A bowl of summer fruit─the season is over─the end has come upon my people Israel. The dancing and singing will be silenced. The land is going to tremble─worse than after a flood. Their pot-lucks are turned into funerals and their country music into sob songs. They are pictured living in a foreign land with the pagans ruling over them and a few can remember the old time prophets and they long to hear the word “just one more time.” “I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread or water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”
Too little─too late. God is pictured as standing on the altar in the courtyard of the idol temple and he is going to bring it down with a crash. People will try and hide but he who has the keys of Hell and Death will find them and justice is on the way. It is as sure as the rising of a mighty flood. The prophet declares that the “eyes of the LORD is upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth;” The house of David will again rule—the Messiah Jesus has fulfilled this prophecy.