Saddened by God’s impending judgment on Israel, Amos lamented over the nation that once held so much promise, but had become devoted to the routines of worship, rather than to God. Amos entreated them to once again seek God and seek good rather than evil. Similarly, Alistair Begg entreats us to avoid the delusion of a religion that leaves the lives of the people unchanged and devote ourselves to trusting and obeying God.
1Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:
2“Fallen, no more to rise,
is the virgin Israel;
forsaken on her land,
with none to raise her up.”
3For thus says the Lord God:
“The city that went out a thousand
shall have a hundred left,
and that which went out a hundred
shall have ten left
to the house of Israel.”
4For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel:
“Seek me and live;
5but do not seek Bethel,
and do not enter into Gilgal
or cross over to Beersheba;
for Gilgal shall surely go into exile,
and Bethel shall come to nothing.”
6Seek the Lord and live,
lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph,
and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
7O you who turn justice to wormwood1
and cast down righteousness to the earth!
8He who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name;
9who makes destruction flash forth against the strong,
so that destruction comes upon the fortress.
10They hate him who reproves in the gate,
and they abhor him who speaks the truth.
11Therefore because you trample on2 the poor
and you exact taxes of grain from him,
you have built houses of hewn stone,
but you shall not dwell in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards,
but you shall not drink their wine.
12For I know how many are your transgressions
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe,
and turn aside the needy in the gate.
13Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time,
for it is an evil time.
14Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you,
as you have said.
15Hate evil, and love good,
and establish justice in the gate;
it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts,
will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
16Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord:
“In all the squares there shall be wailing,
and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’
They shall call the farmers to mourning
and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation,
17and in all vineyards there shall be wailing,
for I will pass through your midst,”
says the Lord.
Amos was not a learned man, but a shepherd from a small town. He was not an innovator; he simply reminded people of facts they already knew. The only remarkable thing about Amos was how unremarkable he was. It was a time of prosperity, corruption, and compromise. God’s people played at religion and toyed with sin. God used Amos to remind His people that religious profession was meaningless unless accompanied by obedience, holiness, and wholehearted worship. He warned them that while God was merciful, He was running out of patience.
In this series, Alistair Begg explains why the prophetic words of Amos remain relevant to today’s Church, which often focuses on religious experiences while denying the truths of biblical doctrine and reduces biblical imperatives to personal options. Like Amos, Alistair urges us to align our worship and lifestyles with the truth of Scripture and renew our relationship with God today, knowing that His judgment is imminent.
|Amos, An Introduction||Amos 1:1|
|This is What the Lord Says, Part One||Amos 1:3-16|
|This is What the Lord Says, Part Two||Amos 2:4-16|
|The Lion Has Roared||Amos 3:1-8|
|Divine Alienation||Amos 3:9-15|
|The Point of No Return||Amos 4:1-13|
|A Funeral Song||Amos 5:1-17|
|The Day of the Lord||Amos 5:18-27|
|The Curse of Complacency||Amos 6:1-14|
|The Sovereign Lord||Amos 7:1-9|
|The Making of a Man of God||Amos 7:10-17|
|Dark Days and Shaved Heads||Amos 8:1-14|
|The Dawn of a New Day||Amos 9:1-15|