Four Chapters Done!
12“Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!
We’ve been walking together for the last 2 weeks through the first four chapters of Amos. If you are like me, you maybe haven’t studied Amos as closely as some of the more “popular” book of the Bible. But even its obscurity, it has words of admonishment, compassion, love for us all. Today we are going to finish chapter four, looking at some of the details we find as God continues to warn the people of impending disaster if they don’t repent and return to Him. If you want to look at the chapter again, you'll need your Bible or you can go back to the last post.
As we noted earlier in the week, God was not interested in the worship life that they had developed for themselves. It was filled with a mixture of pagan worship and a twisting of the ways of worship they had been taught. Because the people were secure in themselves and their power, and because they were fairly wealthy, they were meeting with God on their terms, not His, and trying to pay God off with their wealth. What an irony – He had given them that wealth in the first place and now they were trying to buy His love with it! It is always easier to give your money than your heart. While they were giving more than a tithe of their money, they were withholding mercy, justice, and love for others. This does not win the heart of God.
In Amos 4:5, the prophet talks about them bringing leavened bread as an offering and then bragging about it! Leavened bread was never an appropriate offering to bring the Lord. And bragging about your good deeds turns them into nothing before God. The praises of man is all the recognition they were going to get.
In 4:6, God declares that their teeth will be “clean.” While this may delight the dentist, what it means is that there will be no food to eat. Judgment is coming. While the withholding of rain (4:7) seems harsh, it is meant to get their attention, not to punish. God continues to withhold His full wrath in hopes of restoration with His people.
And finally, in 4:11, God holds out the hope that the situation can still be redeemed. The branch plucked from the fire before it has been consumed is saved. They can still be that branch. Even in the midst of judgment, God holds out the promise that He is there to save us if we only allow it. When your situation seems desperate, it is always time to turn to the Lord. A better time to turn to Him is when all is well.