Book of Amos
Chapter 3, Part 6
“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, You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (Amos 3:1, 2). In chapter two, Amos announced the judgment of God would fall on Israel. In chapter three and the next three chapters, we will see why God’s judgment would come on them. Chapter 3-5 begin with, “Hear this word.” In 5:18 and 6:1 Amos says, “Woe to you.”
Walvoord and Zuck’s commentary says, “Each message describes in more detail the religious, legal, political, and social rebellion which had brought God’s wrath against the nation.” Amos includes pleas for repentance from the people as a way to avoid the harsh judgment.
Let’s understand this; God chose Israel for His people and nation. He made a covenant with them that was as sacred as marriage vows between a man and woman. Israel became a harlot and lusted after all that was written against in God’s Word. She ran after false gods and worshipped idols made with hands, used false scales and did not make sacrifices to God. She broke God’s most basic rule, treat others as you want to be treated. Israel would be judged more harshly because of her unique relationship with God. She is the called out nation with the blessed people, the nation who knew God’s name and were called by His name (Isaiah 43:1) and she thumbed her nose at God. We saw Amos prophesy against both Israel and Judah in chapter 2, but now God has targeted Israel because of her oppressive treatment of His people, their own family.
Amos was careful to use the name of God so the people would know this prophecy was not of man, not from a shepherd, but from this Father from whom they had turned. It’s as though God were saying, “Listen up, you little heathen Jews, this is your last chance. Repent now, seek my face, follow Me and I’ll forgive your sins and take you back into fellowship with Me. If you don’t repent, I’ll fix your little wagon.” But they ignored the offer, choosing, rather, to continue in their wicked ways.
God spoke not against the individual, but “against the whole family.” When they came out of Egypt, it was as one family, the family of God. He led them and guided them to the place where He wanted them to live. They would have arrived in the Promised Land in 11-14 days, depending which commentator you read. Instead it took them 40 years to cross the borders. Why? It was because of their rebellion, their lack of faith in the Father who had so recently delivered them from the hands of Pharaoh. Did they draw closer to the Lord in those 40 years of wilderness trekking? NO! They whined and complained about no water, no onions and garlic, no meat, and about having to eat the manna every day. “And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger” (Exodus 16:3). “We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic” (Numbers 11:5). “But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, "Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?" (Exodus 17:3) Remember, they were in the wilderness because of their lack of faith. How much faith does this fussing demonstrate to God? Not very much faith, I’d say.
How much of God’s ear do you suppose we capture with our whining? We go astray from the Lord and when things turn sour, we come back and either blame God or whine in His face. “Why did You let the happen, God? Wah, wah, wah!!!” The answer is, God won’t step on our will any more than He did Israel’s, but He also won’t allow us to continue on our path of self-destruction. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth (disciplines), and scourgeth (flog, figuratively) every son whom he receiveth” (Hebrews 12:6). In other words, God disciplines and punishes His children to bring them in line, just as we do our own children. But, “Blessed is the man whom God corrects” (Job 5:17).
God, in the dessert, confirmed His great love for Israel by giving them what they whined about. The sky became filled with quails that fell to the ground where the people could prepare and eat. They ate quail for breakfast, lunch and dinner, perhaps even their midnight snack, and they got sick of it. “Ye shall not eat one day, nor two days, nor five days, neither ten days, nor twenty days; But even a whole month, until it come out at your nostrils, and it be loathsome unto you: because that ye have despised the LORD which is among you, and have wept before him, saying, Why came we forth out of Egypt?” (Numbers 11:19, 20) God had Moses strike a rock to bring forth the water they whined about (Exodus 17:6), and they drank till they were quenched. “He split the rocks in the desert and gave them water as abundant as the seas” (Psalm 78:15), yet they still remained ungrateful.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Verse 3) God made an appointment with Israel. It wasn’t like a doctor’s appointment where you go and see the doctor then leave till the next appointed time. This was a standing, lifetime appointment that God made with Israel. He made holy days as appointments for them. He made the hours of sacrifice as appointments with them. He made their time in praise, worship and prayer an appointed time when He would meet with them. God made every minute of Israel’s time an appointed time when He would meet with them, but they chose not to walk with God. They chose not to keep their appointments. They chose to walk away from God. He didn’t forsake them, they turned from Him.
Now look at this again. God, through Amos, asked the people “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Verse 3) In other words, can God and Israel remain in relationship (keep their appointments) when Israel is in adultery and God is faithful? No, they cannot. In the New Testament, Jesus gave adultery as the only permissible defense for divorce (Matthew 5:32). Israel was committing adultery with false gods. The people were bowing down in worship, but not to the Father who had freed them from bondage. God has the perfect right to divorce Israel and marry Himself to a different nation. He won’t do that. He loves Israel. He will correct and punish her until the day she turns back to God, and she will. God has always had a remnant of the Jews to go on with. He always will.
Verses 4-6 contain rhetorical questions in couplet form.
“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?” (Verse 4) When a lion finds his prey, he roars loudly and frightens every beast around him. His eye is focused on the one meal he will take down. If he doesn’t find a prey that day, he is silent. The baby lions in the dens will grunt and make noises of satisfaction if its mother brings home a meal. If not, he might whimper in hunger instead. God was roaring and Israel was ignoring.
“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?” (Verse 5) “No gin” is no bait in the trap. A bird won’t be tempted to fly into an empty trap. A trap won’t set off unless a bird lands in it.
“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?” (Verse 6) In the times of Amos, danger was announced by the blowing of the trumpet, or shofar. The watchmen on the wall would sound an alarm when the enemy approached. When that trumpet was sounded, people trembled with fear as the prepared for the battle to come.
As we read this verse today, thousands of years after it was fulfilled for Israel, we must pay attention, God is warning us to listen. The trumpet is sounding. Israel heard the trumpet voice of God that came through the prophets, but chose to ignore it and silence the prophets as they remained in defiance. This country and other nations of the world are not paying attention to God’s warning. Israel was punished for not loving God and for treating her own people so badly. The nations are and will be punished for not loving Israel and supporting her. Please know that when God tells us something in Scripture, it’s a command and it’s for our own benefit. And God tells us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6).
“Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets” (verse 7). “Surely” certainly, absolutely, undoubtedly, you can believe with confidence, Israel, “God will do.” But He would not do in secret the judgment to come. They needed to know what was coming and that they were facing their last chance. God sent Amos to spread the word. God was angry and would not take much more of their belligerence. The message: “Repent, turn from your evil ways, and return to me, ‘And I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people’” (Leviticus 26:12).
Amos was one in a long line of prophets that God has used to warn Israel and those who would harm her of the coming wrath. In Genesis 6, God called Noah, told him to build an ark, and told him that “all flesh” on earth would die. God walked with Abraham and told him of the destruction about to befall Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham bargained with God for the righteous people in those cities and the surrounding towns. The only righteous ones they could find was Lot and his family. God gave them time to get Lot and family out of Sodom before His wrath fell as brimstone and fire (Genesis 18-21). God told Moses often of His anger and plans to destroy Israel for their lack of faith. Moses spent many hours on his face before God praying to avert His judgment. There was Deborah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Ezekiel, Malachi, Joel, Anna, John the Baptist, and so on who would be used to issue God’s warnings.
There are prophets now who are warning that if this country doesn’t smarten up, she will face God’s wrath. So far, those in leadership are ignoring the warnings. We must pray for the government of the USA and Israel to get a glimpse of the light God is casting on us. He won’t be mocked much longer. “Mocked,” in this sense, means to snub the nose. That’s what our political and much of our spiritual leadership is doing, snubbing their noses at God. May God’s prophets be faithful and true to continue the message until God says, “Enough!”
Book of Amos
Chapter 3, Part 7
I want to go back to Amos 3:7. In the interest of time, last week, I barely hit on the meat of this verse. I want you to understand it. This is a verse that is being used to tell us that some prophets already know the “day and hour of the coming of the Son of Man.” Hundreds have already been proven wrong, and here’s why. The Book of Matthew makes it clear that they cannot know. Jesus said, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matthew 24:36).
We know that God holds secrets that will be revealed in the future. “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law” (Deuteronomy 29:29. You see it? Only “those things” which God chooses to reveal to us become ours. Those things are revealed only at God’s discretion. He told Noah to build and ark. He told Him that the earth would be flooded and all people and animal flesh would be destroyed. But He did NOT reveal to him when that would happen until the day and hour of the fulfillment when he told Noah to gather clean and unclean animals and to gather his family into the ark. He had 7 days to get everything done. That was about 100 years after God spoke with him. Then God Himself “shut him in” and the flood waters came. (Genesis 7)
When God called Abram to tell him that his wife Sarai’s dead womb would be given new life and they would become the father and mother of a great nation, God did not tell him what night, day, hour, month or year this would happen. And it did not happen for another 25 years, when both were beyond hope of ever conceiving a child. It seems that God is the God of last minute revelations. Just when we are ready to throw up our hands, God does.
When Mary and Martha sent servants to fetch Jesus back to Bethany because their brother Lazarus was “sick unto death” He did not immediately come. Rather, Jesus said, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby” (John 11). Jesus knew Lazarus would die, but He also knew that God would be glorified by his resurrection from the dead. It’s the same principle in the other two accounts. When God shows up, He is glorified.
Right now God is gathering in the harvest. If the people knew what day and hour Jesus is coming, they would continue in the sinful selfish lifestyles until the very hour of His appearing. Not knowing when He is coming is a motivator. When we prophesy the gospel to the people about what Jesus did and what He will do and about the wrath of God that will come upon this earth, people want Jesus to save them. They repent of their sin and turn to the Lord for salvation. That’s how the system was set up. God wants our true hearts. Yes, there is such a thing as death bed salvations, but those don’t really glorify God because the person had no time to grow and become Christ-like, and no one had opportunity to see how God worked changes in the person’s life. Praise God this is possible, however, or many more would be lost.
Some commentators and Bible teachers would have you believe there is no such thing as a “rapture of the church.” Don’t believe it. Their premise is that the doctrine of rapture was not taught until the 1800’s. This is absolutely untrue. Daniel taught the rapture in his prophecy. “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:2, 3). I Thessalonians 4:13-18 describes the rapture for us and declares that the “dead in Christ” those in their tombs who have already died in the physical, will rise first to meet Jesus in the air. Then, we who are alive will follow. These verses seem agreeable to me.
In the Book of Daniel, the angle, Michael, tells Daniel, “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (12:4). This is now happening. Never before has it been possible to glean so much information in so short a time. Anyone with a computer has access to the world and all the knowledge therein. Because of jets, super-fast trains, and cars that travel over 100-miles per hours, we can be anywhere in a very short time.
People are running to a fro at a frenetic pace. The apostasy of the church is on the brink of happening, and people are mocking the coming of the Lord, saying, “Oh yeah? When is this Jesus coming?” It’s lining up, children. It won’t be long before we hear the trumpet sound of Jesus’ voice.
Why don’t people believe in the rapture? It is as Paul wrote, "to the man with out the Spirit, these things are foolishness" (1 Corinthians 2:14). The people are “wise in their own eyes” (Isaiah 5:21) and think they know the truth. If they knew the truth, the truth would set them free to believe, but they can’t know. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him” (I Corinthians 2:9). Does this mean that those who are saved can know the day and hour of the coming of the Son of Man for His bride? No: Jesus made it clear that it was a closely guarded secret in God’s heart that would only be revealed at the right time. Yes, I truly believe the rapture time will come by surprise. Two will be grinding, one will be taken and one left. Two will sleep in one bed, one will be taken, the other left. You see, the Lord revealed to the prophets that rapture, the catching away of the saints will happen. That’s what the prophets need to be shouting about, but He didn’t say when.. John the Baptist, then Jesus cried, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand!” (Matthew 3:2; 4: 17) There is no security in knowing day and hour. Our security is in the Blessed Redeemer, the Christ, Jesus.
"The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?”
(Verse 8) The Lion of the Tribe of Judah, God Almighty Jesus (Revelation 5:5) had roared. When a lion roars, the people fear. Pat told us Thursday night of her experience of hearing a lion at the zoo roar and how the very loudness and depth of that sound almost made her scream. The roaring lion instills fear in the hearts of man and beast. We know the strength of the lion and what he is capable of doing. How much more should man fear when God roars out His Word to us.
“The Lord God has spoken, who can but prophesy?” When God gives man or woman a dream or vision, it fills the person so full he or she has to speak it out. It’s as Paul said, “For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” (I Corinthians 9:16) They could not and definitely should not, keep the revelation from God contained within their hearts. The Word of God is for public consumption.
Yes, I do believe there are prophets in this day. I mean real, appointed by and called out by God prophets, but I do want to caution you, though, to be careful who you listen to. Remember, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh” (Luke 6:45). If you receive a personal prophecy, don’t just run out and act on it. Many people have lost their homes, their jobs, their families and everything they had on the word of a false prophet. If someone calls you out by name from an audience, don’t think immediately they must be from God or how would they know your name and circumstance. Deception is rampant within the church structure. Jesus said in the last days there would be false prophets and teachers. Be on your guard lest you become an elect who is deceived. Let the Lord prove His Word to you. It’s called confirmation and comes in several ways. God might send another prophet to restate what has already been spoken. You might see the truth of it as you read Scripture. A friend, or maybe even a stranger, will inadvertently say something to confirm what the prophet said. Most of all, check his or her success rate, and watch for the prophecy to be fulfilled.
“But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (II Peter 2:1, 2). The first name that came to my mind when I read this isn’t that of a preacher or a prophet, but she sure is a false teacher, and that is Oprah Winfrey. She very outwardly claims to be a Christian and then goes on to betray every believer who listens to her. She teaches her audience of millions almost every day that there is more than one way to God and to Heaven. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by Me” (John 14:6). The scary thing about Oprah is she’s not a raving lunatic that people laugh off. The look on her face when she expounds her theories is that of one who truly believes what she is sharing. That makes her a dangerously powerful tool of the devil to deceive the elect and keep others from finding the real truth.
Be careful, my friends. “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (I John 4:1).
During the Viet Nam war, a West Point graduate was leading some young men in battle. One of his soldiers was severely wounded. He knew any attempt to rescue the soldier would result in death for the rescuer and maybe the wounded man. Hearing the man in his agony, the soldier was moved to go after him. He left the safety of his hiding place and crawled out to the soldier. He saved the soldier, but lost his own life. When the saved man returned to the states, the parents of the rescuer wanted to meet him and see who their son died to save. When the man arrived for dinner he was drunk and telling off-color jokes. The parents of the lost soldier treated this guy well throughout the time he spent with them. After he left, the mother of the dead soldier collapsed in tears and cried, “To think that our precious son had to die for somebody like that.” That’s what Jesus did for us. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
We must never forget what Jesus did for us. Most Jews celebrate the Passover meal with a little slaughtered lamb, unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine because they don’t know Jesus is their longed for Messiah. We celebrate the Passover with bread and wine of remembrance because we have a personal relationship with the beloved Messiah.
Take up the bread now, please. Jesus we are taking this bread that represents Your body that was broken for us. Thank You for doing this for us. Take the bread.
Take up the cup now, please. Jesus, we take this drink in remembrance of the Blood You shed for the remission of our sins. Thank You for doing this for us. Take the wine now.
As we take the bread and wine today, we “proclaim the death of the Lord till He comes” (I Corinthians 11:26). That’s our hope, He’s coming back!
Book of Amos
Chapter 3, Part 8
“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. For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces” (Amos 3:9, 10). Amos, at God’s direction, was calling the heathen nations to stand and see the failure of Israel. They were nations that warred against each other and plundered each other’s goods. They were to come and witness, or observe Israel’s sin of plundering and harming her own.
In his commentary, John W. Ritenbaugh says, “Morality and righteousness make a nation strong, but immorality and unrighteousness will always bring it to ruin (Proverbs 14:34). Where religion is powerless, government, business, and community become ineffective because their moral undergirding is gone.”
Mr. Ritenbaugh also said, “As our economic power is being sapped by moral cancer, our fighting spirit is being drained too. We are no longer able to present a united front on any matter. In addition, as the United States takes on the role of sole superpower, as our troops are used to enforce United Nations policies, our military strength is exploited and thinned. In our moral and social malaise, we find rousing ourselves to action as a nation gets harder and harder to do. Our allies know we are a weak branch to lean on.”
In the 1960’s and 1970’s, during the Viet Nam War, the moral fabric of this country was unraveling. “Make love, not war,” was the anti-family slogan. The young generation wanted to be free of the encumbrances of one mate for life. They went from one partner to the other and, sometimes, both at once. Pot was the rage, and people began to experiment with harder drugs; mind altering LSD being one of them. For the first time in history our soldiers were held in contempt. The news they got from home is that the people were blaming them for the war. When they came home, people literally spit on them and struck them, calling them baby killers.
Could that war have been won if this country was morally strong? I believe it could have. “When God is for you, who can be against you?” (Romans 8:31) Walking in sin opened the door for satan to instill confusion in the ranks of our politicians so they could agree on not one thing. When they should have become more aggressive, they backed off. When the danger was at high level for our guys, they moved forward and attacked. We lost far too many soldiers for nothing. Nam is the only war I know of till that date that we lost. Iraq and Afghanistan are promising to end the same way. “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people” (Proverbs 14:34).
God called the nations to see what Israel was doing to her own. Israel was supposed to be set up high and apart from all nations. Israel had the name of God right in her name. I’ll allow Pastor G. Reckart to explain it. “The name Israel is broken down into three integrated parts: 1) "Is" which is a contraction of Iysh ee-sh meaning anciently "man, husband, lord, or prince"; 2) "ra" which has an Egyptian-Phoneican root of "power"; and 3) "el" which is a contraction of "Elohim" the name of the Creator God in Genesis 1:1! Thus, without the name of God in the name Israel there would only be Isra or Ishira meaning a man has power alone without God.”
Israel was supposed to honor God in every way. She was to have honest priests but Israel’s priests were not of the Aaronic blood line, so were false priests. She was to use honest weights when dealing with the people but her scales were tipped in favor of the wealthy, which is how they accumulated so much wealth.
God also called them out for their violence toward each other. “For they know not to do right, saith the LORD, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.” There is no way those people didn’t know how to walk with God in truth. They were given the patriarchs, the Ten Commandments, the judges, and the prophets. They knew what brought the blessings of God and they shunned it. They knew how to defeat their enemies, and they turned to their own fleshly lusts instead, so God had no choice but to avenge Himself against her. Although God proved Himself to Israel countless times, she turned to false gods made with hands that had never and still have never brought one good thing to her. And they harmed their own people through violence and oppression. They misused the poor and created even more poor with their crooked scales. “He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want” (Proverbs 22:16). Look at these verses. “Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge” (Jeremiah 4:20-22).
“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” (verse 11). Amos again reminds them it’s God who is speaking through him. It’s not Amos who came up with these things, but God. Because of their physical, spiritual and financial abuse of the people of Israel, God will send an “adversary” (an enemy) to raise siege against them. This came in the name of Hoshea, the Assyrian king. Look at II Kings 17:6-8: “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. For so it was, that the children of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, which had brought them up out of the land of Egypt, from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods, And walked in the statutes of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel, and of the kings of Israel, which they had made.” They turned their backs on God and they paid the price. God took away their ill-gained riches, toppled their palaces and allowed Assyria to plunder them.
“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” (verse 12). Again, “Thus sayeth the Lord” is emphasized. Shepherds who worked for others were responsible for the safety of the sheep. When a lion snatched a lamb from the flock, the shepherd would take the remainder of the dead animal to show his boss that it was a lion and not neglect that killed the lamb. John Gill said, “…two legs, or a piece of an ear; the body of the creature being devoured by the lion, only some offal left he cared not for; two shanks of the legs that had no flesh upon them, and the gristle of the ear, as the Targum; having satisfied his hunger with the best of it: signifying hereby that only a few of the Israelites should escape the enemy, and those poor and insignificant, he made no account of; and this in a miraculous manner, it being like taking anything out of the mouth of a lion, to which a powerful enemy is compared, and particularly the king of Assyria.” God always saves a remnant of Israel for Himself. In this case, it was a miracle any were saved from this destruction.
“Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, 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” (verses 13, 14). God commands their attention as He uses the name of the patriarch of Israel, Jacob. This was His not so subtle way of reminding them that they were in covenant with Him through their ancestors. He had been their chief Warrior of their armies. Because of their turning away, He would now lead an army against them in His wrath. They would have to answer to God for their sins.
Why did God destroy Bethel? Jeroboam I erected a golden calf on the altar at Bethel. This altar was a continuous reminder of their rebellion against God. It’s as though they said, “No, God, I will do it my way!” The horns on the altar were for the protection of innocent fugitives. If they had not committed the killing they were accused of and grabbed the horn of the altar, they received asylum and were safe. If they were guilty, they would be torn by the altar. (Exodus 21:14). God was going to “cut off” the horns from the altar so they could no longer claim asylum.
“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” (verse 15). Only kings had a summer and winter home. One example I found to demonstrate this is Ahab who had his winter residence in the warm climate of the plains of Jezreel and a summer residence in Samaria. But, because of their thievery against their kinsmen, the men of the upper class were able to have both houses as well. They thought they had it made and all was right in their little world, but God had another idea. He was going to destroy every home and creature comfort they had accumulated. Others used ivory for floor inlays or other decorative features and they would be brought to ruin.
Every house, whether owned by royalty or the extremely wealthy would be demolished. None would remain. Their dream of leaving such building for coming generations would end suddenly when the buildings came down. What I get from this is the destruction would be complete. God would set aside a remnant and then blot out everyone and everything else.
That’s our study for tonight.
I feel compelled to tell you all that communion should never become common place. The message of communion is one that should keep our hearts tender toward Jesus. It should give us great joy to participate in the eating and drinking of the elements of communion. Our hearts should be filled with love and compassion for the Lord because of all He gave to set us free. Communion should be a time when we worship God in our hearts. Communion is the celebration of what Jesus did for us at the cross, “He bore our sins in His Own body on the tree” (I Peter 2:24) and as He came out of the tomb, “He conquered death for us forever” (Matthew 28:1-6). But, communion started in the manger. “He left heaven to be born in a human body” (Philippians 2:5, 6). When Jesus was born, He knew how and when He would die. He was not surprised by anything that happened. He gave us a wonderful way to remember all this. Please, as we take the bread and drink the cup tonight, think of Jesus and His birth, His death, and His resurrection. Understand that without even one of those components to salvation, we would still be lost.
Praise You, Father, for Jesus. Touch our hearts now as we commemorate what Jesus suffered in our place. We thank You for Jesus and what You sent Him to do for us. It’s in the name of Jesus that we pray as we reach for the communion elements, amen and amen.
“And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, “Take, eat; this is My body” (Mark 14:22). Please take the bread now.
Father, we praise You for the Blood of cleansing that makes us the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. Praise You that we are redeemed and heading home to spend eternity with God in three persons, the Blessed Trinity. In Jesus name we agree, amen and amen.
“Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it. And He said to them, “This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:23-25). Please drink the cup now.