Book of Amos
Chapter 5, Part 11
“Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel” (Amos 5:1). Amos took up the Word of God against the people. What he spoke, he first heard from the heart of God. Here he was calling the people to a meeting; a funeral, so to speak, and they were the ones who were dead. Oh, they weren’t physically dead yet, but it was as though he was reading them their obituary. “Lamentation” is a dirge, or a funeral poem that Amos would speak over them. Israel (the people) felt safe from all judgment because she was prosperous and doing a mighty fine job of making a good life. Amos saw in his spirit what would happen to the people and the state of Israel, and he spoke it out as though it had already come to pass. This prophecy would allow the people to see themselves from the backside of God’s wrath and judgment on them. “The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places: how are the mighty fallen! How are the mighty fallen, and the weapons of war perished!” (II Samuel 1:15, 25)
“The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up” (verse 2). Israel had once been God’s virgin nation chosen and called up by God to be His own people. He had purified her and made her righteous in Himself, but she played the harlot with the surrounding countries and took their gods before the one true God. Because of her adultery, she fell many times. When Israel fell this time as spoken of by Amos, there would be no one, not the lifeless heathen gods made with hands, not even God, to lift her up. She would fall and stay fallen until the day of repentance when she will turn back to God and be in the New Jerusalem.
God had warned Israel on many occasions that if she didn’t destroy her false gods and come back to Him, He would destroy her. We know that God always saves out for Himself a remnant of Israel. He did in Egypt, in the desert, in Babylon, in Jesus’ day, now and will save out a remnant from the Tribulation. "Except the Lord of hosts had left us a very small remnant, we should have been like as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah" (Isaiah 1:9). "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved" (Romans 9:27). “And the dragon [Satan] was wroth with the woman [Church], and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the Commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17). We also know that if God said it, it will be so, and He said He was about to destroy Israel for her apostasy. The only way Israel could have saved herself from destruction was to turn back to God and refuse to give sacrifices and offerings to false gods. She would come to the Lord with all her heart believing that He alone is the God of Israel, the God of all creation.
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel” (Verse 3). Look at the numbers here. Do you see that? God will save 10% of those who go out to war. The city that sent out 1,000 soldiers to war saw 100, or 10% of the soldiers come back. 90% of the men who went forth to fight were killed. God kept a tithe of the people for Himself. This gives new meaning to tithing.
There is coming a war where 100% of those called to the battlefield will be destroyed. It’s a war that no one wants to take part in, but one which the devil fools them into coming to. “And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:12-14). God will bring all the nations of the world together for the final war that will ever be fought before Jesus takes His throne and rules forever. No one who lives in rejection of Christ at the end of the Tribulation will escape this war. They will be so destroyed their blood will run for miles as deep as a horses bridle.
“For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought” (verse 4, 5). Israel still has a chance for escape. Look at this verse that tells us God turned from destroying Nineveh. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not( Jonah 3:10). If Israel would return to the Lord, speak truth to each other about who He is and what He does, they would be saved too. But they were so steeped in pride they couldn’t understand what the prophet was saying.
We must learn to “seek” God first as well. None of us is sinless, although we are forgiven. We must always come before the Lord with a heart of repentance. I often tell people to keep short accounts with God. Don’t be caught in trespasses and sin that will separate you from the favor of God as Israel did. Do you continue to walk in the same sins of the flesh you did before you were saved? Change your mind (repent) and change your ways (turn from them) so that you can be a blessing to God and He will preserve you for Himself.
God warned Israel through Amos not to seek refuge in the high places or in the temples because they would be totally destroyed. Rather, He called them to seek refuge in Him. God was going to bring down the altars at Bethel also called Bethaven, the house of vanity. There would be no escape there. We know that for sure because we see people now trying to replace God with gods of this earth and of the flesh. Most people, if asked, will agree to being religious in some measure, but, religion is what got Israel in trouble; a false religion that drew them to sacrifice their prosperity to false gods. I won’t list the sins people wallow in nowadays. You know them as well as I do.
More studies at http://www.newbeginmin1.org/BIBLESTUDYOPENING.html
“Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel” (verse 6). Again God calls on Israel to “seek” Him. Why is He saying it again? It is because repetition is the best teacher. As with telling a child over and over a hundred times not to leave toys around and seeing him finally picking up, so does God repeat in order to make it clear and see Israel do what He asks. He wanted them to turn from their wicked ways against Him and His people. He wanted them to do good and hate evil. Evil is devil minus the d. But it’s the very same thing. Evil is of the devil and the devil is evil. Those who came to God would escape the sure death that was coming on Israel. They would become the remnant that God would save out of that terrible time.
“Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth, Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name: That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress” (verses 7-9). One of the major reasons for God’s judgment against Israel was corruption of the legal system. Instead of finding truth in the cases they heard, the judges held out for cash or property etc… as bribes. The one who had the most to offer won the case, no matter who was right. We are seeing that now in our judicial system. The Supreme Court goes against the Word of God by condoning and making legal the murder of unborn babies. Planned Parenthood has tons of money and can buy the favor of most judges and many senators and congressmen. Also, our courts have agreed with the blasphemers, the heretics of this country in taking God out of everything. Now there is no Bible in the school, although new age books and books on Islam are there. Children are forbidden from lowering their heads in silent prayer before tests. Prayer cannot be spoken at graduation or sporting events. Judges are working hard to protect the “rights” of alternative lifestylers at the cost of our rights. Now the criminal has more protection and support than the victims of their crime. No wonder God is angry with this country. We, like Israel, have tossed righteousness to the ground in order to raise up unrighteousness. Good is considered evil, and evil is considered good. (Isaiah 5:20)
God wants them to seek Him who makes the stars, darkness, and light. He called them to seek after the God who “…calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth.” That is, the God who causes evaporation of sea water to form clouds moves the clouds around over the land where they deposit water as rain. The “LORD” is His name.
In verse 9 we see God saying that He will strengthen those whom Israel had spoiled in her moving into the covenant lands. They not only slew the people, they took all that belonged to them. Now, because of their greed, their apostasy, their utter disregard for the God of Israel, He would make them the spoiled by those they had spoiled. In other words, those they defeated will now defeat them by God’s will.
People will mock (ridicule) God until the end. They will blaspheme the names of Lord God and Jesus the Christ until the end. But, in the end, by the might of Jesus, God will prevail and HE will be the winner of all. The devil will be cast into the Lake of Fire with the False Prophet and the Beast, and God will reign forever. There will be no sickness in Heaven because there will be no sin, no unrighteousness. Heaven will be a place of righteousness, peace and joy (Romans 14:17). Blessed be the name of the Lord! Let’s not walk as Israel did, and does. Let us walk in peace with God and each other. Let us cast off the spirit of offense that divides and take on the cloak of love. Remember, all good things in the Bible started with God and one individual. Will you be that individual before the Lord?
Book of Amos
Chapter 5, Part 12
“They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly” (Amos 5:10). The Israelites not only hated the message, they hated the messenger. Amos was one of the few in Israel who hated idolatry and the unfair treatment of the people and the corruption of the judicial system. He sat in the gate at Samaria, a very large place where hundreds of people could gather, and where court was held, and he spoke God’s judgment against Israel. Although the judgments were really from God, the people hated Amos for speaking harshly against them. Remember in Amos 4:1 declared that Israel was oppressing the poor and crushing the needy. These people were really in need of a heart change, and Amos’ prophecy was their last chance to get one, but they chose to see it as judgmental hate speech. How familiar we have become with that phrase!
This hatred against Amos was not unique. We know another prophet who was hated for telling the truth as God spoke it. He was Micaiah who prophesied against King Ahab. It’s a very good story that you can read in I Kings 22. Ahab hated Micaiah because he would not speak kindly to him, but always spoke what God told him, and it was never good for Ahab. Ahab was an evil king and would not change, so God took him out of the picture in Israel.
Look at what Hosea said. ”The time of Israel's punishment has come; the day of payment is here. Soon Israel will know this all too well. Because of your great sin and hostility, you say, ‘The prophets are crazy and the inspired men are fools!’” (Hosea 9:7).
Israel didn’t just hate Amos, they abhorred him. In other words, they were repulsed by the very sight of him and could not tolerate the sound of his voice. Remember when you were a small child and your brother or sister touched you and it actually made you sink into yourself to get away from the touch? It was silly childishness, but this hatred against Amos was vicious. They despised Amos because his message was one of God’s retribution. Israel was sinning against God, man and self. The time of vice and exploitation were to end. God would flex His muscle and show Israel and all the surrounding nations just how powerful He was (is).
They also hated anyone who wanted justice to be done for each person. Those who would not build their wealth on the backs of the less fortunate, but spoke “uprightly” in truth were mocked and also despised.
Sadly, the United States and other countries are going to find that out too. In his report last week*, Hal Lindsey said that the ruler in Syria, Bashar al-Assad, now is claiming that he will destroy Israel and set the Middle East ablaze if NATO or Turkey dare interfere in Syria’s affairs. This lines up with the prophecy that states Damascus, Syria will be utterly destroyed in just a few hours. "Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap" (Isaiah 17:1). (Also Amos 1:3-5.)
“Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them. For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right” (verses 11, 12). “Forasmuch” means “since. In easier language, this verse (11) says, “Since your increase is derived from treading on the poor and stealing the little food they have with your bogus charges, I’m going to destroy all the works of your hands, starting with your beautiful homes and vineyards.”
The Israelites built houses of hewn stone for themselves, but also as a heritage for their children and as a monument to themselves that would last forever declaring their existence. God said, “No, no, I have other ideas of what to do with your ill-gotten property.” You see, God knew every single sin they had committed. He knew when a Hebrew made a false accusation against His people and what the person sought to gain from that. God knew that the land they were building on was in essence, stolen from the people. It is the same with the vineyards that were planted on stolen land. God would not sit by and watch His children suffer while the lying thieves sat in their luxurious homes feasting on the food and drink that belonged to others.
Scripture says, “The poor you will have with you always” (Matthew 26:11). Many have said that this is a New Testament Scripture, but I beg to differ. Look here, “For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land” (Deuteronomy 15:11). The people the Jews were stealing from were from their own nation. The poor went out into the fields to glean after the harvesters to provide food for their families. But the wicked ones would tack on a tax, or claim a bogus debt against them and would take the little bit the people had managed to gather together, leaving them and their families to starve. They did not practice what Scripture tells us. We are to "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God in Christ has forgiven you" (Ephesians 4:32).
The same Scripture applies to us. We have poor people in this country. We don’t listen to their stories. Rather, we deride them for their laziness. “If they weren’t so lazy, they would get a job and they’d have plenty to eat.” I’m here to tell you; that is not always true. I know men who work two jobs to make ends meet in their families, and still hover just above the poverty line. Mothers can no longer stay home and tend their children. In order to feed and clothe them, they work, sometimes more than one job, while the children are left alone or are delivered to the care of strangers. There are sick people in the United States that barely have enough to get by on even with all the government programs. Yet, we do nothing because, somehow, their poverty is their own fault. One day we will answer to God for all the people we could have helped and didn’t, just like Israel was about to.
The Holy Spirit just showed me that our churches are falling short in the area of bribery as well. Pastors in many congregations will only preach what the congregation allows. We had one pastor who would not preach on tithing because, according to him, when he did, the people stopped giving. In essence, they bribed this pastor to preach only what made them happy in order for them to give so he could have his pay check and insurance, etc… We read in the New Testament (James 2:1-9) that we must not show preference to people according to their purse, but pastors still do it. Thank You, Father, for this clarification.
“Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time” (verse 13). The sensible people who lived according to God’s Word didn’t speak out. They left that to the prophets whose job it was to bring truth from God to the people who were in sin. “The prudent” or wise people let God deal with the situations that arose. He was their Defender and is ours. There are times to remain silent and times to speak. A discerning person who loves the Lord will know which time is which. Those days of evil were days of silence. The prophets were heard all the louder for the silence of those being sinned against.
I believe one reason they kept silent is the same reason our citizens won’t speak out against criminals here. They were afraid of retribution from the sinner against themselves, their families or their businesses. As with Israel, our judicial system has become a joke. Criminals now have more rights and protections than the victims do. It is so bad now that crime does pay. Bribery is still practiced in our courts today, either by the criminal or by the one with the most money and influence.
"Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, just as you have said!" Both Old and New Testaments warn that we must flee evil and seek good. “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it” (Psalm 34:14). “Let him turn away from evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and pursue it” (I Peter 3:11). Amos was warning the people to look to God and not to sinful man. Seek didn’t mean they were looking for something lost, but for something they had let go of. God did not leave them so they had to hunt Him down. They turned their backs on Him as they went after abominable idols and false gods.
“Seek good” could read, “seek God” and mean the same thing. This seeking is after righteousness. Basically what Amos was telling them was to turn around and they would find the Lord. God has always been with Israel. He never left them nor forsook them. They were the ones who caused the separation. They wanted to be in God’s favor without being in His will. That did not happen for them, and will not happen for any of us. If you want God’s blessings, “seek” Him daily. Run after Him like a man sprinting for the finish line among his opponents.
Of this seek after good, Albert Barnes said, "It does not mean to seek to get something from Him, but rather to seek God for what He is in Himself."
When we seek God and find Him, we live abundant, everlasting lives. This does not refer to how many material things we own, but on the depth of our love and commitment to the Lord God. The harder we seek after God, the deeper becomes our relationship and the more like Jesus we become. Israel could have had a marvelously abundant life in God if they would only have laid aside greed. They were persuaded to chase after the wrong rewards. Let’s do better.
Most churches share communion once a month, every three months, or only on special holy days like Christmas and Easter. Their reason being it would become too familiar and no longer hold a special meaning in people’s hearts. We’ve had communion together several weeks in a row now. Is it getting to be old hat to you?
Communion was instituted by Jesus as a way to keep His memory alive in our hearts. When we come together for the meal of bread and wine, we speak of His sacrifice, of the grace of God that lead to Gentiles being saved through the Lord Jesus, and all that Jesus suffered to set us free. Communion was meant to draw like believers closer together as we celebrate the same Lord. Join me now as we take the elements of communion together and honor Father and Son by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us.
Check your hearts now. Do you have something to repent of? Are you in fear? in doubt? in anger? Have you done something willfully that you know is wrong in God’s eyes? If so, please take a moment now to get right with God. Scripture says, “Therefore, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord” (I Corinthians 11:27).
Take up the bread. After He broke the bread, Jesus said, “"This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me." Take the bread now.
Take up the cup. When Jesus took the cup, He said, “"This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me." Take the cup now.
Book of Amos
Chapter 5, Part 13
"Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken” (Amos 5:14). This verse seems pretty straightforward upon reading it, and it is. But it’s not a simple verse. It’s one filled with warnings and promises. It’s one that lets the Israelites know their problems are of their own making.
“Seek for good” doesn’t mean to simply look for it. God was not lost. He was right there in their midst. But the politicians, spiritual leaders and judiciary did not seek God. Instead they did good things for each other to help them grow in position and wealth. Jesus made this clear in Matthew 5:46, 47, when He said, “For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?” In this case, Amos was telling them that to seek was like hunting good down like treasure to do it. They were to strive after good, pursue it, and chase it down until their entire focus was on doing “good” for everyone equally. The good they were to strive for was religious and moral good. They were to turn back to God and live according to His precepts, treating their brethren as He has given them instruction in His Law. Instead of perpetuating the increase in poverty, they were to use their positions and finances to help the poor rather than to steal the little bit they had.
The Israelites were to seek God for WHO He is and not what He could do for them. There are people with sick agendas now that use the Word of God to propagate their evil. There are pastors in churches that say they will not be punished for their heresy because “God is love” and He would never hurt His children. Others feel their lifestyle is not shameful sin because, after all, God made them as they are and Jesus loves them and died for them. They can tell each other till they are purple that they have Jesus as Savior, love God and want to please Him. But if they are “seeking” after the sin of the flesh instead of seeking God daily, all day, they are sadly lacking and “the truth is not in them.”
They were to turn from the evil of idol worship, corrupt living, and wicked judgments if they wanted to live and have God with them. John W. Ritenbaugh says, “The commentaries note that both "seek" and "live" are in the imperative. It is a command to be diligent, fervent, and persevering in following through in "seeking." Friends, don’t just wait for God to “show up.” Run after Him!
“Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph” (verse 15). These people were so trapped in their wickedness they could not seem to turn from it. God spoke through Amos that the only way to avert their destruction was to hate the very evil they wallowed in. He sent this prophet to give them a word that would burn itself into their hearts to draw them away from the devastation about to come. Paul could have been speaking of Israel when he wrote to Timothy, saying. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (I Timothy 3:2-5).
“A form of godliness” means they declared that they were religious and were part of a church. They practiced the rites and rituals of the church, but to a god, and not to God. Much of Israel practiced a false religion and led many astray. God wanted them to make an about face, turn to HIM, rent their hearts and repent of their evil. To the people, however, they had become so calloused that they no longer saw their actions as evil.
“Love the good.” What a marvelous command, and one that we should pay attention to ourselves. Paul sure was a little guy filled with wisdom. He knew the history of Israel when he penned, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:8). Why should they, and we, abhor sin? It is because sin is an abomination to God.
Loving good is reaching out beyond selfish desires to provide for the needs of others. We often say that there isn’t anything we can do. We have no voice in what’s going on in this country, or in the world, but that’s not really true. If we begin to seek God deliberately, and begin to hate evil, in every form, and begin to love good with our whole hearts and seek after it, we can help bring about the change we want to see. Israel was not lost till the last minute when God finally blew His wrath on them. We, in this dear country, are in the last minute. God has been holding His breath, but it won’t be long before He exhales if this country doesn’t put Him back on His throne.
“Establish judgment in the gate.” God was telling the leaders of Israel to bring right-ness back to the gates of Israel. Much of Israelis’ lives were lived at the gate, and they came there to find truth, justice, and spiritual guidance. God wanted them to reestablish His righteousness there. To break it down, this verse says to hate evil, love good, judge fairly and God will save you out of the destruction to come. How my heart longs to make this cry in the hall of the White House, Congress and the Senate, schools, churches, and homes. Love good, people, so God can shine His favor on you, and on our country because of you!
‘Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the LORD, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing”(verse 16). Bible teachers look at the word “therefore” and wonder what it’s there for. In this case, it’s telling the Israelites that, since they won’t heed His warnings to change their hearts and their direction, God was going to keep His Word. They ignored His pleading and His advice. They threw His mercy and grace back in His face. Because of their stubborn refusal to hear, God was going to send the army against them that would almost wipe them out. There would be so many lying dead or injured in the streets and side roads, in the country, and in the fields that they would search out professional mourners to sing the dirge and lament the deaths, but the lamenters would be so busy they would be hard to find. The damage done to Israel would be so complete that the farmers and vinedressers and such would have no work to do. Everything would be destroyed. These men who were once diligent in tending the land, flocks, and herds, and vineyards and building projects of Israel would not be recruited to perform the duties of lamenters. They would weep and cry loudly over the bodies of the dead.
”And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD” (verse 17). Albert Barnes says of this verse. “All joy should be turned into sorrow. Where aforetime was the vintage-shout in thankfulness for the ingathering, and anticipating gladness to come, there, in the source of their luxury, should be wailing, the forerunner of sorrow to come. it was a vintage, not of wine, but of woe.” God would pass through them, just as He passed through Egypt to kill all the first born on the night of the Passover. God passed over the sins of Israel that night, but now is telling them He will no longer overlook their sin, but would come with judgment in His hand and pass through their cities, towns, countryside, vineyards etc… and their destruction would be complete.
“Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light” (verse 18). This “woe” is a prediction of the death about to befall Israel. These people who were crying out for the “day of the Lord” didn’t realize that this day would bring only darkness. There would be no light of love. Israel looked eagerly for the “day of the Lord” because the people thought He would come to fight their battles against the enemies of Israel. They expected God to pour out His vengeance against those evil nations and free Israel from them. What they didn’t understand, even after hearing the voices of the prophets, was that God was coming against them. God’s anger would not only fall on her enemies, but on Israel directly and completely. Through her sin, Israel had become an enemy of God. He was not interested in defending her, but it saving the people who would change their ways and turn back to Him. God would pour out His wrath on all those who persisted in living evil lives before Him. He would no longer be mocked. The “day of the Lord” would not be a day of joy they looked forward to, but one of great destruction of life and deep mourning. Israel would finally answer for her wicked ways.
God gave the people of Israel three years in earth time to repent with all their heart, turn from sin, and walk in righteousness. They went about their own pursuits and God kept His promise. Israel was destroyed and her people scattered.
I believe this same thing is coming to the USA. God is calling out to us through His Word, through His prophets, through His Son. God’s Holy Spirit calls us to repentance. “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they do not believe in Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11). The ruler of this world is satan. Don’t ever forget that truth.
John said, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).
Paul said, “We have redemption through the blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).
Peter said, “We are not redeemed with silver and gold, and precious stones, but with the precious blood of Christ.” (I Peter 1:18).
The Blood of Jesus is our cleansing liquid. We use Mr. Clean or Lysol to clean the nastiness out of our homes. God uses the blood of His dear Son to clean us from all unrighteousness. Sin is like black mold on our hearts. God needs the most powerful cleanser available, the blood of Jesus, to erase sin from us. We can’t walk in this world as the unsaved do. We must walk as the light and salt that will light the path for the unbeliever and give him a thirst for the Lord. The body and blood of Jesus are evidence of what He has done for the world. As we take them, we let everyone know two things. 1, we believe the Word of God. 2, are looking forward to the return of Jesus as we remember His sacrifice. ”For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes” (I Corinthians 11:26).
“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is by body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22:19). Take the bread now. Thank You, Jesus, for Your body that was broken for us.
“The same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you" (Luke 22:20). Take the cup now. Thank you, Jesus, for Your precious blood of cleansing.
Book of Amos
Chapter 5, Part 14
November 6, 2011
Last week we looked at verse 18 of Amos 5. “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light” (verse 18). We saw that, These people who were crying out for the “day of the Lord” didn’t realize that this day would bring only darkness. There would be no light of love. We saw that the Israelites thought that the “day of the Lord” would bring judgment against their enemies. They did not realize it was to bring His judgment against them for turning their backs on God and the people He loved.
The distress would come on them “As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him” (Amos 5:19). Amos was warning the Israelites that God’s judgment would come with increasing intensity. There would be no escape from His wrath for any of them who continued in their sin. I’m a visual reader and this verse gives me a vision of what was predicted. It’s as though they were in a movies, and as they escaped one enemy it was only to fall prey to the next enemy, and then the next. Some fled the clutches of the lion only to fall into the arms of the bear. Others survived the bear and when they felt they had found shelter and were safe, they leaned against the wall to rest only to be bitten by a snake. In other words there was no fleeing from God’s anger or His wrath to come.
This verse gives us a preview of what will occur during the Tribulation to those who are left behind at the rapture, or catching away of the bride of the Christ. The Lamb of God who is the only one able to open the scroll will begin to break the seals, and with each seal a new calamity will begin. After the seals, the trumpets will begin to sound, and there will be seven worse calamities. Then, finally, the seven last plagues will be released on the earth as the seven bowls or the wrath of God is poured out. Isaiah put it rather succinctly when he said, “Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth” (Isaiah 24:17). This was true of Israel in Amos’ day and will be true of all the earth in the Tribulation.
We must never become complacent as Israel was. When the Holy Spirit points out a fault we have, or a sin we are indulging in, we must be quick to repent, turn away from the fault or the sin and come to the Lord for forgiveness. Matthew Henry made a good point. He said, “Those who are not reformed by the judgments of God will be pursued by them; and, if they escape one, another stands ready to seize them; fear and the pit and snare surround them. It is madness therefore to defy the day of the Lord.”
“Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?” This is a rhetorical question from Amos. He knows the answer. There is no doubt that the misery of the day of God’s wrath will have no joy, no light, but only sorrow. The wicked Jews would receive their just reward for mocking God and flaunting their sinfulness in His face with their polluted sacrifices and evil treatment of God’s people. When God lowered His finger of judgment, salvation was no longer available for those who worked against God and His precepts.
Again I take you to Revelation. After the time of the Tribulation is over, the people remaining on earth who have taken the mark of the beast will be punished greatly and eternally. There will be no redemption available to them. They will have made their choice, their fate will be sealed, and damnation will follow them all the days of eternity. At the judgment seat of Jesus, they will be found guilty and will be tossed into the Lake of Fire created by God for satan and his followers.
“I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts” (verse 21, 22). Could God have been any clearer in how He felt about what the Jews were doing in their assemblies? He hated and despised there feast days. Through the prophet Isaiah, God made things very clear. He said, “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices to Me?” says the LORD. “I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams And the fat of fed cattle. I do not delight in the blood of bulls, Or of lambs or goats. When you come to appear before Me, Who has required this from your hand, To trample My courts? Bring no more futile sacrifices; Incense is an abomination to Me. The New Moons, the Sabbaths, and the calling of assemblies— I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting. Your New Moons and your appointed feasts. My soul hates; They are a trouble to Me, I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide My eyes from you; Even though you make many prayers, I will not hear. Your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; Put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes. Cease to do evil” (Isaiah 1:11-16). God is “weary” or exhausted from trying to get Israel on the right track, and He’s done trying. Also, please take the time to read Leviticus 26:31; Jeremiah 14:12; Hosea 5:6; Isaiah 66:3; Micah 6:6-8.
“Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols” (verse 23). One of the ways Israel celebrated God was with music. God loves music, and throughout the Bible, He tells us to sing. Miriam sang after the crossing of the Red Sea. David often sang unto the Lord and played music on the harp and other instruments. Mary, the mother of Jesus sang a song of praise to God after receiving the angel’s message that she was the chosen vessel that would carry the Lord to earth. Not sure I’m right? Read Luke 1:46-55. The New Testament instructs is to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Yet, God is so grieved by the false worship of the people He didn’t even want to hear their music anymore.
God knew that, although the songs Israel was singing were the customary songs used in temple, they were singing them to false gods. Their praise and worship was not directed to the throne of God. I think it fair to say they were playing both sides against the middle. They wanted to make the ritual sacrifices; they just wanted to share it between God the Father and their gods. That was NOT about to happen. God doesn’t receive defiled sacrifices or worship. He wants to be first and only God in their lives and hearts. The same holds true today.
“But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (verse 24). God wanted Israel to stop offering up fake sacrifices to Him. Their offerings were an abomination, and insult to Who God is. In this verse, He was calling the people to develop a heart for justice and righteousness. He was telling them that their judicial findings should be based on fact and not on bribery. God wanted Israel to love the people, rich or poor, no matter what their station, and to treat them all equally. He wanted them to demonstrate His love to each other in a never ending stream. God was not responsible for the lack of right living in Israel. They had done that on their own. Now He’s telling them that if righteousness would return to Israel and flow through their land like a river, it would be because of the changes they made.
“Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?” (Verse 25) The journey through the wilderness began on the night of the Passover when the Lord’s angel swept through Egypt, slaying the first born of all the people who were not covered. The covering was the blood of the lamb painted with hyssop onto the doorpost and lintels of the homes. Those whose homes were protected by the blood were redeemed and delivered from the clutches of slavery in Egypt. As the wailing of grief sounded out in Egypt, Israel prepared to leave. In the wilderness, even after seeing all that God had done, they whined and complained. Worse, they continued in the practices of their fathers and gave sacrifices and offerings to idols. Instead of worshipping God, they worshipped the golden calf, the sun, the moon and the stars.
Through Amos, God then asked another rhetorical question. “Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness?” Did they offer God pure sacrifices that were not soiled by other gods? No, they did not. If you make a study of Israeli history, you will find that the few times Israel worshipped God in truth, they abounded with everything good. But those times were few and short-lived.
“But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves” (verse 26). No, they had not given sacrifices unto God. Rather, their worship deteriorated even more into the demonic worship of idols. “But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you” (Jeremiah 7:23). Israel worshipped the god Molech. Molech was a bronze statue that had arms bent upward where children were placed that would be sacrificed. There was an oven at the base of the statue where a fire could be set to burn the children alive. As the fire raged and the children roasted, the priests played drums and banged on anything that would make loud noise to drown out the cries of the child. If you will scroll the page up so that you can see below the chat box, you will see a picture of Molech.
Chiun is a six-pointed star that represents the god Saturn. Does that star sound familiar? It’s what’s now known as the Star of David. Solomon actually had the first Chiun made as a signet ring that was supposed to keep evil spirits under control.
“Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts” (verse 27). Because of their degenerate hearts, God would send the army to destroy most. Those who would survive would go into captivity. This was not Amos’ word, but a word from the “Lord whose name is the God of hosts.” They have offended God for the last time. They sealed their own fate. They would now face His wrath.
The Greek word for communion is “koinonia” and means to share fully. When we take communion, it should identify us as those in fellowship with Jesus. Communion means a “union with” or “oneness.” When we are one with Jesus, we must become one with each other. We should act just opposite of the Israelis in our study. We should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. That should lead us to supply each other’s needs, encourage each other, admonish each other if we go astray, and be kind and compassionate to each other. (Matthew 25:31-40)
Let’s remember tonight that we must never take communion in a ho-hum fashion. This is a serious tradition introduced by Jesus. We are not eating and drinking food and wine, but body and blood. Communion can heal when taken correctly.
Lord, we are taking this communion tonight for the healing of our bodies. We take the bread and wine with right hearts before You and we thank You for loving us.
“And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body” (Mark 14:22). Take the bread now.
“And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it” (Mark 14:23). Take the cup now.
Jesus said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many" (Mark 14:24).