Amos and a Nation Ripe For Judgement
“This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.” (Amos 8:1–2 ESV)
Amos was tasked by God with speaking judgement over the split kingdoms of Israel and Judah.
They were, as the verse above indicates, ripe for judgement.
It would seem to me as we enter this political season, that it would be good to know what caused the nations to ripen to ruin.
While we are obviously not a theocracy, the principles remain the same.
What conditions can exist inside a nation that make God angry enough to obliterate them?
Even a cursory reading of the text will make those things clear.
God despises the oppression of the poor, social and judicial injustice, “worship” that is corrupt or that does not truly seek Him, and economic injustice.
Let’s do a little tour…
Oppression of the poor:
This theme runs throughout the book…indeed it runs through the Bible from front to back.
“For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals— those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth and turn aside the way of the afflicted;” (Amos 2:6–7 ESV)
Hatred of the truth:
“They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. Therefore because you trample on 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. For 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. Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time.” (Amos 5:10–13 ESV)
Justice was denied to those without the financial resources or social influence to bribe the rulers and those in need were turned away without a hearing.
Please note that these religious leaders of the covenant people of God hated those who spoke the truth about their corruption…they hated those who noted that they profited themselves on the backs of the poor and were more concerned with wealth and power than the least of God’s people.
They hated them so much that the wise learned to keep their mouths shut.
“Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?”” (Amos 8:4–6 ESV)
In light of all their wickedness, how did God feel about their worship?
““I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. ”(Amos 5:21–23 ESV)
Because the walk didn’t match the talk, He despised them.
“But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:24 ESV)
Without truth, justice, and righteousness for all…economically, socially, judicially… there is no hope of avoiding the judgement of God.
Without truth in the house of God, that judgement begins there.
I haven’t heard many sermons about this…or any campaign speeches either.
Make your own application…