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                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Amos - The Country Prophet (3:1-6:14)

INTRODUCTION

1. In our previous study we began our survey of the book of Amos
   a. A prophet of God, who was...
      1) A country shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit - Am 7:14-15
      2) Called to proclaim God's judgments on the nations, especially
         Israel
   b. Whose book is divided into three sections, in which we find...
      1) "Oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight nations (ch.
         1-2)
      2) "Sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 3-6)
      3) "Visions" regarding the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 7-9)
   c. In his "oracles", we saw that God pronounced judgment upon...
      1) Heathen nations, such as Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, 
         and Moab
      2) The people of God, both Judah and Israel
      -- With emphasis placed upon the sins and judgment of the 
         northern kingdom of Israel

2. In this lesson, we shall direct our attention to the "sermons" in
   chapters 3-6
   a. There are three sermons, each beginning with "Hear this word..."
      - 3:1; 4:1; 5:1
   b. The focus of these sermons is Israel, the kingdom in the north

[From an outline by Ryrie, the first "sermon" could be entitled...]

I. THE DOOM OF ISRAEL (3:1-15)

   A. AMOS DEFENDS HIS RIGHT TO PROPHESY...
      1. The Lord has spoken against Israel - Am 3:1-2
         a. With whom He has had a special relationship
         b. Whom He now will punish for their sins
      2. Seven questions with obvious answers - Am 3:3-6
         a. The purpose and meaning of these questions have been 
            variously interpreted
         b. But their intent appears to enforce the logic of what 
            follows in the next two verses
      3. Can a prophet remain silent when God speaks? - Am 3:7-8
         a. The Lord does nothing unless He reveals it by one of His 
            prophets
         b. Like a lion that has roared (cf. Am 1:2), God has spoken 
            and Amos must prophesy!

   B. ISRAEL'S DOOM...
      1. Ashdod and Egypt are called to witness Israel's wickedness 
         - Am 3:9-10
      2. Israel will be plundered by an adversary - Am 3:11-15
         a. Though never identified by Amos, Isaiah declared that it 
            would be Assyria
         b. Concerning Israel's coming punishment:
            1) Only a remnant will survive of those who dwell in 
               luxury, like a piece of lamb left over after being 
               ravaged by a lion
            2) Destruction will come upon the altars of Bethel (cf. 
               Jeroboam's idolatry)
            3) Destruction will befall their luxurious homes

[With this first "sermon", destruction is pronounced upon Israel.  The
sin of some of the men was mentioned earlier (Am 2:6-8), with the next
"sermon" we see the wickedness of the women...]

II. THE DEPRAVITY OF THE WOMEN OF ISRAEL (4:1-13)

   A. THE "COWS OF BASHAN", THEY ARE INSATIABLE...
      1. Living in Samaria (Israel) they were:
         a. Oppressing the poor and needy - Am 4:1
         b. Crying out for wine - Am 4:2
      2. For which they will suffer painful deportation to a foreign 
         land - Am 4:3

   B. A SARCASTIC CALL TO WORSHIP...
      1. To worship their false gods at Bethel and Gilgal - Am 4:4-5
      2. Designed to show how far they have departed from God

   C. THEY HAD REJECTED GOD'S CHATISEMENTS...
      1. They had failed to respond to God's efforts to get them to 
         repent
         a. Famine - Am 4:6
         b. Drought - Am 4:7-8
         c. Pestilence - Am 4:9
         d. Plague and war - Am 4:10
         e. Earthquake, or perhaps volcanic eruptions - Am 4:11
      2. Therefore they must prepare to meet their God!
         a. Who is bringing such judgments upon them - Am 4:12
         b. Whose name is "The LORD God of hosts" - Am 4:13

[In light of such a judgment to befall Israel, it is not surprising to
see that the third "sermon" is in the form of a lamentation...]

III. A DIRGE OVER ISRAEL (5:1-6:14)

   A. A LAMENTATION FOR THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL...
      1. In view of her coming fall - Am 5:1-2
      2. In which only a remnant will be left - Am 5:3

   B. A CALL TO REPENTANCE, FOR THERE IS STILL HOPE...
      1. Seek the Lord and live, lest He come with fiery judgment! 
         - Am 5:4-7
      2. Seek Him who is all powerful! - Am 5:8-9
      3. For He knows your manifold sins! - Am 5:10-13
      4. Seek that which is good, not evil; perhaps God will gracious!
         - Am 5:14-15

   C. THE COMING DAY OF THE LORD...
      1. The Lord is coming, and there shall be wailing in the streets
         and fields - Am 5:16-17
      2. The day of the Lord is not to be desired by sinful men
         a. For it will be a day of darkness - Am 5:18-20
         b. For God is repelled by their show of religion, when there 
            should be righteousness and justice - Am 5:21-24
         c. For they have never really served God, even in the 
            wilderness - Am 5:25-26
      3. Therefore they will be taken "beyond Damascus" (Assyria!)
         - Am 5:25-27

   D. A WARNING EVEN TO THOSE IN ZION...
      1. Woe to those who are at ease, trusting in Samaria (i.e., the 
         northern kingdom of Israel) - Am 6:1-2
         a. Perhaps to defend them?
         b. Consider what happened to kingdoms far greater!
      2. Woe to those who say the day of the Lord is far off - Am 6:3-6
         a. Who bask in their luxury
         b. While their brethren are afflicted
      3. They shall be among the first to go into captivity - Am 6:7

   E. THE EXTENT OF THE COMING DESTRUCTION...
      1. Coming because God hates their pride - Am 6:8
      2. A destruction where men will be scarce, and their houses 
         destroyed - Am 6:9-11
      3. Why?  Because they perverted justice and righteousness, 
         priding themselves in their own strength - Am 6:12-13
      4. But God will raise up a nation (Assyria) against them, who 
         will afflict them from the north ("the entrance of Hamath")
         to the south ("the Valley of the Arabah") - Am 6:14

[So ends the third of these three "sermons" of Amos. Before we conclude
our study, let me share some...]

IV. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE "SERMONS" OF AMOS

   A. THE RECURRING THEMES OF JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS...
      1. Several times we find references to justice and righteousness 
         - Am 5:7,15,24; 6:12
      2. Their opposites are also mentioned:  oppression and evil 
         - Am 3:10; 4:1; 5:10-12
      3. Lacking justice and righteousness, all their religion, wealth,
         and power were in vain!
      -- Is there not a lesson for us to learn here? - cf. Mt 5:23-24

   B. ISRAEL'S FAILURE TO HEED GOD'S CHASTISEMENTS...
      1. That God used natural calamity to get their attention is 
         evident - Am 4:6-11
      2. Why did they not heed God's efforts?
         a. Perhaps they did not make the connection
         b. Perhaps they assumed is was just a coincidence
      3. One would be amiss to always attribute natural calamities to 
         God's working; yet...
         a. Should we not be open to the possibility that God may be 
            saying something?
         b. Should we not at least use such occasions to reflect on our
            relationship with God?

   C. REGARDING THE DAY OF THE LORD...
      1. The "day of the Lord" is a day of judgment, and a day of 
         darkness - Am 5:18
         a. In Amos it has reference to God's judgment upon Israel, 
            which came when Assyria took them into captivity
         b. But such judgment prefigures the Final Judgment, the "day 
            of the Lord"
            1) In which Christ will come to judge the world - Ac 17:
               30-31
            2) It too will be a day of "darkness" - cf. 2Pe 3:7,10-12
      2. While we might not desire that "day" per se, we do look 
         forward to what is to follow - cf. 2Pe 3:13-14

   D. GOD'S GRACIOUS OFFER OF REPENTANCE...
      1. Even with the pronouncement of judgment, there is an offer to
         have life if one repents - Am 5:4-6,14-15
      2. As we saw with Joel and Jonah, God was willing to relent for
         those who repented
      3. Even today, while the gospel proclaims judgment to come, it
         also offers salvation! - cf. 2Co 6:1-2
 
CONCLUSION

1. Unfortunately, not many heeded the warnings of Amos - cf. 2Ki 17:
   13-23
   a. Within thirty years (722 B.C.), Israel was taken into captivity
   b. Under the cruel hand of the Assyrians, they experienced the
      righteous judgment of God

2. What about us, will we heed the warnings of Christ and His apostles?
   a. Their message is really not that different ("seek the Lord and
      live", "seek good and not evil")
   b. They too call upon us to repent and seek the Lord through faith 
      and obedience, though it is obedience to the gospel of Christ and
      not the Law of Moses

Remember that the book of Amos, along with the rest of the Old 
Testament, was:

   "...written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages 
   have come." (1Co 10:11)

Are we willing to learn from its admonition, such as those found in 
the prophecies of Amos?
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