- Amos 7:10-17
- 2 Kings 14:28-29; 15:8-18
- 2 Chron. 26:16-21
As Amos concluded his prophecy against the nations and, in particular, against Israel, the idolatrous priest Amaziah went to Jeroboam II, king of Israel and accused Amos of raising a conspiracy against him. Amaziah rebuked Amos and told him to go back to Judah, that Israel was hearing none of his worthless words. This, of course, was a terrible mistake. Unfortunately this is exactly the type of behavior that comes from hard-hearted people who refuse to repent of their wickedness.
Jeroboam II died sometime after this and his son Zechariah reigned for 6 months as king of Israel. Zechariah did evil as his father had done. Shallum assassinated Zechariah in front of the people and succeeded him as king. Shallum reigned only 1 month before Menahem assassinated him. Menahem reigned 10 years and did evil as well.
In Judah, King Uzziah had been blessed because he had followed GOD. However, over time he became proud in his heart. He went into the temple to offer incense to GOD and the priest Azariah and 80 other priests rebuked him and tried to stop him. Azariah told him that only the Levite priests should offer incense to GOD in the temple. Uzziah got angry and raged at the priests with a scepter, but in the process, leprosy broke out on his forehead. Uzziah quickly left the temple and he had leprosy until he died. He lived in a separate house and his son Jotham reigned in the palace and governed the people.
It is sad to see how the sins of Israel and Judah continue to pile up, like a giant snowball grows as it rolls down a mountain. Both nations are speeding head-first toward destruction. There is a non-biblical proverb that says, “When you realize you are in a hole, the first thing you must do is put down the shovel.” Israel refused to acknowledge its sins and humble themselves to the point of repentance. Judah prolonged its existence due to a handful of righteous kings and strong leaders, yet it too eventually fell prey to the same fate as Israel.
The principle of putting down the shovel applies to us today just as well. Sometimes we make bad decisions and we turn our back on GOD. He loves us too much to allow us to go without a fight, so He calls us back using progressive discipline. We’ve got to admit we’ve sinned and be willing to do what’s necessary in order to return to Him so He’ll forgive us.