- Amos 5:1-7:9; 8:1-9:15
In today's reading, GOD continues His strong message of repentance through the prophet Amos. His rebukes are for the entire house of Jacob, but there is special focus upon the northern tribes of Israel. Israel is proud and trusting in idols and in their own strength. The central message can be found in Amos 5:6a which says, "Seek the LORD and live."
GOD describes the coming day of judgment for Israel:
16 Therefore the LORD God of hosts, the Lord, says this: “There shall be wailing in all streets, And they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmer to mourning, And skillful lamenters to wailing. 17 In all vineyards there shall be wailing, For I will pass through you,” Says the LORD.
18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light. 19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him! 20 Is not the day of the LORD darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it? 21 “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. 22 Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.
23 Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. 24 But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream. 25 “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings In the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel? 26 You also carried Sikkuth your king And Chiun, your idols, The star of your gods, Which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” Says the LORD, whose name is the God of hosts.
(Amos 5:16-27 NKJV)
GOD was angry because the Israelites were proud and not humble; they trusted in their own ability and resources to save them, rather than in the LORD. GOD promised to stir up a nation against Israel, and they would oppress and destroy them throughout the land. GOD showed Amos a vision of locusts, fire, a plumb line and finally a basket of ripe fruit. He used these to illustrate His love, compassion and coming punishment upon Israel.
GOD also told Amos that there was coming a famine of His word throughout the land. This would ultimately be a period of 400 years of GOD's silence between the prophecy of Malachi and the events prior to John the Baptist's birth. Though GOD would punish Israel, He would not destroy it entirely, and would one day make things new under the Messiah's leadership.
9 “ For surely I will command, And will sift the house of Israel among all nations, As grain is sifted in a sieve; Yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. 10 All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, Who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.’ 11 “ On that day I will raise up The tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, And repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, And rebuild it as in the days of old; 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,” Says the LORD who does this thing.
13 “ Behold, the days are coming,” says the LORD, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him who sows seed; The mountains shall drip with sweet wine, And all the hills shall flow with it. 14 I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; They shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; They shall also make gardens and eat fruit from them. 15 I will plant them in their land, And no longer shall they be pulled up From the land I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.
(Amos 9:9-15 NKJV)