About Jesus     Steve Sweetman 

Home Page 

Chapter 3

Previous Section  - chapters 1 and 2   

Next Section - chapter 4

Witnesses Summoned Against Israel (ch. 3:1 - 15)    


Once again this chapter is directed towards the northern kingdom of Israel , as is most of this book. 


In verse 2 we note that God chose one family, that is Abraham's family out of all the families of the earth.  One thing to note here is the word "family".  In the first few chapters of Amos we've seen the word "nations".  Here we see family or families.  When God originally chose Abraham, he was just a family, as was much of those on earth at the time.  Family is the foundation of society.  First came Adam and Eve who gave birth to the first family.  From family, larger extended families emerged that grew into tribal communities.  From these tribes we see the emergence of city states and then larger nations, ending in empires such as the Babylonian Empire.


You might wonder why God even decided to choose one family out of many in the first place.  Well, by the time in history when God made this choice, humanity had fallen away from God's ways so much, even after the flood in Noah's day, that God wanted a family who would represent His ways to the rest of the world.  Abraham and his descendents were meant to be a living example, a kingdom of priests, that would represent God to the nations of the world.  They never really fulfilled their responsibility, but they will when Jesus returns to earth in the thousand year rule of Christ.


Also concerning family, we should note that God moves from speaking about nations to family, and in this chapter especially the men of the family.  In the next chapter God turns his attention to the women of these families.  When it comes to the health of a nation, if that nation has sick families, the nation will be sick sense the nation is built on sick families.  In today's western world, we have sick families resulting in sick nations.     


Those people who promote the gay movement today tell us that children raised in a gay family aren't harmed in any way.  Obviously I disagree with that.  The point is that many people have not grown up in a traditional father and mother family so they don't know what family is really like.  I don't see how they can comment, or, make such a statement when they themselves are so far removed from family.  Many of these people have no experience with the traditional family so how can they say children raised in a so-called gay family aren't harmed.    


Verse 2 also says, "therefore I will punish you for all your sins".  Since God chose Israel to be special, and sense they had a special calling from God, they'd get severe punishment for not obeying their God and their calling.   The simple fact is that the more understanding and access to Godly knowledge one has, the more accountable he is, and the greater judgment will come if this knowledge is ignored.   


Verse 3 says, "do two walk together unless they agree to do so"?   We often here this verse used in the context of human contracts or agreements, but in this context, it is used in relation to Israel agreeing with God on His terms in how they can walk with Him.  The terms of this agreement were laid out in the Law of Moses, which Israel in the past agreed with.  Now, things had changed, Israel has forsaken the Law of Moses and so that which they were In agreement with had been laid aside.  Thus, they can no longer walk with God or God with them. 


I've always said that if we as Christians live within the boundaries that God has set forth for us, He will walk with us.  He will look after us.  But, if we step outside of the boundaries He has set for us, He is not obligated to look after us.  This was the case with Israel, and it is the case with many Christians and the church today.


From verse 3 to verse 6 God asks other questions of Israel.  These questions are examples of Hebrew writing style.  All the questions asked have an obvious answer.  These particular questions are leading questions.  That is to say, if you know the answer to these questions, you will surely know the answer to the important question asked in verse 6, which is, "when disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it"? 


The answer to this question is a clear "yes".  So, according to Amos 3:6, disaster that comes to a city is, or at least often is, due to God's judgment.  I think that is interesting in light of the more frequent disasters we see coming on the earth today in 2011.  When a storm or an earthquake or tornado hits a city, there is sufficient evidence to at least conclude that the disaster was a form of God's judgment.  This is something that we have a hard time accepting these days but I do believe there is Biblical truth to this.


Many Christians today don't understand how they should view the Old Testament in light of being New Testament Christians.  This shows up clearly when they pick and choose what laws in the Law of Moses they wish to obey, tithing being one of the most important laws church leaders want their people to obey, which might well be self serving.  Another way this lack of understanding shows up is the neglect of seeing that God still judges nations today.  Many Christians think that because we live in the age of grace, God overlooks national sins.  I see no Scripture to support this thinking.    


You cannot leave or comment on verse  6 without commenting on verse 7.  Verse 7 must be commented on when speaking about God bringing disaster to a city.  God says in verse 7 that He does nothing except He warns people ahead of time through His prophets.  Therefore, if a disaster comes to a city, God warns the people through prophets before it happens.  If there is no warning, you can assume the disaster was not caused by the Lord.  That being said, one might say there was no warning when in fact there might have been.  He might just have not heard, or didn't want to hear the warning.


It's my thinking that at this present moment, here in 2011, that there is sufficient prophetic warning concerning the days ahead.  So, when the disaster comes, one cannot say he was not warned.  I believe the ministry of the prophet is alive and well today.


Billy Graham would not call himself a prophet, and personally I don't think he was.  That being said, he warned America , and the west, years ago that national sin would bring judgment.  So, I believe when Katrina hit the southern United States, this was a form of God's judgment.  I know that is not the prevailing thinking among secular people today as well as among many if not most Christians, but how else can you conclude the reason for Katrina, especially with this passage in mind. 


Verse 8 says, "the lion has roared, who will not hear".  This analogy is simple.  The Bible often speaks of God roaring like a lion when He is about to demonstrate His wrath.  This verse simply states that God has already roared.  The next thing He will do is bring judgment to Israel.  Once the lion roars, once God roars, the prophets have no other choice than to warn the people that disaster is on its way unless repentance is found very quickly.  I think the lion is beginning to roar today.


At this point I'd like to point out that there is a distinct difference between God judging a nation and God judging individuals.  Humanity's sin was judged when Jesus died on the cross.  Jesus was judged and condemned and punished on our behalf.  Jesus did not die for nations, but for people.  Therefore nations are still judged.   Christians living in these nations will suffer along with the rest of the nations when God judges that nation, as did Israel in the first few judgments when God judged Egypt in Moses' day.  That being said, God still looks after His people in these times of judgment, as He also did in the days when He judged Egypt. 


It appears to me that the mentioning of Ashdod and Egypt in verse 9 means that both of these places have the judgment of God on Israel proclaimed to them.  They will see God's judgment of a rebellious people, who oppress their own people, as the last half of verse 9 suggests.


In verse 10 the Lord says, "they", meaning Israel, "do not know how to do right".  Even though Israel has the Law of Moses in their possession, they still don't know how to obey.  It's just not in them to obey.  This is the tendency of all fallen men and women.  No matter who they are, or what time in history it is, whether Old or New Testament times, we just can't seem to do right.  The problem is that we think we are doing right.  We, and that includes Christians, are so far removed from God's standards of right and wrong that what we think is right really isn't right.  Israel was in this situation and was ready to be judged for this failure.


Verse 10 also speaks of the plundering and looting mentality of Israel.  Again, they are an unjust nation.


Because of Israel's failure to obey their God, as stated in verse 11, another nation will overrun Israel.  This would be how God judges Israel.  He will have other nations do His work for Him.  In the case of the northern kingdom, it was Assyria that overthrew Israel .  In the case of the southern kingdom of Judah, it was Babylon who overthrew them.  This is how I believe it works with the nations in history.  They rise and fall depending on God's judgment of these nations.  And, God still judges nations today. 


Verse 12 may be hard to figure out at first but if you read it slowly you will see the meaning.  God speaks of a lion attacking a sheep and the shepherd tries to save the sheep from the lion but can't.  He only rescues part of the sheep.  This speaks of what the Bible calls the "remnant of Israel ".  In the end, at the end of this age, there will be some Israelis who find salvation, just as there were some Israelis back in Amos' day who would be spared in order for the descendents of Abraham not to be totally wiped out and lost forever.  God could not allow this to happen because He promised Himself in the Abrahamic Covenant that Israel in the future would be a great, large, and powerful nation.


Notice in verse 13 the phrase "house of Jacob".  I remind you that this is in reference to all of Israel, not just the northern or southern kingdom.


In verse 14 the first thing we see God destroy in Israel are the religious things concerning their pagan worship. This is what would have bothered the Lord the most.  The second thing God will destroy is the winter homes, the summer homes, and the mansions.  These homes represent the financial prosperity of Israel. At this time in history, they had become very materialistic and wealthy.  Their wealth has been a snare to them, drawing them away from their God, so that which represents their wealth will be destroyed in judgment.  I suggest the western world today thinks seriously about this.  Our material wealth has taken us away from the God we once served.  Wealth itself has become our God.   We will be judged for this, and we are probably right now in the beginning stages of God's judgment.


Previous Section - chapters 1 and 2

Next Section - chapter 4

Home Page