Remember 1 Cor 10:11. We are now in the second section of the book—the second prophetic proclamation.
We need to interpret Scripture by Scripture—using one part to understand another. Here we need to know the foundational revelation (the Torah) to understand Amos’ message.
I. The varied situations in which Israel continued in sin (4:1-11)
A. They sinned in a time of prosperity (4:1-3).
1. Amos points out the sin of the women.
Comment: God does not worry about being politically correct. In a sexist or racist society, like America, one worries about speaking against the sins of any group. God is not sexist or racist. He does not play favorites (Ac 10:34-35), and he feels free to address people in their sins (Ti 1:12f).
a. He compared them to fattened cows. (Bashan was a lush, green area.) We should be careful not to turn God’s gifts into a means to satisfy our sinful lusts. This is too easily done!
b. He exposed their oppression of the poor. Contrast 1 Tm 5:10
c. He pointed out the danger of being enslaved by strong drink. Prov 20:1; 23:20-21; 23:29-35
2. He presents a contrast with the Holy God (4:2). If you want to know what you really are like, compare yourself to God (Is 6:1-7). Exposure to God’s holy character will bring your glaring deficiencies to light.
3. A possible interpretation of “with hooks”
a. It was an illustration—like being caught like fish.
b. The Assyrians really used “hooks”. We have examples from archaeology.
B. They sinned in their acts of worship (4:4-5).
1. Probably there is no wrong indicated by “leaven” (cf. Lev 7:13). The problem was their religious pride. They were involved in religious ritual and gloried in it. Contrast Gal 6:14.
2. Two things that were wrong
a. Bethel, which was the place of “Jacob’s ladder”, but also of one of Jeroboam’s golden calves
b. Gilgal, which was the place of Israel’s first camp in the Promised Land (cf. Ho 9:15)
Apply: Past experiences cannot provide grace. God deals with us in the present tense. Is he changing you now?
C. They sinned in spite of corrective judgments (4:6-11).
1. Notice the recurring refrain or chorus—“yet you have not returned to me”. It is used five times. We might expect judgments to change people. We ought to respond positively to correction, but often we do not. Grace changes, and not experiences.
2. The judgments recorded here are just what God said he would do if Israel sinned and departed from him. This is in agreement with the principle asserted in 3:7. Let’s look at these judgments and God’s previously announced threat (Dt 28:15ff).
a. Empty stomachs – Dt 28:53; 2 Ki 8:1
b. Withhold rain – Dt 11:17; 28:23; 2 Chrn 7:13
c. Blight and mildew – Dt 28:22
d. Locusts – Dt 28:38, 42; 2 Chrn 7:13
e. Plagues – Dt 28:22,27-28,35,59-61; 2 Chrn 7:13
3. Truths to put to heart
a. What God says, God does. Do not put God to the test.
b. We should look for God’s hand in everyday events. In daily events we should be seeking God and asking, “Is there something I should be learning?”
c. Every believer is a “snatched one” (4:11; cf. Zech 3:2). It is important to keep this in mind to prevent spiritual pride. We are not here because we are better than others, but only because of God’s free and sovereign grace (1 Cor 4:7; 15:10).
II. The verdict announced to them because of their sin (4:12-13)
A. Israel must face God.
1. There is no escape (4:12).
Apply: We must listen to God’s warnings while there is hope (Prov 29:1; Is 55:6-7).
2. Compare the situation in Ex 19:15-16, where they were told to prepare to receive God’s law.
B. Israel must have a proper concept about the God they would face (4:13).
1. Considered from what he does
2. Considered from his name—it proclaims his ability to do what he says. He is the Lord God Almighty.
Apply: We must properly revere God’s name. It reveals all that he is. He is able to speak and to do.
Pastor Dave Frampton
When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church