AMOS 4:1


The Bible says in Amos 4:1-3, “Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink.[2] The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks.[3] And ye shall go out at the breaches, every cow at that which is before her; and ye shall cast them into the palace, saith the LORD.” Bashan was part of Israel, so we know that God was talking to the Israelites again. Two sins of these people were pointed out. The first sin was described by saying that they “oppress the poor” and they “crush the needy.” In other words they used other people in order to advance themselves, and then once they were successful, they had no compassion for those who had less material prosperity. God cares about all people, and God wants people to care about others too. If you do not care about others, then you are not like God: you are ungodly and you are wicked. The second sin of the Israelites is described by quoting the Israelites who say, “Let us drink.” The abuse of alcohol is commonly associated with those who do not know or serve God. Why would the use of alcohol and thus other drugs be regarded so negatively by the Bible? Here is the answer: God is concerned with what human beings think and do. God wants us to have the best thoughts and the best actions. But alcohol and other drugs can cause us to thin and do things that we should not. Alcohol and drugs are enemies of good behavior and right thinking.


When God pronounced a judgment in Amos 4:2, notice that the judgment started with these words, “The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness.” The holiness of God motivates Him to bring judgment upon this sinful earth. God is so holy and we are so sinful that judgment must come. God did say that He “hath sworn.” Judgment is going to happen. God has promised that it will come. The Bible is all about the coming judgment on sin for all individuals and all nations. There is one escape: come to Jesus to be saved. When you get saved by trusting in Jesus, you get saved from the judgment of a holy God against sinful people. When Jesus died on the cross, He suffered that judgment in our place.


When God pronounced judgment against the Israelites, God mentioned the “breaches.” These are the gaps and the breaks that would occur in their defenses and their walls. Human beings have always done what they could to protect themselves in a dangerous world. But it will not be enough without also trusting in the Lord. That is what God is telling the Israelites: what they have done to protect themselves will fail. God will make it fail. That will be part of His judgment. Do your best, but also trust in the Lord Jesus and ask for His help. You need Him more than you know.


The Bible says in Amos 4:4-11, “Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years:[5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.[6] And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.[7] And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.[8] So two or three cities wandered unto one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.[9] I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured them: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.[10] I have sent among you the pestilence after the manner of Egypt: your young men have I slain with the sword, and have taken away your horses; and I have made the stink of your camps to come up unto your nostrils: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.[11] I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD. 


Notice that in Amos 4:4 God gives these wicked Israelites the freedom to sin. He told them to go ahead and transgress. God said, “Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression.” That is because God gives human beings a free choice and they had already made their choice. One of the worse things that can happen to you is to get what you want. You are blessed and helped greatly by the Lord when He does not give you what you want. That is because He knows things you do not know on how it will all work out. Many people who married too young got married to someone that they should have never married. Yes, they wanted them very badly when they first got married, but if they could have seen further down the road, they would have never married that person.  


God gave the Israelites the freedom to make their own choice, but then they had to bear the consequences of that choice. Concerning the consequences that included judgment from God, notice that God says to the Israelites about God’s judgment that would come upon them in Amos 4:6, “And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.” On the lighter side, I know my dentist would not think of this as a bad thing, but a good thing. Why would clean teeth be a judgment upon them? Evidently, people who lived 3,000 years ago did not have the same dental hygiene practices that we do now in the modern world. If they ate well, then they had food particles on their teeth. To have “cleanness of teeth” means that they did not eat well. Starving would give them cleanness of teeth. That is what God was saying: they would starve as a result of turning from Him. They would starve because their crops would fail and insects would devour them. They would suffer from not having enough water, and their young men would perish in war. Turning away from the Lord does not end well for anyone. And then in Amos 4:11 God compares them to Sodom and Gomorrah when He says to them, “I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.  


The Bible says in Amos 4:12-13, “Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.[13] For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name.” The great phrase from these verses is found at the end of verse 12 where God says, “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” That is good advice to anyone because we are all going to die. Many people are not prepared. Sadly far too many will stand before God unprepared. How do you get prepared? You turn from your sins with true repentance and you turn to Jesus. It will be a terrible thing to stand before God still in one’s sins, especially because it is totally unnecessary since Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for everyone’s sins. As a reminder of how terrible it will be to stand before God to be judged for one’s actions and thus to pay for one’s own sins, it says in Revelation 20:11-15, “” God does not want anyone to face such an eternity. That is why God the Father sent Jesus to die on the cross, and that is why God gives warnings to people who are on eth earth and says to them, “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.


The Bible says in Amos 5:1-6, “Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.[2] The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.[3] For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:[5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought.[6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.” Before God pronounces His judgment in these verses, He calls the in verse 2 “the virgin of Israel.” Even though they were terribly sinful and unfaithful, God still called them by a name representing purity and faithfulness. Once again we see the doctrine of eternal security made manifest. Once you are in Christ, you have a standing before God of righteousness that nothing can take away. Your own failures cannot take away that standing. Once you are a child of God, you will always be a child of God.


God gave them the actual percentage of how many would perish in the wars and pestilences to come against them when God said in Amos 5:3, “The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten.” Ninety percent would die. What a terrible destruction was heading their way, and yet there was still a solution even at that last hour. God told them both in Amos 5:4 and Amos 5:6, “Seek the LORD, and ye shall live.” The message is clear. Human beings are always seeking something. Make sure that you seek the Lord. Make sure that He is your priority, and then you will find a solution to the spiritual problems that will otherwise plague you.


The Bible says in Amos 5:7-8, “Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,[8] Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.” God says two things about these backslidden children of Israel in Amos 5:7. They “turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth.” The use of the word “wormwood” describes something that is noxious or poisonous. Judgment refers to discernment or the making of decisions about various matters. We have judges in every nation who make decisions about the issues that come before them. Once honest judgment has gone awry, the whole society is falling apart. When this happens, the decisions that people and judges make are bitter and noxious and poisonous because they make the wrong decisions and the wrong judgments. Wisdom comes from God. Those who turn away from Christ will not have wisdom.


God observed the backslidden children of Israel and God said that they “leave off righteousness in the earth.” God is holy. God always does the right thing, and He wants human beings to do the same. If you understand life, then you understand that to a great degree is a contest between good and evil and between right and wrong. You must consciously choose what is right, or you will definitely fall into evil.


In Amos 5:8 God gives an important reason that people should seek Him: God is the Creator and the Maker of everything you see. It says, “Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:” We know much more about the vastness of the universe than they did three thousand years ago. On a dark and clear night gaze at the stars, and think about the Creator who made all of that. He made everything that we cannot see and everything that we can. God made the morning and the evening, the night and the day. “This is the day the Lord hath made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Notice that Amos 5:8 says that God “turneth the shadow of death into the morning.” How do we experience the morning of a new day? At night we close our eyes and we go to sleep, and then we wake up in the morning and we have a new day, a beautiful day to live again. A morning is a new chance and a new opportunity to face the challenges and opportunities of life. We have failed yesterday, but we can try again today. It is just like God, being the giver that He is to give us a new day every twenty-four hours. It is just like God being the Forgiver that He is to give us a new chance every twenty-four hours. God is the Supreme Giver of new chances, and He gives everyone a new chance every twenty-four hours. Notice that God said that He “turneth the shadow of death into the morning.” Here is one way of looking at death: some day you will close your eyes for the last time, and in the morning you will have the best day ever (if you know Jesus). You will awaken to the eternal day of life forever in heaven.    



Copyright; 2014 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved