This promise of judgment against Israel began in chapter
2 verse 6 and shows no sign of letting up. Now the Lord
will single out the complacent and the proud.
Woe To The Complacent
Woe to you who are complacent in
Zion, and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria, you
notable men of the foremost nation, to whom the people
of Israel come! Go to Calneh and look at it; go from
there to great Hamath, and then go down to Gath in
Philistia. Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
Is their land larger than yours?
You put off the evil day and
bring near a reign of terror. You lie on beds inlaid
with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on
choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your
harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest
lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
your feasting and lounging will end. (Amos
Our sin nature gives us a natural inclination toward
evil (Romans 7:18). The moment we let down our guard it begins worming its
way slowly into our lives. The only way to prevent this
is to remain constantly on guard. Complacency is the
best ally evil has. Complacency lets footholds become
strongholds and pretty soon we’re tolerating things that
would have shocked us just a short time earlier.
There’s an old saying that building blocks can become
stumbling blocks. Two primary building blocks of any
society are security and prosperity, and the Northern
Kingdom had both. True to form, as the people became
more secure and more prosperous they became more
complacent, tolerating things they would have rejected
earlier. In their case it was idolatry and the
mistreatment of the less fortunate. The wealthy viewed
their enviable lifestyles as a sign that they were OK
with God. But their tolerance of evil had hastened the
Day of Judgment, and that day had come.
In the US the Christian Church has enjoyed over 200
years of being the quasi-official religion of the
nation, much of it during times of unparalleled security
and prosperity. Some of us can still remember when the
Lord’s name was invoked at the beginning of public
meetings, in school assemblies, and even in our
But then things began to change. Freedom of religion
became freedom from religion. School prayer was banned.
The murder of the pre-born was legalized. The church’s
complacency in reacting to these things opened the door
to more and more evil until what used to be called
pornography is now called public entertainment, we’ve
murdered over 50 million pre-born children, “alternative
lifestyles” are promoted and celebrated, and the phrase
“family values” is considered hate speech by many.
Our complacency has rendered us incapable of responding
to these challenges as well, even though the US Census
Bureau said 76% of adult Americans claimed to be
Christian in 2012, and both our security and our
prosperity are notably diminished.
The LORD Abhors The Pride Of Israel
The Sovereign LORD has sworn by
himself—the LORD God Almighty declares: “I abhor the
pride of Jacob and detest his fortresses; I will deliver
up the city and everything in it.”
If ten men are left in one
house, they too will die. And if a relative who is to
burn the bodies comes to carry them out of the house and
asks anyone still hiding there, “Is anyone with you?”
and he says, “No,” then he will say, “Hush! We must not
mention the name of the LORD.”
For the LORD has given the
command, and he will smash the great house into pieces
and the small house into bits. Do horses run on the
rocky crags? Does one plow there with oxen? But you have
turned justice into poison and the fruit of
righteousness into bitterness- you who rejoice in the
conquest of Lo Debar and say, “Did we not take Karnaim
by our own strength?” For the LORD God Almighty
declares, “I will stir up a nation against you, O house
of Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo
Hamath to the valley of the Arabah.” (Amos 6:8-14)
It was too late for the Northern Kingdom. Samaria, it’s
capital and the pride of Jacob, would be conquered and
destroyed. Having desired to be free of the Lord, they
would get their wish. The very mention of His name, once
a source of comfort to them, would now bring down His
wrath. All that the Northern Kingdom had gained by
conquest would be lost until finally the entire nation
would cease to exist, from Lebo Hamath in the North to
the Arabah in the South.
In their own way, many American Christians of today are
just as prideful as the ancient Israelites were.
They can’t distinguish our country from our church. They
pray for God to “heal our land” as if America was the
Church’s homeland, not realizing our citizenship is in
Heaven (Phil. 3:20-21). Only American Christians search the Scriptures
for mention of our country, thinking a people as
important as we are must surely be there. They
don’t realize that in the Bible American Christians are
called “The Church” just like Christians of every other
Locusts, Fire And A Plumb Line
This is what the Sovereign LORD
showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the
king’s share had been harvested and just as the second
crop was coming up. When they had stripped the land
clean, I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can
Jacob survive? He is so small!”
So the LORD relented. “This will
not happen,” the LORD said.
This is what the Sovereign LORD
showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment
by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the
Then I cried out, “Sovereign
LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so
So the LORD relented. “This will
not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.
This is what he showed me: The
Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to
plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD asked
me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied.
Then the Lord said, “Look, I am
setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will
spare them no longer. “The high places of Isaac will be
destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined;
with my sword I will rise against the house of
The Lord showed Amos visions of two potential
punishments for Israel. One was a plague of locusts that
would strip away all the vegetation and the other was
fire that would devour the land. Amos pleaded with the
Lord against both these judgments, and the Lord
The third vision, that of a plumb line, symbolized a
builder surveying the accuracy of his work. Finding it
to be out of plumb, he would tear it down and begin
again. God’s plumb line was His righteousness. He
measured the Northern Kingdom and found them out of
plumb. His demolition agent was Assyria. Amos did not
talk Him out of this one.
I don’t think it needs mentioning that America doesn’t
measure up to God’s standards either. Once He has taken
the Church, who are righteous by faith, He will set
about demolishing what’s left of America as well.
For God knows how to rescue godly people from trials
while holding the unrighteous for the day of judgment (2
Amos And Amaziah
Then Amaziah the priest of
Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos
is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of
Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is
what Amos is saying: ” ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword,
and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their
Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get
out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your
bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t
prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s
sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was
neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a
shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.
But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to
me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now then, hear the word of the
LORD. You say, ” ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and
stop preaching against the house of Isaac.’
“Therefore this is what the LORD
says: ” ‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your
land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself
will die in a pagan country. And Israel will certainly
go into exile, away from their native land.’ “ (Amos 7:10-17)
The prophecies of Amos now turn from national to
personal. The king himself would die by the sword.
Amaziah took exception to this pronouncement and to
Amos’ encroachment upon his territory in general. He
knew Amos was from the south so he told him to go back
there, and earn his keep by prophesying about the south.
But Amos hadn’t been hired by anyone to come north. He
was doing what the Lord had commanded. And one thing the
Lord commanded was to pronounce judgment on Amaziah and
his family. The other was to confirm Israel’s demise.
But Wait, There’s More
There’s an interesting footnote to
Amos 7, but
you have to read Amos in the Septuagint (Greek)
translation to see it. Instead of verse 1 reading like
it does above, the Septuagint reads like this:
Thus has the Lord
God showed me; and behold, a swarm of locusts coming
from the east; and behold, one caterpillar, king Gog.
This is one of three mentions of Gog in the Scripture
spanning a time of nearly 3000 years, here in the 8th
Ezekiel 38 in the 21st Century AD and
the end of the Millennium.
Apparently the Septuagint translators understood that
God had a supernatural force in mind for the potential
judgment he had Amos preview in his vision. In their
7:1 Gog is identified as the king of the locusts.
30:27 states that ordinary locusts have no king, and
observers of locust swarms agree that no obvious leader
directs them, as a queen would direct a hive of bees.
Is Gog a supernatural figure from Satan’s camp that God
uses as a leader of demonic forces to bring judgment
upon His people? The wide span of time covered by his
appearances would seem to support this view. And if
that’s the case we can understand why Amos would prefer
Assyria to a swarm of demonic locusts as God’s agency of
This lends insight to another appearance of locusts as
well. I’m referring to
where a swarm of locusts comes out of the Abyss to
afflict those on Earth who lack the seal of God on their
foreheads. These locusts have a king named Abaddon in
the Hebrew or Appolyon in the Greek. Here again,
would indicate that this is not an ordinary swarm of
locusts, but a demonic agency of judgment. Only
the 144,000 witnesses from the 12 Tribes named in
will be sealed in advance of this judgment, every other
living being, believer or not, will be fair game for
this agonizing attack. The locusts will not have
the power to kill them, only to make them wish they were
dead (Rev. 9:5-6).
Time will tell if my opinion of Gog is true or not, but
I can’t help thinking that perhaps Amos got a glimpse of
one of the end times judgments coming upon the world.
More next time as our study in Amos concludes. 03-09-13