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Amos 7-9: Five Visions of Judgment

Majoring in the Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Notes & Transcripts

Introduction

If you have not done so yet, please turn your Bibles to the book of Amos.
We looked at chapters four through six in our last lesson, seeing the things that Israel and Judah put their trust in: their comfort, security, and riches physically and their worship of God. They blinded themselves from seeing that their wealth and comfort physically did not prove that God was pleased with them and that the fact that they are “worshipping” did not erase the fact that their worship was all about themselves and could not make up for their sin.
Today, our goal is to finish the book of Amos. We will study chapters seven through nine. This section contains a series of visions that Amos is given by the Lord.

Vision 1 - Locusts

Amos is shown a swarm of locusts. This is not a good thing. Locusts destroy the crops.
A swarm of locust
How do you feel about locust if you live in Amos’ day?
God says that the locusts were going to come “after the king’s mowing. This is talking about his share of the crops - his tax of the crops. He gets the first mowing, and the rest of it belongs to the people;
When does the locust come?
After the king’s mowing
The king has gotten his share and the people haven’t gotten theirs yet, and the locust will come along and devastate it. Just when they were about to harvest for themselves the locust come in and eat the vegetation of the land…
What’s the king’s mowing?
The king’s taxes…he gets the first mowing; that would be his and the rest of it belongs to the people; the king has laid in his; the people haven’t gotten theirs yet and the locust come along and devastate it…just when they were about to harvest for themselves the locust come in and eat the vegetation of the land
That’s what God shows Amos. What does Amos do? He pleads with God. He intercedes on Israel’s behalf. He is concerned about how weak Israel can survive this. This is surely not what they thought about themselves. They thought they were big and strong. But Amos, knowing better, is concerned.
What does Amos do?
He pleads with God. He intercedes on Israel’s behalf.
What argument does he use to get God to pardon and relent against Israel?
We are small…how ironic; how did Israel see themselves? as big and strong
They only hope for their survival is pleading with God that they are so small that they need His mercy. Amos knows that God helps the weak and helpless.
APPLICATION
When we ask for help from God what is our best tactic? To ask for help on the basis of how great we are? We need to humble ourselves. Too often we think we need to prove we deserve it; we need to prove we need it. Instead, we need to depend on God. Don’t try to recite our resume to God; we need help.
To ask for help on the basis of how great we are?
We need to humble ourselves…too often we think we need to prove we deserve it; we need to prove we need it; we need to depend on God; don’t try to recite our resume to God; we need help
God responds to Amos’ request. He changes His mind! He decides not to bring the locusts upon Israel!
Does prayer change God’s mind? Yes.
Remember other cases where people intervened with God and God relented and did not punish…Moses is the classic example

Vision 2 - Fire

This time, Amos sees fire coming to destroy. Fire and locust are kind of in the same genre. They both just destroy everything in their path.
Fire
Amos once again pleads on behalf of Israel, asking the LORD not to bring this judgment. And what does the LORD do? He once again changes His mind!
Fire and locust are kind of in the same genre….they both just destroy everything in their path and what does Amos do? The very same thing
and what does Amos do? The very same thing
And what does the Lord do? The same thing
vs 1-3 and vs. 4-6 are parallel….emphasize the same point
Now let’s look at the third vision. This one is a little different.

Vision 3 - A Plumb Line

This time what does Amos see? A plumb line. A plumb line is a string with a weight on one end. This tool was used to assist builders judge the straightness of a wall vertically.
A plumb line is a line with a weight on one end. This tool was used to assist builders judge the straightness of a wall ver cally.
What’s a plumb line? Line with a weight on the end of it
This was a common Old Testament picture of judgment. The application here is, “How does Israel line up with the standard God has given?” Are they on the straight or narrow or are the crooked? They are crooked and perverse.
IT seems like the reason for this third vision is to remind Amos what kind of people he is praying for. He is praying for a stubborn and obstinate people. God is showing Amos how crooked they are and how they need to be punished, helping Amos see the people how God sees the people.
To show how crooked Israel was
Up until now, Amos has been begging for mercy from God for the people
God is showing Amos how crooked they are and how they need to be punished…letting Amos see the people how God sees the people
Now Amos doesn’t plead for mercy because the plumb line shows the need for justice.
And we see in this vision that God is going to devastate a couple of things?
Their religion…their high places and sanctuaries
The kingly dynasty - the house of Jeroboam.
Israel goes by a lot of names; just like the U.S.; America; Washington; Uncle Sam
Next we have a narrative section

Interlude - Opposition (7:10-17)

Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, hear’s Amos’ message, and he goes to the king - to Jeroboam II. He tells Jeroboam, “Amos has conspired against you; the land is unable to endure all his words; we can’t tolerate this; Amos is speaking in treasonous terms.”
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, tells Jeroboam what?
Amos has conspired against you; the land is unable to endure all his words; we can’t tolerate this; Amos is inciting rebellion; he is speaking in treasonous terms
Amaziah is seeing Amos in political terms, not religious terms. He sees Amos as a trouble-maker, not thinking about this in terms of the Lord. He sees Amos as working to undermine the authority of the king.
He sees Amos as a rebel-rouser….not thinking about this in terms of the Lord
Sees Amos as working to undermine the authority of the king; looks at it as political propaganda
So, Amaziah turns to Amos and tells him to do what, quite possibly giving him a message from Jeroboam. He tells him to leave and go back to Judah. His message is not appreciated in Israel. It will be better accepted in Judah.
Leave and go to Judah
What’s the incentive he give him?
Amos answers in , saying that God took him away from his livelihood as a herdsman and grower of figs and gave him the mission to go and prophesy. That doesn’t leave him a lot of options. God said “go,” he must go.
What’s Amos’ answer?
I’m not a professional prophet. He’s not prophesying to make a living. It has nothing to do with money; not something he chose for himself anyhow; why is he doing this? God said to go and prophesy. That doesn’t leave him a lot of options
Not doing this for the money; no amount of money will do anything for him
Amos says: Read vs. 17
Then here is Amos’ message for Amaziah:
Amos says: Read vs. 17
Now hear the word of the Lord. You say: Do not prophesy against Israel; do not preach against the house of Isaac. Therefore, this is what the Lord says: Your wife will be a prostitute in the city, your sons and daughters will fall by the sword, and your land will be divided up with a measuring line. You yourself will die on pagan soil, and Israel will certainly go into exile from its homeland.” (, CSB)
Did Amaziah’s threat intimidate Amos? Doesn’t look like it
Amos was not intimidated at all. He speaks with even more boldness and says some strong stuff!
He returns right back to what he was saying even stronger, with no apologies
Amaziah wanted to kick Amos out of Israel, but Amos says that God will kick Amaziah out of Israel… they are the ones who are really going to leave. Your family will be destroyed, and you will go into captivity and die on foreign soil.
It’s what God told you to do; you don’t back down because it’s God’s message
Amaziah tried to kick Amos out of Israel, but God will kick Amaziah out of Israel…they are the ones who are going to leave
They don’t know what to do with Amos who is speaking from conviction; kind of buffalos Amaziah who doesn’t understand if you aren’t preaching for money then why are youpreaching

Vision 4 - A Basket of Summer Fruit (8:1-6)

In this vision, Amos sees a basket of fruit. Summer fruit would be symbolic of ripeness. The nation is ripe for judgment and destruction.
God asks Amos what he sees and what does he see?
Summer fruit
would be symbolic of ripeness. The na on is ripe for judgment and destruc on.
A basket of fruit..he’s really observant
And once again, Amos does not ask for mercy for Israel because of the state of the people. They were trampling the needy and were self focused religiously so they can. Their greatest concern was making more money, no matter who was hurt in the process.
The harvest imagery is judgment imagery…about time to pick Israel; God is going to bring a harvest of judgment
Palace will turn to wailing..devastation for Israel
So the Lord here talks about the judgments He is bringing on Israel. He talks about the earthquake He is bringing that was talked about in 1:1. Around the same time there will be darkness during the day, like what happens during a solar eclipse. The LORD wants them to see that the earthquake is not just a natural disaster. It is from the LORD. And these events, we see in verse 10, will lead some to mourn and to wear sackcloth. Some may try to find a prophet of the LORD…
This time Amos doesn’t ask for a stay of execution
This time Amos accepts the punishment
The harvest time has come; their conduct has made them ripe for judgment
This is a sad commentary on their behavior and attitude.
8:4-6
Wow…if that isn’t a sad commentary on their behavior and attitude
But it will be too late, because a prophet will not be able to be found. The LORD, in verses 11-14, says there will be a famine in the land. It is not a famine for bread but a famine of the word of God. It will get to the point for them that they will want to know the LORD’s will and it will be too late for them. They had the preaching of the word NOW. They needed to listen while they still had a chance to repent.
Stomp on ‘em
Hurry up and get to the market so we can cheat people
Dishonest profits were so good it was annoying to interrupt their corrupt business practices to have to have a feast day and the Sabbath
All they care about is making money; nothing else really matters
Wonder they even honor the feast days….people are hypocritical and grudgingly honor the feast days but they can’t wait to get back to mistreat the helpless
To make the bushel smaller and the shekel bigger…one measure for the seller and another measure for the buyer; it’s not fair; it’s not right; doing anything they could to manipulate the process for their own gain; selling the refuse (vs 6)-the garbage
In a culture that as long as you can get by with it, that’s okay
God cares about justice and honesty—not just what the market will bear
Integrity counts
8:7-10
Lord sworn by the pride of Jacob….either He is swearing by Himself since He is the pride of Jacob; or nothing any more firm then Israel’s pride
either way…the Lord has sworn that He will not forget any of their deeds
God will judge them for what they have done
The land will quake….almost like the land will rise up against them
A lot of signs of mourning…mourning about the terrible judgment and devastation
God is going to bring them down and punish them
8:11-14
The time is coming when God is going to send a famine…what kind of a famine?
Not a famine for bread but a famine for the word of God
They will search for Him everywhere and they can’t find Him…even vigorous young men will faint from this thirst
They had gotten the word of the Lord so much they didn’t want it….now they want it, they can’t find it
APPLICATION
vs 14…you will be brought down and you won’t be brought back up
Samaria, Dan & Beersheba….places they had their idols
There is an application in this for us. How accessible is the word of the LORD to us today? WE take having God’s word for granted sometimes. We have an abundance of God’s word and can even read it at any moment on our cell phones, but with such access to it, it is not something that we hunger and thirst for. God wants us to read it, to be convicted to change to be more like Jesus, and he is being patient with us hoping we would come to repentance, but we ignore the word. But the time will come when God’s patience will run out. The time will come when we won’t be able to get access to it any more. Judgment will come while we are putting off doing what is right. We need to get into the word now while we have the opportunity and blessing to be in it and to be changed by it.
Now, let’s look at the final vision:

Vision 5 - The LORD Beside the Altar

In 9:1, Amos sees the LORD standing beside the altar (probably speaking of one of their idolatrous altars). The Lord strikes the altar and breaks it. The altar will be useless. It won’t be a refuge for them. And we have a picture here of the temple around the altar falling down on the heads of those within it, and any who escape his judgment will be caught by the sword. None will escape. There’s no sanctuary; no fortress; no religion that can save them. God’s wrath will consume them.
Lord standing by altar in temple and He brings the whole thing down on their heads…their sanctuaries and worship can’t save them…there’s no sanctuary; no fortress; no religion that can save them
What it took Jehu 80 men to do for the Baal worshippers…the Lord by Himself does for the whole nation…there is no fugitive who escapes; they can go anywhere they want to….they can go down as far as Sheol; they can go up as far as heaven; conceal themselves on Mt. Carmel; the sea shore; captivity…anywhere they go, they can’t get away from God
Is it good or bad that you can’t get away from God? Depends on what side you are on
….anywhere you go, you have God’s love with you
He makes this point in verses 7-8:
But also, you can’t escape the wrath of God
Anywhere they were, God would destroy them
Israelites, are you not like the Cushites to me? This is the Lord’s declaration. Didn’t I bring Israel from the land of Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Arameans from Kir? Look, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will obliterate it from the face of the earth. ” (, CSB)
vs. 5-6….brief praise of God
Need to think about who God is and His greatness so we properly respect Him
If they are living like the other nations, He will treat them like the Gentiles, not like they are His chosen people. And do you see what He says here: God gave other nations an “Exodus” also. He blessed other nations. What made Israel His special people is that He made a covenant with Abraham and gave them His law. But they are neglecting the covenant they have with Him.
9:7-10
Are you any different than the Ethiopians to me?
The Ethiopians would have been pagan that they would have looked down on and they were nothing
God said you are just like they are to me
Makes the point, I brought up the Ethiopians; Philistines from Caphtor; Arameans from Kir…God had given them their exodus also…Israel not as unique as they think they are
Makes the point, I brought up the Ethiopians; Philistines from Caphtor; Arameans from Kir…God had given them their exodus also…Israel not as unique as they think they are
If God delivering you meant you were never punished by God than Philistines and Arameans would have never been punished because God brought them up
Just because God blessed a nation doesn’t mean he will never punish them
Such a statement that God is ruling over all the nations and He shows His care and concern over all the nations…God cared not only about Israel; but other nations too
vs. 8….God will separate the righteous from the wicked
The sinners of my people will die by the sword…especially the ones saying they would never be punished…the over-confident and self-righteous who thought it will never happen to us, it will happen to them
This whole idea of, “We are God’s chosen people and that means we are okay" is a myth.
We need to think about this ourselves and make application. Do you have faith? Are you obeying the covenant you dedicated your life to? These are what really matters. Faith working through love and righteousness. If we are living in sin, we will be judged right along with all those who don’t claim to be Christians.
9:11-15

Restoration (9:11-15)

This book closes with a glimmer of hope. God will restore the fallen shelter/tabernacle of David.
Raise up the fallen booth of David…
What was David’s role? King
Remember the promise to David that his descendents would reign forever..an eternal kingdom; David’s kingship over the nation had fallen; there was no Davidic king on the throne; He will raise back up the Davidic dynasty…He will bring the kingship of David back to life again….He did that through Jesus
Jesus was the great son of David who re-establishes God’s throne and dominion
quotes this passage:
After these things I will return
and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
After these things I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again, so the rest of humanity may seek the Lord— even all the Gentiles who are called by my name— declares the Lord who makes these things known from long ago.” (, CSB)
I will rebuild its ruins
and set it up again,
17 so the rest of humanity
may seek the Lord—
even all the Gentiles
who are called by my name—
declares the Lord
who makes these things 18 known from long ago.
All nations will be brought in to enjoy the Davidic kingdom. The Gentiles will be called by his name also. When David’s kingship was restored, it was broader than the original kingship…it was over all people and nations.
The Gentiles will be called by his name also
When David’s kingship was restored, it was broader than the original kingship…it was over all people…even included Edom, of all the unlikely people to include under David’s kingship….the Edomites were constant enemies of God’s people
Through David they would brought in and conquered by the gospel and brought into the kingship. God brings life where there is death - light where there is darkness - hope where there is despair. Great blessing and security where there is God’s wrath.
This book ends with this note of future hope…
We conclude Amos looking to blessings in the future
Most of Amos has talked about judgment against Israel’s wickedness
In vs 13-15…see the opposite of what you have seen before
Plowman overtake the reaper…so much to reap, ready to plow again before the reapers are done;
Up to their ears in grape juice
Contrast vs 14 with Chapter 5:11
Now they will get to enjoy the fruit of their labor
They will have safety and security…these are the great blessings to come after the judgment; God is faithful to His promises and covenant…He will bless them and give them so much
Even ends the book of Amos with hope to those faithful to God

Application & Conclusion

The question for us to answer for ourselves is, “Are we going to be part of the kingdom of Jesus?”
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