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Amos 4_1-13 Prepare to meet Your Maker

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Secular:

  • Who is God?
  • We easily forget without prompting…?
  • We begin to buy into Dr Phil?
  • Dodge truck commercials…
  • Our own feelings…
  • When we don’t like what God says we do lots to get away from it…
  • We make new versions, modified versions of our God…
  • We synthesize our more civil culture… and justify divorce… deny corporal punishment… mess up family roles…
  •  Who is God?
  • When we decide not to pray… decide to do wrong… do not follow scripture… when we deny truth?

Os Guiness & John Seel  said… “Idolatry is the most discussed problem in the Bible and one of the most powerful spiritual and intellectual concepts in the believer’s arsenal. Yet for Christians today it is one of the least meaningful notions and is surrounded with ironies. Perhaps this is why many evangelicals are ignorant of the idols in their lives...Contemporary evangelicals are little better at recognizing and resisting idols than modern secular people are...There can be no believing communities without an unswerving eye to the detection and destruction of idols.”

  •  Our hearts are a factory for idols…
  • All things that come before God… to fail to acknowledge this is to aid in the production process….

Biblical:

Amos 4:1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring now, that we may drink!" 2 The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness, "Behold, the days are coming upon you When they will take you away with meat hooks, And the last of you with fish hooks. 3 "You will go out through breaches in the walls, Each one straight before her, And you will be cast to Harmon," declares the LORD. 4 "Enter Bethel and transgress; In Gilgal multiply transgression! Bring your sacrifices every morning, Your tithes every three days. 5 "Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened, And proclaim freewill offerings, make them known. For so you love to do, you sons of Israel," Declares the Lord GOD. 6 "But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities And lack of bread in all your places, Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD. 7 "Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you While there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city And on another city I would not send rain; One part would be rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up. 8 "So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water, But would not be satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD. 9 "I smote you with scorching wind and mildew; And the caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD. 10 "I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD. 11 "I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD. 12 "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." 13 For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name.

Personal:

  •   I remember as kid… playing at home…
  • Mom and dad stepped out for only a an hour or so to visit friends across town…
  • I remember the sick sense of urgency when the car pulled into the driveway…
  • Straightening things, hiding things, fixing things, going over the details with my brother…. Of the “official story”
  • We had been up to no good… and we knew it…
  • Even as we were doing it… we knew we would eventually have to face the folks… and we did it anyway
  • And then the anxiety… guilt unresolved…
  • Co-mingled with panic!!

Bridge:

  • It’s time to live at peace…
  • Joy abundantly…
  • Repent of the Idols of our Heart…
  • And Prepare to Meet our Maker

Body:

The Idols of the Heart

Amos 4:1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring now, that we may drink!" 2 The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness, "Behold, the days are coming upon you When they will take you away with meat hooks, And the last of you with fish hooks. 3 "You will go out through breaches in the walls, Each one straight before her, And you will be cast to Harmon," declares the LORD.

  • Wealth, Greed, Power…
  • All the indicators of God’s blessing in their life?
  • No wonder they would want favourable prophets!
  • The judgments in Amos were first directed against those didn’t claim to follow God.
    • Damascus, Gaza, Edom, Moab, Ammn and Tyre….
  • The harshest judgment comes against those who claim to know God…
    • Judah
    • Israel
    • Nothing happens without a reason….
      • Ultimate glory to God
  •  And now we continue the focusing… and God is using the cows of Bashan as an example of the people of Israel.
    • Wealth
      • They lived opulent lifestyles
      • The area was very fertile… and they raised big livestock…
      • But the cows are the women of Bashan
      • And they lived to the oppression of others… oppress the poor, who crush the needy
      • No compassion or love…
  • Old Testament Scriptures:
  • Exodus 22: 21-22  - Do not oppress foreigners in any way. Remember, you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. Do not exploit widows or orphans.
  • Deuteronomy 14:28-29 At the end of every third year bring the tithe of all your crops and store it in the nearest town. Give it to the Levites, who have no inheritance among you, as well as to the foreigners living among you, the orphans, and the widows in your towns, so they can eat and be satisfied. Then the LORD your God will bless you in all your work.
  • Psalm 72: 12-14 He will rescue the poor when they cry to him; he will help the oppressed, who have no one to defend them. He feels pity for the weak and the needy, and he will rescue them. He will save them from oppression and from violence, for their lives are precious to him.
  • Psalm 82:3-4 "Give fair judgment to the poor and the orphan; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and helpless; deliver them from the grasp of evil people.
  • Proverbs 14:31 Those who oppress the poor insult their Maker, but those who help the poor honour him.
  • Proverbs 19:17 If you help the poor, you are lending to the LORD – and he will repay you!
  • Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the orphan. Fight for the rights of widows.
  • Luke 4:18-19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.
  • Luke 6:36 You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate.
  • 2 Corinthians 1:4 He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18-21 Now everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ; certain that God is appealing through us, we plead on Christ's behalf, "Be reconciled to God." He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  • James 1:27 Pure and lasting religion in the sight of God our Father means that we must care for orphans and widows in their troubles, and refuse to let the world corrupt us.
  • James 2:14-17 Dear brothers and sisters, what's the use of saying you have faith if you don't prove it by your actions? That kind of faith can't save anyone. Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, "Well, good-bye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well" – but then you don't give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn't enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn't show itself by good deeds is no faith at all – it is dead and useless.
  • They didn’t glorify God with their wealth…
  • They didn’t use it it grow in godliness
  • They didn’t surrender it to God… they made it God
  • If something you have or want takes priority it is an Idol.

Power…

  • In light of the oppressing… and crushing…
  • The next statement shows a complete disregard for God’s ordering of the home…
  • you cows of Bashan who are on the mountain of Samaria, Who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, Who say to your husbands, "Bring now, that we may drink!"
    • Both culturally and biblically… these women were being oppressive…
    • They were unkind…
    • They were domineering…
    • And not at all living according to God’s plan…
    • They had set up an idol in their heart…
    • It was power… oppress others including their spouse!
    • And that isn’t according to God’s plan…
    • Already we have seen God love of the oppressed and the demand on us to love and care for them…
    • But also… we know that there is a loving relationship between a man and woman…
    • Right roles according to God’s plan…
    • Ephesians 5:22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
  • We spend a lot of time and energy trying to justify our lifestyle, choices and preferences in scripture…
  • When we should be trying to hear its words and live its commands…
  • The cows of Bashan were worshipping the desires of the heart wealth and power…
  • Though they believed the were children in covenant with God… they disobeyed… chose their own path…
  • And God promises by his holiness…
    • His absolute intolerance for idolatry
    • To bring judgement….
      • Meat hooks through the  wall
      • Fish hooks through the wall
  • You will face judgement….
  • Here is the real fear….
  • Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
  • Is it sufficient to have a syncretistic faith…
  • Say I am a child of God and live like a child of this world?
  •  The cows of Bashan… thought they were children…
  • Who were they on the inside?
  • Idols of the Heart… what are yours!
    • It’s time to live at peace…
    • Joy abundantly…
    • Repent of the Idols of our Heart…
    • And Prepare to Meet our Maker

Sarcastic Call to Illegal Worship

4 "Enter Bethel and transgress; In Gilgal multiply transgression! Bring your sacrifices every morning, Your tithes every three days. 5 "Offer a thank offering also from that which is leavened, And proclaim freewill offerings, make them known. For so you love to do, you sons of Israel," Declares the Lord GOD.

  • Just go do it….
  • If you have idols in your heart… just go seek after them… worship them…
    • Worship in the wrong spot… they changed it
      • Bethel… Gilgal… instead of Jerusalem
    • Worship in an improper manner
      • Syncratic w/idols… illegitimate priests
    • Worship instead of righteous living
      • Going through the motions
  • The sacrificies…. Tithes (every 3 days)… free-will offering
  • LOUD and OVERHANDED….
  • Look at me…
  • Versus look at God…

You are worshipping the wrong things…

Sarcastic Call to Illegal Worship

    • It’s time to live at peace…
    • Joy abundantly…
    • Repent of the Idols of our Heart…
    • And Prepare to Meet our Maker

What we have Here is a Failure to Communicate!

"What we have here is a failure to communicate."

-The Colonel, Cool Hand Luke

Famine

6 "But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities And lack of bread in all your places, Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

Drought

7 "Furthermore, I withheld the rain from you While there were still three months until harvest. Then I would send rain on one city And on another city I would not send rain; One part would be rained on, While the part not rained on would dry up. 8 "So two or three cities would stagger to another city to drink water, But would not be satisfied; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

 

Agricultural Disasters

9 "I smote you with scorching wind and mildew; And the caterpillar was devouring Your many gardens and vineyards, fig trees and olive trees; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

 

Pestilence and War

10 "I sent a plague among you after the manner of Egypt; I slew your young men by the sword along with your captured horses, And I made the stench of your camp rise up in your nostrils; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

The Fate of Sodom and Gomorrah

11 "I overthrew you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand snatched from a blaze; Yet you have not returned to Me," declares the LORD.

  • These things should remind them of the Lord God Almighty…. * A Failure to Communicate…
    • It’s time to live at peace…
    • Joy abundantly…
    • Repent of the Idols of our Heart…
    • And Prepare to Meet our Maker

We will get things clear…

12 "Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; Because I will do this to you, Prepare to meet your God, O Israel."

  • There will come the day when any charade will be over…
  • When we can’t fake it or do it in our own strength….
  • We will give and account…
  • And the day is near…
  • And my heart bleeds for those who have bought into cheap grace or an easy Gospel….
    • Grace that does not cost… in not real
      • Faith costs
    • The Gospel costs
      • Give up our cows
  • Matthew 7:21 "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
  • Prepare to meet you maker… NOW…
  • For tomorrow may be too late!
  • We will see clearly…
  • 1 Corinthians 13:12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.
  • Things will get clear…
    • And mere verbal ascent will not buy salvation…
    • Only a life lived unto Christ… surrendered Mind, Body and Soul.

The Lord God Almighty

13 For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind And declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness And treads on the high places of the earth, The LORD God of hosts is His name.

  • Never forget who is Lord
  • Never our thoughts or desires…
  • But our God as revealed in Scritpure…
  • Not our culture or good pleasure
  • But the God of creation
  • Not our wealth, not our toys
  • But Yahweh…
    • It’s time to live at peace…
    • Joy abundantly…
    • Repent of the Idols of our Heart…
    • And Prepare to Meet our Maker

Conclusion:

  • To whom do you worship…
  • What could you not do without?
  • For whom do you live all things?
  • God first…
  • Because one day He will ask you about all your choices… and ask Whom did you serve?
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