The Book of Obadiah

The Book of Obadiah focuses exclusively on the nation of Edom. Obadiah’s message centers on the approaching Day of the Lord and the promise that Israel will possess the land of Edom.

Edom, the Edomites, are the descendants of Esau. The Edomites had first refused to aid the Israelites during the time of their wandering in the wilderness (Numbers 20:14-21), and later during the time of invasion.

The Hebrew name Obadyah means “Worshiper of Yahweh” or “Servant of Yahweh.”

Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament. This book is a great example and response to anyone who would harm God’s children.

Judgment on Edom

Verse 1 – The vision of Obadiah. Thus says the Lord God concerning Edom: We have heard a report from the Lord, and a messenger has been sent among the nations saying, “Arise, and let us rise up against her for battle.”

God is calling the nations to go to war against Edom. Edom had rejoiced over the misfortunes of both Israel and Judah, and yet the Edomites and Jews descended from the same two brothers – Esau and Jacob (Genesis 25:19-26). Just as these two brothers fought, so were Israel and Edom always fighting. God pronounced judgment on Edom for their callous and malicious actions toward His people.

Verse 2 – “Behold, I will make you small among the nations; you shall be greatly despised.

Verse 3 – The pride of your heart has deceived you, you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; you who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’

Edom was Judah’s southern neighbor, sharing a common boundary. Edom’s capital was Sela, perhaps the later city of Petra, a city cut into the rock clefts and set in a canyon that could only be entered through a very narrow gap. They felt safe and were proud of their self-sufficiency.

Verse 4 – Though you exalt yourself as high as the eagle, and though you set your nest among the stars, from there I will bring you down: says the Lord.

Today Sela, or Petra, is considered one of the marvels of the ancient world, but only as a tourist attraction.

Verse 5 – “If thieves had come to you, if robbers by night – Oh, how you will be cut off! – Would they not have stolen till they had enough? If grape-gathers had come to you, would they not have left some gleanings?

Obadiah left no hope of even a remnant for Edom. They would be totally cut off.

Verse 6 – “Oh, how Esau shall be searched out! How his hidden treasures shall be sought after!

Verse 7 – All the men in your confederacy shall force you to the border; the men at peace with you shall deceive you and prevail against you. Those who eat your bread shall lay a trap for you. No one is aware of it.

Esau is named here because he was the father of the Edomites. This judgment was not revenge, but in order to bring justice. The Edomites were getting what they deserved; they murdered, so they would be murdered; they robbed, so they would be robbed; and they took advantage of others, so they would be used in a disadvantage way. Everything that was about to happen to them, they had done to others.

Verse 8 – “Will I not in that day,” says the Lord, “Even destroy the wise men from Edom, and understanding from the mountains of Esau?

Edom was noted for its wise men. The Edomites may have had wisdom from the world, but they were foolish because they ignored God and even mocked Him.

Verse 9 – Then your mighty men, O Teman, shall be dismayed, to the end that everyone from the mountains of Esau may be cut off by slaughter.

Eliphaz, one of Job’s friends, was from Teman, about five miles south of Petra. Teman was named after Esau’s grandson (Genesis 36:11).

The Reasons for the Judgment of Edom

Verse 10 – “For your violence against your brother Jacob, shame shall cover you, and you shall be cut off forever.

Verse 11 – In the day when you stood on the other side – in the day that strangers carried captive his forces, when foreigners entered his gates and cast lots for Jerusalem – even you were as one of them.

Because Edom had stood and watched as foreigners came into Israel and Judah and attacked them and didn’t help, now they would face God’s wrath. They were supposed to help their family.

When you are able to help someone in need and withhold it, God calls it sin. James 4:17 – Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin. I might add this: If you choose to help someone in their time of need, “Don’t complain and gripe while you do it!”

Verse 12 – But you should not have gazed on the day your brother in the day of his captivity; nor should you have rejoiced over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor should you have spoken proudly in the day of distress.

Look what Proverbs 24:17, 18 says – Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; (Verse 18) Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.

Verse 13 – You should not have entered the gate of My people in the day of their calamity. Indeed, you should not have gazed on their affliction in the day of their calamity, nor laid hands on their substance in the day of their calamity.

Verse 14 – You should not have stood at the crossroads to cut off those among them who escaped; nor should you have delivered up those among them who remained in the day of distress.

Of all Israel’s and Judah’s neighbors, Edom was the only one not promised any mercy from God. They looted and betrayed their blood brothers in times of crises and aided their brother’s enemies.

Verse 15 – “For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near; as you have done, it shall be done to you; your reprisal shall return upon your own head.

Whether people believe God’s word or not its still true. Galatians 6:7 says – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. We should make sure we sow mercy! Think long and hard about what you do to others. Do you want the same thing to happen to you, whether good or bad?

Verse 16 – For as you drank on my holy mountain, so shall all the nations drink continually; yes, they shall drink, and swallow, and they shall be as though they had never been.

“Edom” represents not just the Edomites, but ultimately all the nations who oppose Israel in the end times. They will fall under God’s judgment.

Verse 17 – “But on Mount Zion there shall be deliverance, and there shall be holiness; the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions.

Verse 18 – The house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame; but the house of Esau shall be stubble; they shall kindle them and devour them, and no survivor shall remain of the house of Esau,” for the Lord has spoken.

Verse 19 – The inhabitants of the south shall possess the mountains of Esau, and the inhabitants of the Philistine lowland. They shall possess the fields of Ephraim and the fields of Samaria. Benjamin shall possess Gilead.

Verse 20 – And the captives of this host of the children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites as far as Zarepath. The captives of Jerusalem who are in Sepharad shall possess the cities of the South.

Verse 21 – Then saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the LORD’S.

Edom is an example to all the nations that are hostile to God. Nothing can break God’s promise to protect His people. Evil will be punished; those faithful to God will always have hope to a better future; God is sovereign in human history; God’s ultimate goal is to establish His eternal kingdom.

Amos – Chapter 9

Vision of the Stricken Doorposts

Verse 1 – I saw the Lord standing by the altar, and He said: “Strike the doorposts, that the thresholds may shake, and break them on the heads of them all. I will slay the last of them with the sword. He who flees from them shall not get away, and he who escapes from them shall not be delivered.

The shrines, fortresses, and palaces will come down. Also the leaders are described as pillars that will be cut down.

Verse 2 – “Though they dig into hell, from there My hand shall take them; though they climb up to heaven, from there I will bring them down;

Though they go into the deepest of caverns, or climb to the highest of mountains, God will find them.

Verse 3 – And though they hide themselves on top of Carmel, from there I will search and take them; though they hide from My sight at the bottom of the sea, from there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them;

Verse 4 – Though they go into captivity before their enemies, from there I will command the sword, and it shall slay them. I will set My eyes on them for harm and not for good.”

Psalm 34:15, 16 – The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears open to their cry. (Verse 16) The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off remembrance of them from the earth. For those who would not repent judgment was coming, for those who followed after righteousness, He heard their cries.

Do you see the difference? Those who repent and receive Christ’s righteousness, God hears their prayers and cries. Until a person repents, His eyes on them are for harm, not good.

Verse 5 – The Lord God of hosts, He who touches the earth and it melts, and all who dwell there mourn; all of it shall swell like the River, and subside like the River of Egypt.

Verse 6 – He who builds His layers in the sky, and has founded His strata in the earth; who calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out on the face of the earth – The Lord is His name.

Verse 7 – “Are you not like the people of Ethiopia to Me, O children of Israel?” says the Lord. “Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt, the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?

The point here is that God had moved many nations to their homelands, not just Israel. God would judge Israel no different that He would judge other nations.

Verse 8 – “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,” says the Lord.

The punishment would not be permanent to Israel. God wants to redeem, not punish. Like a loving Father He will discipline us when necessary.

Verse 9 – “For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among the nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground.

Although Assyria would destroy Israel and take the people into exile, some would be preserved. God said He will save a remnant, and so He does.

Verse 10 – All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, ‘The calamity shall not overtake us nor confront us.’

Verse 11 – “On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old;

Verse 12 – That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name, says the Lord who does this thing.

When the Assyrian’s attacked Israel and the Babylonians attacked Judah, the temple that Solomon built was destroyed. But God says the there would always be a descendant of David to sit on the throne. That promise will be fulfilled when the Messiah returns to rule and reign who will renew His kingdom forever.

Verse 13 – “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “When the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; the mountains shall drip with sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.

There will be such a harvest of crops that the people won’t be able to keep up.

Verse 14 – I will bring back the captives of My people Israel; they shall build the waste cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink wine from them; they shall also make gardens and eat fruit of them.

Verse 15 – I will plant them in their land, and no longer shall they be pulled up from the land I have given them.” says the Lord your God.

This prophecy has yet to be fulfilled. This concludes the Book of Amos. Just as the other prophets we’ve read, taught us that destruction doesn’t have to come, if only the people would repent and turn back to our heavenly Father. He controls it all and loves us.

Amos – Chapter 8

Vision of the Summer Fruit

Verse 1 – Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, a basket of summer fruit.

Verse 2 – And He said, “Amos, what do you see?” Then the Lord said to me: “The end has come upon My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.

Verse 3 – And the sons of the temple shall be wailing in that day,” says the Lord God – “Many dead bodies everywhere, they shall throw them out in silence.”

This basket of summer fruit means Israel is ripe for judgment. There will be so many dead, that they take them out of the city in silence because of the enemy.

Verse 4 – Hear this, you who swallow up the needy, and make the poor of the land fail,

Verse 5 – saying: “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade our wheat? Making the ephah small and the shekel large, falsifying the balances by deceit,

Verse 6 – that we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of sandals – even sell the bad wheat?”

The people couldn’t wait for the festivals and Sabbath to be over so they could go back to selling and making money. They were only interested in making money, even if it meant selling the chaff as wheat.

Verse 7 – The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their works.

Verse 8 – Shall the land not tremble for this, and everyone mourn who dwells in it? All of it shall swell like the River, heave and subside like the River of Egypt.

The Nile River would flood every year and overflow. The phrase is a metaphor for an earth quake.

Verse 9 – “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord God, “that I will make the sun go down as noon, and I will darken the earth in broad daylight;

Verse 10 – I will turn your feasts into mourning, and your songs into lamentations; I will bring sackcloth on every waist, and baldness on every head; I will make it like morning for an only son, and its end like a bitter day.

Amos warned, that a day was coming when they would shave their heads in mourning. It would be a day like they had never seen before.

Verse 11 – “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.

A time was coming when no prophet would speak God’s word; no spiritual counselor, no faithful reprover, or none who would point out the way of salvation and His mercy. This was the severest of God’s judgments. But evidently, that’s what the people had shown God they wanted.

Is our society any different today? Some don’t want God’s word spoken out loud in any school or displays in or on any building. They want Him shut out. Again, one day He will give them what they want, a world without Him – hell.

Verse 12 – They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.

Verse 13 – “In that day the fair virgins and strong young men shall faint from thirst.

Verse 14 – Those who swear by the sin of Samaria, who say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan!’ And ‘As the way of Beer-Sheba lives!’ They shall fall and never rise again.”

The guilt of Samaria is the shrines the people made throughout the land, especially at Dan and Bethel.

Amos – Chapter 7

Vision of the Locusts

Verse 1 – Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, He formed locusts swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the kings mowings.

Verse 2 – And so it was, when they had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said: “O Lord God, forgive, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, for he is small!”

After the death of Jeroboam II, the land was so devastated, that they went to Pul, king of Assyria for help.

Verse 3 – So the Lord relented concerning this, “It shall not be,” said the Lord.

In the Bible locusts are a common image of God’s wrath. Locusts were one of the plagues of Egypt. In this case, Israel was not struck with a locust plague. Amos merely saw it in a vision, in response to the pleas, God relented and no actual locusts plague came.

Verse 4 – Thus the Lord God showed me: Behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire, and it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory. This vision of fire is probably symbolic of a ferocious drought, but in response to Amos’s intercession, it did not happen.

Verse 5 – The I said: “O Lord God, cease, I pray! Oh, that Jacob may stand, for he is small!”

Verse 6 – So the Lord relented concerning this. “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God.

Do you see how much of a difference your prayer to the Most High can make? Why would any one make prayer a last resort? This should be a reminder for all believers to pray for our nation so that God might have mercy on us all.

Verse 7 – Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand.

Verse 8 – And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” and I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore.

Verse 9 – The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with a sword against the house of Jeroboam.”

A plumb line is a device used to ensure the straightness of a wall. A wall that is not straight will eventually collapse. God’s word is our “plumb line.” The high places of Isaac are about to be destroyed and made desolate. This high place was Beer-Sheba, where Isaac had built an altar to the Lord, but had been abused by idolatrous uses – defiled.

Verse 10 – Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam the king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.

Prophets like Amos were often seen as traitors and conspirators because they spoke out against the king and his advisers.

Verse 11 – “For thus Amos has said; ‘ Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive from their own land.’ ”

Verse 12 – Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go you seer! Flee the land of Judah. There eat bread, and there prophesy.

Verse 13 – But never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the royal residence.”

When God’s people speak the truth, there will be those who are in opposition because they would rather live in their sin. We see this strongly being done in our society today. They think that God has changed along with their thinking that “anything goes.” “News flash!” God has not changed! Sin is still sin and wrong is still wrong according to His Word!

Verse 14 – Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a herdsman and a tender of Sycamore fruit.

Verse 15 – The the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel. ‘

Verse 16 – Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord: You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not spout against the house of Isaac.’

Verse 17 – “Therefore thus says the Lord; ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city; your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword; your land shall be divided by survey line; you shall die in a defiled land; and Israel shall surely be led away captive from his own land.’ ”

Amos let this priest know that God was the One which called him to be a prophet. And while Amos was telling Amaziah the priest about his own background. Amos let loose on him about what was going to happen to him and is own family.

Watch whom you criticize about being called by God. Only God and that person know what is in their own heart.

Amos – Chapter 6

The Second Woe of Judgment

Verse 1 – Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria, notable peoples in the chief nation, to whom the house of Israel comes!

Verse 2 – Go over to Calneh and see; and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory?

Calneh was in Syria, which had been destroyed by the Assyrians. God wanted them to go see what He had done to these great cities because it was going to happen to them.

Verse 3 – Woe to you who put far off the day of doom, who cause the seat of violence to come near;

Verse 4 – Who lie on beds of ivory, stretch out on your couches, eat lamb from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall;

Ivory was an imported luxury and a couch or bed inlaid with it showed the gross waste of resources that should have been used to help the poor.

Verse 5 – Who chat to the sound of stringed instruments, and invent for yourselves musical instruments like David;

Verse 6 – Who drink wine from bowls, and anoint yourselves with the best ointment, but are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.

The Israelite aristocracy enjoyed what the Greeks would call “symposium”, in which participants lounged on couches, drank wine, and listened to music.

Verse 7 – Therefore they shall now go captive as the first of the captives, and those who recline at banquets shall be removed.

Verse 8 – The Lord God has sworn by Himself the Lord God of hosts says: “I abhor the pride of Jacob, and hate his palaces; therefore I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

Verse 9 – Then it shall come to pass, that if ten men remain in one house, they shall die.

Verse 10 – And when a kinsman of the dead, with one who will burn bodies, picks up the bodies to take them out of the house, he will say to one inside the house, “Are there any more with you?” Then someone will say, “None.” And he will say, “Hold your tongue! For we dare not mention the name of the Lord.”

Casualties in the city will be so numerous that a household with 10 men will be wiped out. Then when the funerals are performed they could not invoke the name of God because there were so many dead.

Verse 11 – For behold, the Lord gives a command: He will break the great house into bits, and the little house into pieces.

The people had built luxurious homes to flaunt their achievements. While to live in nice houses is not wrong, it can’t be allowed to inflate one’s pride and self-glorification.

Verse 12 – Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow there with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,

Verse 13 – You have rejoiced over Lo Debar, who say, “Have we not taken Karnaim for ourselves by our own strength?”

Verse 14 – But, behold, I will raise up a nation against you, O house of Israel,” says the Lord God of hosts; “And they will afflict you from the entrance of Hamath to the Valley of the Arabah.”

The entrance of Hamath, also called Lebo-hamath, was the northern limit of Israel’s domain. Arabah, was the southern border, which might also be the Brook of Egypt, the traditional southern border of Israel. The point being, that the Lord will drive the Israelites from all the land that had been given by the Lord.

Amos – Chapter 5

Verse 1 – Hear this word which I take up against you, this lamentation, O house of Israel:

Verse 2 – The virgin of Israel has fallen; she will rise no more. She lies forsaken on her land; there is no one to raise her up.

Amos sings a lament or song as if Israel had already been destroyed. It was like mourning at your own funeral.

Verse 3 – For thus says the Lord God: “The city that goes out by a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which goes out by a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”

Verse 4 – For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek Me and live;

Verse 5 – But do not seek Bethel, nor enter Gilgal, nor pass over to Beer-Sheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nothing.

Bethel, Gilgal, and Beer-Sheba were three pilgrimage shrines. Bethel was where King Jeroboam of Israel set up calf idols. Gilgal, also, had carved images set up.

Verse 6 – Seek the Lord and live, least He break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, with no one to quench it in Bethel –

The house of Joseph – the ten tribes, the chief was Ephraim, the son of Joseph.

Verse 7 – You who turn justice to wormwood, and lay righteousness to rest in the earth!”

Verse 8 – He made the Pleiades and Orion; He turns the shadow of death into morning and makes the day dark as night; He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the face of the earth; the Lord is His name.

Pleiades and Orion are star constellations. God created the entire universe and controls the entire universe

Verse 9 – He rains ruin upon the strong, so that fury comes upon the fortress.

Verse 10 – They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.

The gates were where they would hold court.

Verse 11 – Therefore, because you tread down the poor and take grain taxes from him, though you have built houses of hewn stone, yet you shall dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink wine from them.

Verse 12 – For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins. You afflict the just and take bribes; you divert the poor from justice at the gate.

When the people would take their grievances to the gate where they held court, the poor were basically told to shut-up. Anyone who spoke in their favor or spoke what was right, were rebuked. God had watched them and now it was time for them to be rebuked. Please, don’t ever forget that God sees how we treat people. He will defend His own.

Verse 13 – Therefore the prudent keep silent at that time, for it is an evil time.

How we treat the poor will reflect our true character. Do we give without thought of gain? We should treat the poor like we should want to be treated by God. Because the people with power were so hostile to any one who told the truth in the courts of law, honest and decent people were being kept silent.

Verse 14 – Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken.

Verse 15 – Hate evil, love good; establish justice in the gate. It may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.

When a society has a corrupt and deceitful justice system, the righteous suffer. This verse was a command to change their evil practices. Only then would God see a changed heart.

Verse 16 – Therefore the Lord God of hosts, the Lord, says this: “There shall be wailing in all streets, and they shall say in all the highways, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmer to mourning, and skillful lamenters to wailing.

Amos is telling them that there will be so many funerals because of all the death, that there won’t be enough paid mourners to go around, so farmers will be called from the fields to help.

Verse 17 – In all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through you,” says the Lord.

Verse 18 – Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! For what good is the day of the Lord to you? It will be darkness, and not light.

Verse 19 – It will be as though a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him; or as though he went into the house, leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Israel assumed because they were God’s chosen people, they would be exempt from His judgment. The day of the Lord then, as it will be in the future will be dark and full of doom.

Verse 20 – Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light? Is it not very dark, with no brightness in it?

Verse 21 – “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I do not savor your sacred assemblies.

Verse 22 – Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings.

Verse 23 – Take away from Me the noise of your songs, for I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments.

God hates false worship by people who just go through the motions for show. If worship has no sincere meaning, merely doing a religious tradition, all the while holding onto sin, then it is useless. Remember: God sees the attitude behind the worship.

Verse 24 – But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Verse 25 – “Did you offer Me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?

Verse 26 – You also carried Sikkuth your king of Chiun, your idols, the star of your gods, which you made for yourselves.

People did make sacrifices while in the wilderness, but at the same time carried images of the Sikkuth and other gods. During Amos’s time, however, they were more brazen by combining the worship of the Lord with the worship of these pagan gods. Sikkuth and Chin (Kaiwan), were names of the sky deity of the planet Saturn.

Verse 27 – Therefore, I will send you into captivity beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of host.

God did indeed take them beyond Damascus – the people were taken in exile to Assyria.

Amos – Chapter 4

Verse 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 wine, let us drink!”

Israel’s wealthy women were called “cows of Bashan” – pampered sleek, and well fed. These women pushed their husbands to oppress the helpless in order to support their lavish life-styles. Their arrogance was apparent in how they treated even their husbands as household slaves.

Verse 2 – The Lord God has sworn by His holiness: “Behold, the day shall come upon you when He will take you away with fishhooks, and your prosperity with fishhooks.

Verse 3 – You will go out through broken walls, each one straight ahead of her, and you will be cast into Harmon,” says the Lord.

Verse 4 – “Come to Bethel and transgress, at Gilgal multiply transgressions; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days.

Amos sarcastically invited the people to sin in Bethel and Gilgal where they worshiped idols instead of God. Bethel was where God had renewed His covenant to Abraham with Jacob. At this time, Bethel was the religious center in the northern kingdom and Jeroboam had placed an idol there to discourage the people from traveling to Jerusalem in the southern kingdom to worship at the temple.

Verse 5 – Offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, proclaim and announce the freewill offerings; for this you love, you children of Israel!” says the Lord.

Verse 6 – “Also I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities. And lack of bread in all your palaces; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Verse 7 – “I also withheld rain from you, when there were still three months to harvest. I made it rain on one city, I withheld rain from another city. One part was rained upon, and where it did not rain the part withered.

Verse 8 – So two or three cities wandered to another city to drink water, but they were not satisfied; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Verse 9 – “I blasted you with blight and mildew. When your gardens increased, your vineyards, your fig trees, the locust devoured them; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Verse 10 – “I sent among you a plague after the manner of Egypt; your young men I killed with a sword, along with your captive horses; I made the stench of your camps come up into your nostrils; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Verse 11 – “I overthrew some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; yet you have not returned to Me,” says the Lord.

Verse 12 – “Therefore thus will I do to you, O Israel; and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

Verse 13 – For behold, He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth – the Lord God of hosts is His name.

No matter how many times God warned the people, through famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues, or war, they still ignored Him. Because of their stubbornness, they would now meet God face to face – judgment. One day we all will meet God face to face, to give an account of what we have done while on earth. But please keep in mind: The believer will give account for good works to a reward, or not. The unbelievers will give an account for everything because they never received the forgiveness of their sins and excepted Christ as their Savior.

 

Amos – Chapter 3

Israel’s Judgment is Deserved

Verse 1 – Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying:

Verse 2 – “You only have I known of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all the iniquities.”

The Israelite’s thought because God had chosen them and showed favor to them, they were immune from judgment. God had chosen them, but they were to be the people that all other nations would come to know God through. God had loved them, protected them, provided for them, and they had forsaken Him. Now their punishment would be in proportion to the privileges they had enjoyed.

Verse 3 – Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?

The idea here, is that two people cannot have a relationship unless they come to terms about the same things. They have to have the same commitments and same values or they will fight all the time. God is holy, Israel had become unholy, they had no longer followed God’s laws.

Verse 4 – Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing?

(Should I threaten such a judgment without cause?)

Verse 5 – Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all?

Verse 6 – If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it?

The sound of a trumpet was a sign of alarm and invasion. Amos asked the people, “If an alarm goes off, will you just ignore it?” Whoever are the instruments God chooses to use means He approved and did it Himself. (Let that sink in for a moment.)

Verse 7 – Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.

What a profound statement! God sent prophet after prophet to tell His people what would come to pass if they didn’t repent and turn back to Him. Today, He tells us in His Word the coming events of the end of this age. Are you listening?

Verse 8 – A lion has roared ! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?

Verse 9 – “Proclaim in the palaces at Ashdod, and in the places in the land of Egypt, and say: ‘Assemble on the mountains of Samaria; see great tumults in her midst, and the oppressed within her.

Ashod was a Philistine city and the site of the temple of d, a pagan god. Amos summoned Philistia and Egypt to witness Israel’s great sins. Even Israel’s most wicked neighbors would see God judge Israel.

Verse 10 – For they do not know to do right,’ says the Lord, who store up violence and robbery in their palaces.’ ”

The longer Israel sinned, the harder it was to remember what was right. The same is true with us. The longer we stay in our sin, the stronger the hold it has on us.

Verse 11 – Therefore thus says the Lord God: “An adversary shall be all around the land; he shall sap your strength from you, and your palaces shall be plundered.”

Verse 12 – Thus says the Lord: “As a shepherd takes from the mouth of a lion two legs or a piece of an ear, so shall the children of Israel be taken out who dwell in Samaria – in the corner of a bed and on the edge of a couch!

In other words: If any of you escape it will be with extreme difficulty, just as a shepherd, of a whole sheep carried away by a lion, can recover no more than two of its legs or a piece of its ear.

Verse 13 – Hear and testify against the house of Jacob, says the Lord God, the God of hosts,

Verse 14 – “That in the day I punish Israel for their transgressions, I will also visit destruction on the altars of Bethel; and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground.

Verse 15 – I will destroy the winter house along with the summer-house; the houses of ivory shall parish, and the great houses shall have an end,” says the Lord.

God’s judgment against Israel’s altars shows that He was rejecting Israel’s entire religious system because it was so polluted. The horns of the altar stood for protection, and the false altars would soon be gone!

Amos – Chapter 2

Judgment on Moab

Verse 1 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.

Verse 2 – But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth; Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting and trumpet sound.

Verse 3 – And I will cut off the judge from its midst, and slay all its princes with him,” says the Lord.

Judgment on Judah

Verse 4 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, lies after which their fathers walked.

Verse 5 – But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”

All the Gentile nations are accused of crimes against humanity, but Judah is charged with unfaithfulness to it covenant with God. The lies mentioned here are idols.

Judgment on Israel

Verse 6 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they sell the righteous for silver, and the poor fro a pair of sandals.

Selling a needy person for a pair of sandals probably refers to selling a debtor into slavery.

Verse 7 – They pant after the dust of the earth which is on the head of the poor, and pervert the way of the humble. A man and his father go in to the same girl, to defile My holy name.

Verse 8 – They lie down by every altar on cloths taken in pledge, and drink wine of the condemned in the house of their god.

Men had sexual relations with shrine prostitutes, even going to the point of a man and his father sharing the same woman. They did this while lying on the garments they had taken from the poor. They had altars all over the countryside and would have drinking bouts with the wine they had taken from the poor.

Verse  9 – “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorites before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was as strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.

Verse 10 – Also it was I who brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.

Verse 11 – I raised up some of your sons as prophets, and some of your young men as Nazirites. Is it not so, O you children of Israel?” says the Lord.

Verse 12 – “But you gave the Nazirites wine to drink, and commanded the prophets saying, ‘Do not prophesy!”

God reminds Israel of how they got the land in the first place, by His grace. The Nazirites had a great devotion towards God and took an oath not to drink alcohol.

Verse 13 – “Behold, I am weighed down by you, as a cart is weighed down that is full of sheaves.

Verse 14 – Therefore flight shall perish from the swift, the strong shall not strengthen his power, nor shall the mighty deliver himself;

Verse 15 – He shall not stand who handles the bow, the swift of foot shall not deliver himself, nor shall he who rides a horse deliver  himself.

Verse 16 – The most courageous men of might shall flee naked in that day,” says the Lord.

“In that day,” refers to when the Assyrians would attack Israel, destroy Samaria, and take the people captive (722 B.C.). This defeat came only a few decades after this pronouncement.

The Book of Amos – Introduction and Chapter 1

Introduction:

Amos’ name means “Burden.” God gave him the divine burden of declaring judgment to a rebellious Israel. Amos lived a disciplined life, but was well-educated in scripture.

He delivered his message in Bethel because it was the residence of the king of Israel and the center of idolatry. Amos prophesied in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam II in Israel. Amos ministered after the time of Obadiah, Joel, and Jonah and just before Hosea, Micah, and Isaiah.

Verse 1 –  The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel two years before the earthquake.

Although Amos was a shepherd and fig grower in Judah, he prophesied to the northern kingdom Israel. About 30 or 40 years after Amos prophesied, Assyria destroyed the capital city, Samaria, and conquered Israel (722 B.C.).

Verse 2 – And he said: “The Lord roars from Zion, and utters His voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers.”

Verse 3 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with implements of iron.

Verse 4 – But I will send a fire into the house of Hazael, which shall devour the palaces of Ben Hadad. (Hazael and Ben Hadad were throne names used by all the kingdoms of Damascus.)

Verse 5 – I will also break the gate bar of Damascus, and cut off the inhabitant from the Valley of Aven, and the one who holds the scepter from Beth Eden. The people of Syria shall go captive to Kir,” says the Lord.

The bar is literally the bar which the city gates were shut with, God would open wide, and the city would be taken.

Verse 6 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Gaza, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they took captive the whole captivity to deliver them up to Edom.

Gaza was the southernmost city of Philistines. The Philistines captured villages in order to sell the entire population into slavery.

Verse 7 – But I will send a fire upon the wall of Gaza, which shall devour its palaces.

Verse 8 – I will cut off the inhabitant from Ashod, and the one who holds the scepter from Ashkelon; I will turn My hand against Ekron, and the remnant of the Philistines shall parish,” says the Lord God.

Gaza, Ashod, Ashkelon, and Ekron were the four major cities of Philistia, an enemy who often threatened Israel.

Verse 9 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they delivered up the whole captivity of Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.

Verse 10 – But I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, which shall devour its palaces.”

Tyre was one of two major cities in Phoenicia, which had supplied the cedar used to build David’s palace and God’s temple.

Verse 11 – Thus says the Lord; “For three transgressions of Edom, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because he pursued his brother with the sword, and cast off all pity; his anger tore perpetually, and he kept his wrath forever.

Edom committed border raids in which they exterminated entire populations.

Verse 12 – But I will send fire upon Teman, which shall devour the palaces of Bozrah.”

Both Edom and Israel had descended from Isaac; Edom from Esau, Israel from Jacob. They were continually fighting with each other. Edom rejoiced at Israel’s misfortune.

Verse 13 – Thus says the Lord; “For three transgressions of the people of Ammon, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they ripped open the women with child in Gilead, that they might enlarge their territory.

The Ammonites slaughtered the pregnant women of Gilead in order to take their territory.

Verse 14 – But I will kindle a fire in the wall of Rabbah, and it shall devour its palaces, amid shouting in the day of battle, and a tempest in the day of the whirlwind.

Verse 15 – Their king shall go into captivity, he and his princes together,” says the Lord.

The Ammonites had descended from an incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughter (Genesis 19:30-38). Even though Israel had begun to worship their idols, they still attacked them. Amos prophecy of Amon’s destruction was fulfilled through the Assyrian invasion.