Amos: Hearts Unto Wisdom Bible Study

Amos was called by God from the humble fields of Tekoa to wield the rod of correction on His unruly flock in Jerusalem.

But the people of Israel would have none of it!

His presence and pronouncements were an offense to them.

The religious rulers of the day were living in a delusion of their own grandeur and righteousness. How dare this lowly shepherd utter his voice against us!

 

Welcome to Hearts Unto Wisdom

A Bible Study of the Minor Prophets

I thank you for joining me as I share biblical insight into the twelve books commonly referred to as the ‘Minor Prophets’. These Old Testament books, starting with Hosea and ending with Malachi, are minor only in regards to their length, and not because they lack significance.

 

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psalm 90:12

 


[Underlines, brackets, and words in bold are added for emphasis to scripture verses throughout this study.]

 

 

 

Amos

Amos was one of many prophets that bore the burden of warning the complacent and compromised Israelites. In fact, the name Amos means “burden, or burden-bearer”. He was an irritation to the house of Israel and not welcomed. He was intimidated by the local priest and told to leave. Amos was disturbing their manufactured peace.

Amos didn’t ask for this job. He didn’t come from a line of prophets nor was he the son of a prophet. He was a simple herdsman and picker of fruit, but God picked him. And he obeyed.

 

The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord God hath spoken, who can but prophesy? Amos 3:8

 

The world hates truth and those that dare to speak it. This was true for Amos and is equally true for us.

Even in our great nation, a nation founded on godly principles, decency has been dethroned. The Bible is picked apart, and hearts have turned to stone. Theories are touted as facts and Laws are rewritten to placate the conscience of the masses.

 

Truth, like Amos, is not welcome.

 

We are surrounded by a broadcast of lies, and those that entertain and inform us live in their self-made world where falsehood is their native tongue.

Where murder conjures indifference, not shock; depravity draws delight, not shame. Where civility rots on the plate, while hatred is gorged as an honeycomb.

For they “. . . have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock” (Amos 6:12).

When you utter the voice of reason; when you utter the wisdom that comes from above, hatred and derision will come.

But no matter how many gather together and shout their consensus against God’s truth, they will not prevail.

 

Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished: but the seed of the righteous shall be delivered. Proverbs 11:21

 

 

For three transgressions, and for four . . .

In the book of Amos, there are poetic patterns of repetition in which God speaks against the wickedness of Israel’s six neighboring nations: Damascus, Gaza, Edom, Tyrus, Ammon, and Moab ending with the sins of Judah and Israel.

For three transgressions, and for four . . . these nations’ sins are not forgotten. God remembers how they treated Israel and each other and declares what shall befall them all.

Although the nations of Israel and Judah were set apart by God—“You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (Amos 3:2)—their sins were often worse than the Gentile nations surrounding them.

 

For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Amos 5:12

 

God raised up prophets, but they commanded them to stop. He gave them a blueprint of conduct which they crumpled eager to commit fornication and adultery, to sacrifice their own children, and to live by deceitful gain and the lies of their fathers.

 

Israel was not walking with God and God had had enough.

 

Can two walk together, except they be agreed? Amos 3:3

 

Because Israel stored up violence and robbery in her palaces (Amos 3:10) and served pagan gods like Moloch and Chiun (Amos 5:26), God would send an adversary to bring her down and drag her from her land.

Israel would be devoured like the prey of a lion. As a shepherd takes out bits and pieces of his flock from the mouth of a lion, only a remnant of Israel would escape (Amos 3:12). And only because of God’s tremendous mercy did He promise “I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob” (Amos 9:8).

 

 

God does not do evil

 

Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? Shall there be evil in a city, and the Lord hath not done it? Amos 3:6

And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. Amos 9:3

 

Satan is the author of all things evil. He takes what is good and turns it into death and decay.

The King James Bible translators, however, had a hard time translating certain words with complex meanings from Hebrew and Greek into English.

Evil was one of them.  In the above quotes, evil means “adversity, calamity, or affliction”. God withdrew His hand of blessing from the Israelites by allowing war, pestilence, hunger, drought, and crop failures, and even with all that, “yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the Lord” (Amos 4:6-11).

God brings affliction to the unrepentant. He allows distress to vex those who refuse to change. (And sometimes, as in Job 2:10 & 42:11, God permits suffering to test the character of His children.) But God never creates evil.

King Saul was one of a few people in the Old Testament that God gave of His Spirit, but because of Saul’s disobedience, it was taken away. In 1 Samuel 16:14, the text reads that when the Spirit of God departed from him “an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him”. Since we know evil doesn’t come from God, the answer to this confusion in translation is that because of his rejection by God, Saul experienced a spirit of torment, a debilitating depression, and a deeply-troubled conscience directly related to his disobedience to God.

God is the author of good. Nothing good comes to us except through God. And if we ever depart from the wisdom and righteousness of God, we can expect nothing but the opposite of good: adversity, calamity, and affliction.

 

 

 

The significance of Bethel and Gilgal

For this saith the Lord unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. Amos 5:4-5

 

Bethel was originally a sacred and holy place where God spoke to Jacob while he dreamed upon his stone pillow. This is the place where God blessed Jacob and his future seed and changed his name to Israel.

But many years later, the Israelites sinned greatly at Bethel. It was there that king Jeroboam made two golden calves for worship. He set the other in Dan and appointed priests not of the sons of Levi as God instructed. He ordained a feast day of his own devising and said, “behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt” (1 Kings 12:28).

The Israelites took the elements of the earth around them, they took what they could manipulate, and replaced the true God. They took God and reduced Him to something they could control. That is true of today’s churches. There are many “Bethels” bringing in abominable heresies because it’s what the masses want. They’d rather have something shiny and man-made than to behold (and be held accountable to) God.

The word “Gilgal” (Hebrew for wheel or rolling) later became a general place name, like the city or the river, but at first, it was a specific place. In Joshua, Gilgal was the name of the base camp from which Joshua and the men with him conquered Jericho in the Holy Land. Joshua dedicated the victory of the defeat of Jericho to God by building a circular monument as a place of worship.

 

And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the reproach of Egypt from off you. Wherefore the name of the place is called Gilgal unto this day. Joshua 5:9

 

Originally the stones that made up the gilgal came from the middle of the Jordan river. The same Jordan River that John the Baptist began his ministry and where Christ was baptized and the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. These stones can represent the basic truths and beliefs we have in Christ; a place where we first start our spiritual life journey.

With this in mind, we can see why God warned the Israelites to seek not Bethel nor enter into Gilgal. They had completely corrupted these places making a mockery of worship and polluting that which was sacred. He wanted no more of it.

 

Christians at ease

“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion . . . Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near” (Amos 6:1,3).

The “evil day” was this very prophecy of their destruction! The warning that Amos delivered they put far into the future thinking surely it was not for them to heed now. But oh, they were wrong!

God gave His people a choice before their destruction when He said, “Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph” (Amos 5:15).

{Incidentally, God is referred to as the Lord of hosts, or God of hosts, 235 times in the Bible, eight of those are found in the book of Amos. The word “hosts” means “mass of persons; army, or company” and refers to God’s innumerable body of angels. He created His flaming ministers of fire as eternal beings and sends them to aid us, His children, and to execute His judgment at His will.}

God pleads with His children to consider who He is.

He is the God who made Orion and Pleiades (constellations men have named and worshiped), who turns the shadow of death into the morning, who pours the waters of the sea onto the face of the earth. And who strengthens the weak against the strong (Amos 5:8-9).

 

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. Amos 4:13

 

God tells them what He thinks through the prophets that He chose (Amos 3:7), but they were more concerned with leisure (Amos 6:4-6) and with keeping things as they were than with honoring God.

All the opulence of their lifestyle and the feigned observance of their holy days and the melody of their songs did God hate (Amos 5:21, Isaiah 1:14-18)!

And along came Amos to let them know it.

 

People don't like to be confronted with their sins. They hated Amos for speaking God's truth, so don't be surprise when they hate you for doing the same. #amos, #minorprophets, #kjv, #biblestudyforwomen, #speaktruth

 

They will hate you for telling the truth

It takes a humble spirit to accept correction and to listen to the uncomfortable truth that we need to overcome our sins. Our human nature bristles when confronted instead, points fingers at the one speaking, and prefers the “come as you, stay as you are” lie.

Come as you are—yes.

Stay as you are—never.

 

 

As it was in bible times and especially now, people will despise righteous truth and those who speak it.

 

They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. Amos 5:10

That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought. Isaiah 29:21

 

Many people that sit in churches today think they are heaven-bound. They’ve chosen to listen to leaders who hold hands with the world and tell their congregation that they’re good enough the way they are. And because of this nonsense, they don’t grow spiritually at all. These shepherds send them home deluded. But what has God said?

 

Woe unto you that desire the day of the Lord! To what end is it for you? The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. Amos 5:18

 

For them, the end time or the day of the Lord won’t be what they hoped. They refuse to heed the warnings and repent, the same as the Israelites in Amos’ day. They are like a basket of summer fruit. They are picked and ripe for repentance or on the verge of decay (Amos 8:1-2). It’s either one or the other. For those who profess Christ, the time is now.

And as people continue in their self-deception, God’s word will become scarce.

 

Behold, the days come saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, not a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. Amos 8:11

 

Paul speaks in 2 Timothy about those who prefer to hear what doesn’t offend them.

 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Timothy 4:3-4

 

Let us never be offended by sound doctrine. Let us always compare what we hear from others to what is actually written in God’s word.

As with most books of prophecy, God deals with the unrepentant and forewarns any who will listen. With the impending judgment, He also gives us a way out of our self-inflicted doom.

When we choose God’s will over our own, He promises a coming kingdom of restitution and plenty.

 

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. Amos 9:13

 

When we obey God now, dear Christian, we will be unable to contain the blessings of the future, there will be so many.

In the book of Amos, God speaks His words of life to those who will hear. He wants us to judge between right and wrong without making excuses and to love others while upholding His truth.

And if we are filled with His Spirit, we can and we will.

 

But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream. Amos 5:24

 

 

 

 

Abiding in the Vine,

~ Gleniece

 

If you would like to receive word of my next installment in the Hearts Unto Wisdom series, please sign up below for my monthly newsletter, Abide & Blossom. I look forward to seeing you on my list. Thank you!

About Gleniece

Writer at Desert Rain. Wife to Mighty Man. Homeschool mom, bread baker, herb gardener, Bible study-er. Lover of wine and chocolate. Ever thankful for the gift that is Christ.

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