First, allow me to clarify something from last week – I was criticized in that it was assumed that I was saying that God was surprised by the outcome of the election. Nothing can be further from the truth. God is omniscient – He knows all, and sees all, and as such – He knows how this election will turn out.
What I was hinting at is that WE don’t know – and that God’s ways are not ours. He permitted us to have to deal with eight years of Barack Obama, probably to show us that we needed a savior (and it wasn’t Barry), and that we needed some serious repenting as a nation.
He permitted Donald Trump to be elected in 2016, in the hopes of cleaning up the mess – evangelicals prayed like there was no tomorrow for this man – and God came through.
Now, of course, God could see to it that Mr. Trump is given another four years to complete God’s mission for him – or God may permit Mr. Biden to assume the presidency – WE don’t know at this point what God’s Will is, but GOD does. Whatever it is, we as believers need to pray like there’s no tomorrow, and be ready to act biblically – whoever God permits to be president.
That was the crux of the message.
Now, on to today’s message, which comes from the fourth chapter of the book of Amos, and has definite parallels to today. Amos, the prophet, was giving a word to the people of Israel of impending judgment – captivity to Assyria.
This would be the Northern Kingdom of Israel – and does not include the Southern Kingdom of Judah – both of which comprise Israel today.
Let’s look at verses 1-3:
“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, that we may drink!’ The Lord God has sworn by his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. And you shall go out through the breaches, each one straight ahead; and you shall be cast out into Harmon,” declares the Lord.
The “cows of Bashan” are describing the rich women of Samaria, who were known for oppressing the poor and living in the lap of luxury. For this, they would be taken in Assyrian captivity, and leaving the land in confusion and panic. They are pictured as being taken away by fishhooks through broken walls.
(The word “Harmon” is not really defined or transliterated as a name of a physical location or city, but translate “to the mountains”; others, “to the (enemy’s) fortress,” or “to the palace” in the King James: the meaning is not ascertained.)
The people of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) were known to be rather stuck on themselves, with a lot of corruption going on. There was a great deal of idol worship – and all of this was going on for a number of years.
Let’s look at verses 4-5:
“Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.
Here, Amos is giving the word from the Lord that He, ironically, invites them to keep on sinning – keep bringing sacrifices to their idols at Bethel and Gilgal – as there’s nothing for Him in those sacrifices.
To whom, or what, are we making sacrifice today – what are the idols in this nation?
- We are sacrificing our children to the god of Molech, by murdering them in the womb
- We are worshipping at the altar of political correctness. The god of Baal by celebrating any sexual act outside of marriage, homosexual relationships, the mutilation of the body through transsexual surgeries.
- We’ve destroyed the Ten Commandments for all intents and purposes. We no longer hold God as the One who controls all, the only One to be worshipped. We take the name of the Lord in vain as a matter or routine, Shabbat – the Sabbath – has all but been forgotten by the public at large – people worship the NFL instead of the Lord Jesus Christ…
- Honoring our parents? It’s rarer than you think
- Committing adultery? 47% of Christian marriages, end in divorce because of this – 73% of non-Christian marriages end up in divorce because of this … worship to the god Ashtoreth – there was a lot of illicit sex at those “services”.
- Stealing – our government has stolen money from the taxpayers in terms of waste. fraud and abuse. Seniors have lost their Social Security “Trust Fund” when the funds were transferred to the General Fund in the 1960s. Heck people, there’s an election being stolen – right now – before our very eyes!
- Bearing false witness against another – another name for Fake News. Turn on the so-called “news” today, and all you’ll see is the mass bearing of false witness against others. It’s no wonder that we find people on one side, becoming violent against the other – we have never been so divided, as we are today. It started years ago, back in the 1950s – and it’s gotten worse as the years went on.
- Coveting others possessions and belongings – that’s a god in itself.
Where in the New Testament, does God talk about people continue to sin until He judges? Look at Romans chapter 1 – starting in verse 18, through the end of the chapter in verse 28. In these verses, the apostle Paul describes the various sin in the world of the day, and how God is patient to a point. But there comes a point where God just gives you over to your sin.
(For a further, in-depth look into Romans 1, click here to see my post on the subject.)
That’s where God was with the people of Israel in Amos chapter 4. The prophet declared the sin of the surrounding nations in chapters 1 and 2, but starting in verse 6 of the second chapter, he started in on Israel, and didn’t let up through chapter 3 and culminating with judgment in the fourth chapter. God got to the point where he was going to allow Israel to wallow in their own mess – until He brought judgment on them in the form of being taken captive by Assyria.
Getting back to our text – Amos chapter 4, starting in verse 6:
“I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.
“I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.
“I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.
“I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword,
and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.
“I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.
They refused to return to the Lord and repent – as I said, it got to the point where some divine discipline was required.
Look at us today – God’s trying to get through our thick skulls!
- We have famine in parts of the world…
- We have weird weather phenomenon – hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, earthquakes
- We have pestilences and disease, the current one being the COVID-19, infecting large numbers of people, with over a quarter million dead worldwide. Hey, we can blame China until we’re blue in the face – God allowed it – for His purposes.
Do you see the similarities then – and now?
The One and Only God – the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob – is trying to get our attention in a big way – and if we don’t return to Him, judgment is coming. Given the times and signs – it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Rapture occur, and the judgment be the start of the tribulation.
If that happens – I’m ready.
If Jesus came back today, are you ready to “Meet Thy God”?
Verses 12 and 13 of the fourth chapter of Amos:
“Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!
God isn’t playing – you’re either ready, or you’re not. If you’re not – and Jesus comes today, if you think it’s bad now – you’ve got seven years of you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Getting saved is easy – God gave His Son, Jesus, to die for your sin – to triumph over that sin by resurrecting from the grave on the third day, and today, sits at the right hand of the Father.
All you need to do is to earnestly pray – to confess that you’re a sinner, and ask Jesus to forgive that sin and wash you whiter than snow. Invite Him into your life, and surrender your life to Him – and let Him run it.
Believe with all of your heart that Jesus died for your sin, and rose again on the third day, and that He’s your savior.
Do that, and believe it with all your being – and you’re saved… welcome to the family, You know your destiny.
Don’t do it – and it’s at your eternal peril. You’ve been warned.