Amos: Burden Bearer (1:1-15, 3:1-2, 8:11-12)

May 8, 2016

Book: Amos

Amos: Burden Bearer (1:1-15, 3:1-2, 8:11-12)
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Amos: Burden Bearer

1:1-15, 3:1-2, 8:11-12 (Pastor Heo)

1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa—the vision he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. 2 He said: “The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.” 3 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not relent. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, 4 I will send fire on the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad. 5 I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Avenand the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the LORD. 6 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not relent. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, 7 I will send fire on the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses. 8 I will destroy the king of Ashdod and the one who holds the scepter in Ashkelon. I will turn my hand against Ekron, till the last of the Philistines are dead,” says the Sovereign LORD. 9 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not relent. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood, 10 I will send fire on the walls of Tyre that will consume her fortresses.” 11 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not relent. Because he pursued his brother with a sword and slaughtered the women of the land, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked, 12 I will send fire on Teman that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah.” 13 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not relent. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, 14 I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses amid war cries on the day of battle, amid violent winds on a stormy day. 15 Her king will go into exile, he and his officials together,” says the LORD.

1 Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the LORD has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: 2 “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”

11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD. 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the LORD, but they will not find it.

The united kingdom of Israel (12 tribes) was split after the death of Solomon in 930BC (northern/southern).

  • The 10 in the northern kingdom lasted 208 years, destroyed in 722BC by Assyria.
  • The 2 in the south lasted 344 years and was destroyed in 586BC by Babylonia.

Today, this prophetic book’s background = after the division of the united kingdom into 2 and BEFORE the destruction of the northern kingdom (30 years before that).

This book begins with “The words of Amos, one of the shepherds… 2 years before the earthquake… and Jeroboam II was king…”

The author of this book Amos = Amos (prophet). His name only appears in his own book (7 times). But, do not confuse him with Isaiah’s father’s name (Amoz = means “strong”). Amos means “to carry a burden” (Burden Bearer – the title of this sermon).

He was a shepherd, a grower of sycamore trees – like farmers today – when God called him as a prophet (chp 7:14-15 – he confesses his identity).

14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

He was from a small, rural area of Tekoa (Judah – southern kingdom, 12 miles south of Jerusalem). Amos was a missionary – from the northern kingdom, ministering in the southern kingdom.

He delivered his mission message in Bethel (‘el = “God”, Beth = “house of”). Actually, at that time, this house became the “house of idolatry”. Traditionally, this was a very meaningful place (Genesis 28 – Jacob went fleeing from the wrath of Esau and he fell asleep on a stone in an open field. He dreamed of a stairway to heaven – God at the top – and promised to give him the land of Canaan. When we awakened, he anointed the stone with oil and worshiped God and called it Bethel.)

A LONG time later, when the kingdom was divided, the first king of the northern kingdom (Jeroboam I) made two calves (golden idols) – putting one in Bethel and one in Dan – to make it unnecessary to go to Jerusalem to worship in the temple there.

Since then, the house of Bethel became the house of idol worship (3:14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground.”) At that time, Bethel was FULL of false prophets and preachers.

So, when Amos delivered his message, the false prophets persecuted him.

7:10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words…12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

Also, according to this book, Amos prophesied in the days of Uzziah and Jeroboam II (12th, 13th kings of the northern kingdom). This was written 30 years before the destruction of the northern kingdom – and he prophesied its destruction – and was therefore persecuted harshly.

Chp 7:11 (anticipates 722BC captivity of Assyria and indicates the same timing.)

7:11 For this is what Amos is saying: “ ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’ ”

In the northern kingdom, during the reign of Jeroboam II, the economic and militaristic circumstances were nearly ideal. But these only increased the materialism and injustice of the people. Also, during these years, Assyria, Babylonia, and Egypt were relatively weak. So the people found it difficult to imagine the coming destruction by these nations – yet it would be only 3 decades to the destruction of this nation.

Amos called for justice – spiritual and social – to flow like a stream “Perhaps God will be merciful to the people of this nation who are left alive” (5:15).

The basic theme /topic of this book = the coming judgment of Israel because of the holiness of God and the sinfulness of his covenant people.

In this book, Amos relentlessly visualizes the causes of Israel’s approaching doom.

  • Yes, God is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, patient, long-suffering.
  • Yet, his holiness will not allow sin to go unpunished indefinitely.

At this point, Israel’s sins are stacked up to heaven with idolatry, oppression, depression, injustice, etc. This is the situation of that story at this time. The people have repeatedly broken every aspect of their covenant relationship with God.

Yet, if they would but repent and turn from their sins, God would forgive. God sent Amos as a reformer to turn them.

Key words: Judgment + Hope

God is good all the time even though there is condemnation. Yet, the book of God always ends with hope and restoration and consolation.

Amos 9:11-15

Israel’s Restoration

11 “In that day I will restore David’s fallen shelter— I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins— and will rebuild it as it used to be, 12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name, ” declares the LORD, who will do these things. 13 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills, 14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.

Summary (survey) of the book

3 part division:

Part 1 (chp 1-2)

8 principles of judgment – judgment against 8 countries

  1. Damascus,
  2. Gaza,
  3. Tyre,
  4. Edo,
  5. Moak,
  6. Israel,
  7. Judah,
  8. etc.)

We repeatedly see “This is what the Lord says…” Also, 7 times repeated “I will send fire…”

Part 2 (chp 3-6)

Three sermons of Amos (one sermon per chapter) – each starts with “Hear this word…” (3:1, 4:1, 5:1)

  • Chp 3 = Israel’s present
  • Chp 4 = Israel’s past
  • Chp 5-6 = Israel’s future – its judgment is deserved and described

Part 3 (chp 7-9)

5 visions of Amos

  1. locusts,
  2. fire,
  3. plum-line,
  4. summer fruit,
  5. broken door posts

Yet, as we saw, Amos finishes this book on a note of restoration, not condemnation.

4 Lessons

From this book, we can get 4 lessons for our daily Christian lives:

Amos = “Burden Bearer” (Do you have a burden? Yes, a heavenly burden)

#1: Confess our sins EVERY day

This world is full of dust (earth). Our bodies are from dust. We must wash our bodies every day, we also must “wash” our spirits each day – by repenting. “If we say we do not sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us…”

Did you wash your face/hands/feet this morning? Like this we must confess our sins daily.

#2: Amos was unwelcome/unpopular – he was persecuted

This world is sinful/unholy, if we are doing something holy/righteous, we can be persecuted. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven… rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in heaven.”

Rejoice in persecution for doing the will/work of God. – this results in a double portion of blessing.

#3: Amos = “Burden Bearer”

Are you Christian? If so, we are saved by grace, called by God to do his work. We are DEBTORS.

Paul confesses that he is in debt to all men, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God to save sinners.” Paul was not evangelized by any man, but directly from heaven – yet, he said he was a debtor to all men – only to preach the gospel, to make Christ known to others. This was his greatest duty and obligation.

#4: Before God called him, he was a farmer

But he was called by God to do God’s job by grace. Today, also we are the same.

If we are saved, we are saved by grace. If we are doing something in the kingdom of God, in the church of Christ, we are doing it by the grace of God – not by our own talents.

Paul wrote:

“Brothers and sisters in Christ, think of who/what you were when you were called by God. Not many of you were wise, not many were influential, not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of this world to shame the wise, the lowly things, the despised things, the things that were NOT to nullify the things that ARE. So that no one may boast before God.”

“It is by grace you have been saved, and this not of yourselves, so that no one can boast before God.”

If we can boast, we can only boast IN the Lord for what he has done – for our justification, sanctification, glorification.

God is good all the time, long-suffering, and patient, but he will NOT allow sin to go unpunished forever.

Let’s pray.