Amos 1-3

Israel and the Church

Fight the Good Fight!

 Israel was enjoying a time of prosperity and relative peace under Jeroboam great grandson of Jehu. He is often known as Jeroboam 2. The nation was formed when ten tribes rebelled from Judah and made Jeroboam 1 king. The two Jeroboam’s are not related but they did have some things in common.

When Jeroboam 1 rebelled he was afraid the people would want to go to Jerusalem to worship God and at some point reunite with Judah becoming one nation again. So Jeroboam 1 made golden calves to represent God and set them up in Bethel and Dan then directed the people to worship God there. He let the people celebrate the feasts that God had directed the people to do in Jerusalem, but he changed the dates and location.  He also set up a priesthood who were really puppets of the king and his agenda. Every king who follows Jeroboam 1 will keep this system in place and as a result, the people who think they are worshiping God are misled and corrupted in their belief. The law was not practiced. Instead, lawlessness was the order of the day. Justice was corrupted by bribery.  Immorality was prevalent.  Israel was not the witness to the other nations God had intended them to be because they did not remember where they had come from and what God had done for them. (2:6-9)

Time was running out for Israel. They had gotten so far from God they did not even know how to do what was right. (3:10)  However, they still had a form of godliness and could be found at the places of worship on the festival days. So God sends a prophet to Bethel to warn the people who would be gathered there of God’s coming judgment. He is an ordinary guy, a shepherd who also takes care of sycamore fig trees. This makes him the right man to relate to the people. Even if there is just a remnant of true believers left. (3:12)

God has an urgent and intense message for the people of Israel. Amos said, “The Lord Roars from Zion.” 1:2a NASB

In Chapter 3:7&8 Amos says, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” NASB

The prophet Amos and the others who we will be studying in the days to come represent the Lord roaring from Zion! He is still roaring today.

The Apostle Paul said, he was compelled to preach the gospel. The Lion was roaring. He saw the last days of the Church and he had to proclaim the warning. The warning is found in 2nd Timothy 3:1-5, “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God- having the form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” NIV

 To the casual Christian it may seem that Paul is talking about the conditions of the world in the end times. Certainly all of these things can be found in the world and the world will be judged for them in the last day. That is why God warned of the judgment coming upon the neighboring nations of Israel in Chapters 1&2 in the book of Amos. But he had a lot more to say to His people. The roaring of the Lion of Judah was directed to Israel who had allowed the world around them to invade and corrupt the nation. If we deflect this message to the world we miss the point and to whom it was written. Paul Wrote This To The CHURCH! Oops. I guess I am roaring!

 Five of the seven churches in Revelation 2&3 received a warning that they were off track and God was about to deal with them. The warning in 2nd Timothy stands  and we need to  listen and determine if it applies to us individually today. Are we on course or has the world pulled us, the Church, off course?

 We need to ask ourselves if we, the Church, are making a difference in the world or has the world invaded the church corrupting it? I believe the Church in the United States is in desperate need of a spiritual revival.  How about you? I urge you to read 2nd Timothy 3 again and add to your reading Galatians 5:19-26 and 1st Timothy 6:11-16

If you find yourself off course make the adjustment you need to get back on course. He even allows U-turns. He calls this repentance.

 May we be found on the right course!

Pastor Dave