Amos 4-6

The Culture

The focus of Amos’s prophesy now is clearly on Israel. As we move through these chapters we get a good idea of the culture and lifestyles of the people. Though lawlessness abounded the people still considered themselves God’s people. They went to the places of worship Jeroboam 1 had set up and celebrated the feasts God had prescribed. They would go to Gilgal, the place where Joshua entered the Promised Land and held the first circumcision. They even brought their tithes and offerings. But they were so worldly and lawless that God told them to keep their tithes and offerings because in His eyes they were worthless. They were going through the motions but doing them for the wrong reasons.

I have stood in the pulpit now for 30 years. I have seen people come to church but they left their heart for God at home. I have watched people clip their fingernails and play with their key rings flipping them in their hands. I watched a man read the newspaper during the church service. I think his wife made him come. I have seen people talk, pass notes, and look out the window or at their watches continually.

Some people come to church for the social or business contacts. Others have an agenda and want a place to promote it. What bothers me the most though, is when there are obvious problems at home. Problems in the marriage, alcohol or drug problems, spousal abuse, and the one we never talk about, materialism and poor money management. Yet the people smile and act like everything is fine. We’re going to church on Sunday and so everything is automatically okay even though Monday through Saturday their world is falling apart. So, pastor get off my case and preach something else.

The things that are going wrong are usually the consequences of the path in life the people have chosen to follow. This was certainly true in Israel’s case. God is saying through Amos. Wake up! Look around you. How is it really going? Are you going through pain? Pain has a purpose. God has placed pain in our lives to warn us that something is wrong and we need to make some changes.

God is saying to Israel in 5:21-24 that they will not escape the pain or the coming destruction by going through the religious motions like going to the festivals or church for that matter. He is calling the people to seek God with all their hearts and turn from the path in life they have chosen that is causing so much pain and take God’s path.

I have found that there are many ways people deflect the message being sent by God. Some just flat deny anything is wrong. They are living a lie. Some justify their actions and rationalize that in any given situation anyone would be doing the same thing. Some blame others or some event, or injustice; perceived or otherwise, so they have an excuse for how they are living. The problem with all these actions is that there is no action. Things remain the same because that is what these tactics do. There is a way to make a change. We need to face the truth with honesty and take responsibility for the decisions we have made that put us where we are today. We need to accept that God has a better way and a better plan. Instead of going through the motions we need to seek the Lord and His plan putting His plan in place in our life. Amos 5:14a, “Seek good and not evil, that you may live:” NASB

Seek God, follow God, and be blessed. Faith believes in God who can and will do it!

Pastor Dave