Good Morning, Siblings!
Today’s readings are Amos 1-5
- This is a relatively short book which will take us two days to go through together. My goal is to give you relatively short notes but I’m not making any promises.
- Amos was a sheepherder and a tender of sycamore fig trees. We aren’t told that he owned the sheep and trees so it is a good possibility that he tended them for someone else.
- Amos is considered the author of this book.
- This book is primarily directed at Israel, who was living in a time of wealth and acclaim for them at this point in history. The more prominent their station grew, the more they turned to all manner of sin, including idolatry and rejection of YHWH as their God. This book serves as a warning to nations that rise in wealth and prosperity, as grave and boisterous sin often follows closely behind. However, we will also see, time and again, the compassion and steadfast love of YHWH.
Amos 1:1 tells us this prophecy is taking place two years before the earthquake. I enjoyed looking around at various research regarding this quake and you might as well. I didn’t have time to put together a summary of what I found but there is archeological evidence to back this up. Of course, this is no surprise because historians and archeologists will continue to find evidence that proves the Bible to be true – because it is.
Like Hosea, this is taking place during the reign of Jeroboam II. That is important context in understanding how Israel was behaving at this time.
There are several Hebrew idioms in this book. “For three, even for four…” was noted by the Cultural Backgrounds Bible to be a Hebrew idiom meaning very many.
“Cleanness of teeth” is said to mean hunger. We read of that one in Amos 4:6 as one of the methods the Father used to try to get His children to return to Him.
If you highlight or write in your Bible, you may want to do as I did. In chapter 4, highlight every time the Father says “yet you did not return to me”. In chapter 5, highlight each time He says “seek me and live”. Then, highlight Amos 5:14-15. Once done, go over and read the sentences you highlighted in order all at once. It’s helpful to see the pattern so clearly.
I’m going to end my notes there. I know these are super short but not every day needs a novel (aren’t you glad?). The points mentioned, reiterated, underlined, and bolded in Amos are a continued repetition of the pattern and Word of YHWH.
Are we seeing ourselves, our culture, our country in these words? We should be.
My friend, Debbie, has great additional insight into Amos and she generously shares some of her notes with us today as well!
Debbie’s Rabbit Trails
This time period lines up somewhat with Hosea, although Amos seems to speak for a shorter period of time. He is a shepherd and a tender of sycamore fig trees (Amos 1:1 & Amos 7:14). The Father seems to like using shepherds for His divine purpose. We will recall that YHVH Himself is THE Shepherd (Ezekiel 34:11). We will also recall that Yeshua identifies Himself as The Good Shepherd (John 10:11).
What do Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel all have in common? YHVH’s judgement! We would hope NOT to find Judah and Israel in that list, but after reading through Kings and Chronicles, certainty we can understand why they are there. Do you recall all the wicked things happening in all four of those books regarding both kingdoms? Well, Amos is speaking about those things, during that time. Notice from Amos 2:4-8 what YHVH has against Judah and Israel. It all relates to the many ways they have broken His Torah.
In chapter 3 we learn that YHVH is the ultimate maker/keeper of appointments. He is letting us know that He rules all of creation and that there are no coincidences…only appointments (Amos 3:3-7).
There are some definite hard parts of chapter 4. It helps to know that Israel worshiped images of cows (remember Aaron and the calf…yep…here we go again). Judgement is predicted, and if we read our history books, we will realize that Assyria marched Israel away in a particularly brutal way. YHVH is hammering home that HE is the one who has brought troubles on to Israel for the purpose of allowing them to return to Him and repent. But…we read over and over in this chapter that “yet you have not returned to Me.”
So…when we see everything going wrong and turning upside down in our world, could it be that YHVH is calling us to return and repent?
If chapter 4 is all about “return and repent,” then chapter 5 is about “seek Me and live!”
“For thus says YHVH to the house of Israel: Seek Me, and live!” Amos 5:4
Then we are reminded once again of His power over creation:
“He who made the Pleiades and Orion and changes deep darkness to morning. Who darkens the day into night. Who summons the water of the sea and pours it out on the face of the earth — YHVH is His Name.” Amos 5:8
Something to Keep in Mind: YHVH wants to be credited and praised for His Creation. Many Many Many scriptures tie back to this theme.
Here is a timely verse: “Therefore the prudent keep silent at such a time — for it is a distressful time.” Amos 5:13
Notice once again that YHVH speaks of Israel’s festivals. He may be speaking of THEIR festivals or the mis-use and half-heartedness of HIS festivals, or both (Amos 5:21-23).
And ouch…a reminder that even during the years in the wilderness the original nation was unfaithful (Amos 5:25). –Revisit Leviticus 17:7 for a refresher.
Our scripture for today ends with the foreboding assurance that Israel WILL be sent into exile.
“So I will send you into exile, beyond Damascus.” Amos 5:27 — Let’s take a moment to look at that word “beyond.” I am linking the Strong’s concordance from Blue Letter Bible here. Notice that the word can be used, not only about geography but with time. Yes, Israel was sent “beyond” Damascus, but they were also sent “beyond” in other ways too…in reference to time. Have some fun with that!
Test everything, hold tight to what is good.~ 1 Thess 5:21
We are saved by Grace alone: Obedience is not the root of our salvation, it is the fruit!