November 22, 2021

Be the First to Repent!

Amos 6-9

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Woe to Those at Ease in Zion

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
    and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
...

Woe to Those at Ease in Zion

“Woe to those who are at ease in Zion,
    and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria,
the notable men of the first of the nations,
    to whom the house of Israel comes!
Pass over to Calneh, and see,
    and from there go to Hamath the great;
    then go down to Gath of the Philistines.
Are you better than these kingdoms?
    Or is their territory greater than your territory,
O you who put far away the day of disaster
    and bring near the seat of violence?

Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory
    and stretch themselves out on their couches,
and eat lambs from the flock
    and calves from the midst of the stall,
who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp
    and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
who drink wine in bowls
    and anoint themselves with the finest oils,
    but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph!
Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile,
    and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.”

The Lord LORD has sworn by himself, declares the LORD, the God of hosts:

“I abhor the pride of Jacob
    and hate his strongholds,
    and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

And if ten men remain in one house, they shall die. 10 And when one's relative, the one who anoints him for burial, shall take him up to bring the bones out of the house, and shall say to him who is in the innermost parts of the house, “Is there still anyone with you?” he shall say, “No”; and he shall say, “Silence! We must not mention the name of the LORD.”

11  For behold, the LORD commands,
    and the great house shall be struck down into fragments,
    and the little house into bits.
12  Do horses run on rocks?
    Does one plow there 1 with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
    and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood 2
13  you who rejoice in Lo-debar, 3
    who say, “Have we not by our own strength
    captured Karnaim 4 for ourselves?”
14  “For behold, I will raise up against you a nation,
    O house of Israel,” declares the LORD, the God of hosts;
“and they shall oppress you from Lebo-hamath
    to the Brook of the Arabah.”

Warning Visions

This is what the Lord LORD showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

“O Lord LORD, please forgive!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
The LORD relented concerning this:
    “It shall not be,” said the LORD.

This is what the Lord LORD showed me: behold, the Lord LORD was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,

“O Lord LORD, please cease!
    How can Jacob stand?
    He is so small!”
The LORD relented concerning this:
    “This also shall not be,” said the Lord LORD.

This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

“Behold, I am setting a plumb line
    in the midst of my people Israel;
    I will never again pass by them;
the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,
    and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,
    and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Amos Accused

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said,

‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
    and Israel must go into exile
    away from his land.’”

12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was 5 no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15 But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.

You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
    and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’

17 Therefore thus says the LORD:

‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
    and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
    and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

The Coming Day of Bitter Mourning

This is what the Lord LORD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me,

“The end 6 has come upon my people Israel;
    I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple 7 shall become wailings 8 in that day,”
    declares the Lord LORD.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
“Silence!”

Hear this, you who trample on the needy
    and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, “When will the new moon be over,
    that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
    that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel 9 great
    and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
    and the needy for a pair of sandals
    and sell the chaff of the wheat?”

The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
    and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
    and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”

“And on that day,” declares the Lord LORD,
    “I will make the sun go down at noon
    and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10  I will turn your feasts into mourning
    and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
    and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
    and the end of it like a bitter day.

11  Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord LORD,
    “when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
    but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12  They shall wander from sea to sea,
    and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
    but they shall not find it.

13  In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
    shall faint for thirst.
14  Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,
    and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’
and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’
    they shall fall, and never rise again.”

The Destruction of Israel

I saw the Lord standing beside 10 the altar, and he said:

“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
    and shatter them on the heads of all the people; 11
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
    not one of them shall flee away;
    not one of them shall escape.

If they dig into Sheol,
    from there shall my hand take them;
if they climb up to heaven,
    from there I will bring them down.
If they hide themselves on the top of Carmel,
    from there I will search them out and take them;
and if they hide from my sight at the bottom of the sea,
    there I will command the serpent, and it shall bite them.
And if they go into captivity before their enemies,
    there I will command the sword, and it shall kill them;
and I will fix my eyes upon them
    for evil and not for good.”

The Lord LORD of hosts,
he who touches the earth and it melts,
    and all who dwell in it mourn,
and all of it rises like the Nile,
    and sinks again, like the Nile of Egypt;
who builds his upper chambers in the heavens
    and founds his vault upon the earth;
who calls for the waters of the sea
    and pours them out upon the surface of the earth—
the LORD is his name.

“Are you not like the Cushites to me,
    O people of Israel?” declares the LORD.
“Did I not bring up Israel from the land of Egypt,
    and the Philistines from Caphtor and the Syrians from Kir?
Behold, the eyes of the Lord LORD are upon the sinful kingdom,
    and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
    except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
    declares the LORD.

“For behold, I will command,
    and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
    but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
10  All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
    who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’

The Restoration of Israel

11  In that day I will raise up
    the booth of David that is fallen
and repair its breaches,
    and raise up its ruins
    and rebuild it as in the days of old,
12  that they may possess the remnant of Edom
    and all the nations who are called by my name,” 12
    declares the LORD who does this.

13  “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
    “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper
    and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed;
the mountains shall drip sweet wine,
    and all the hills shall flow with it.
14  I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
    and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
    and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
15  I will plant them on their land,
    and they shall never again be uprooted
    out of the land that I have given them,”
    says the LORD your God.

Footnotes

[1] 6:12 Or the sea
[2] 6:12 Or into bitter fruit
[3] 6:13 Lo-debar means nothing
[4] 6:13 Karnaim means horns (a symbol of strength)
[5] 7:14 Or am; twice in this verse
[6] 8:2 The Hebrew words for end and summer fruit sound alike
[7] 8:3 Or palace
[8] 8:3 Or The singing women of the palace shall wail
[9] 8:5 An ephah was about 3/5 bushel or 22 liters; a shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams
[10] 9:1 Or on
[11] 9:1 Hebrew all of them
[12] 9:12 Hebrew; Septuagint (compare Acts 15:17) that the remnant of mankind and all the nations who are called by my name may seek the Lord

Be the First to Repent!



Key Verse | Amos 9:10

"All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, who say, 'Disaster shall not overtake us.'" 

Bio | Marcus Brown

I'm Marcus. For 48 years I have been the husband of the beautiful, fantastic Carol, my best friend. I am father to Alycia, Titus, and Noah.

I retired in 2015 after 27 years on the faculty of the University of Alabama (Roll Tide!), and Carol retired after 24 years as the office manager at our church. We moved back to Texas to be blessed by our four adorable grandchildren, now aged 4 to 7.

Watermark is the church we've been looking for for 50 years. We are thrilled to be part of it, and we serve in the re|engage and Legacy ministries.

Central Truth

God will punish sinners, even (especially?) those sinners who claim they are "God's people." We must examine our hearts and repent of what the Spirit shows us there. As God's people here, we must be the first to lead the world in repentance.

Devotional | Amos 6-9

I have a love-hate relationship with the Old Testament prophets.

I love how they emphasize that God is always in control, that He is aware of the evil around us, and that He will not let it go unpunished. He will...

I have a love-hate relationship with the Old Testament prophets.

I love how they emphasize that God is always in control, that He is aware of the evil around us, and that He will not let it go unpunished. He will never be caught off guard by events, whether pandemics, elections, or hurricanes. He's got this down.

But I hate how they remind us that God's patience can be exhausted, and in due time, He will punish evil. And what I really hate about that is when I look in the mirror, I see a sinner—saved by His grace, but still a sinner contributing to the sin of my nation, my culture, my people—and I wonder how long it will be before God's punishment will fall on our nation like it did on Israel.

We forget that God's warnings of punishment were conditional: When Nineveh repented at Jonah's preaching, God postponed the punishment He had planned, even though Jonah's message made no hint of "unless you repent."

So when I read Amos' warnings of doom, I was compelled to ask God to send a new Great Awakening to our nation. God has turned this nation around before, and He can do it again. But it begins with God's people. God told Solomon, "If my people . . . humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways" (2 Chronicles 7:14). Surely the sin of "those wicked people" outside the church tries God's patience. But it is our self-righteousness that delays God's healing of our land. We who belong to God must lead in repentance and prayer, pleading that God will send repentance and healing to our country.

Amaziah was a chief priest at Bethel and probably preached against sin regularly. He must have been pretty confident of his relationship with God, or he wouldn't have commanded Amos to stop preaching there. But the Lord's words to him through Amos were terrifying (Amos 7:17).

We've got to repent and pray. I've got to repent and pray.

Oh.

Excuse me. I've got some urgent confession and prayer to attend to.

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. It seems to me that all throughout history (at least since Moses), the people that did the most damage to God's purposes were the people who claimed to be speaking and acting for Him (i.e., Amaziah). So, when I claim to be one of His people, I need to be sure that I am living my life in accordance with His will. My worst temptation is pride, thinking that I know more than you do. And I have a few other problems, including lust, sloth, not taking care of my body, poor self-discipline, etc. What temptations do you struggle with? What steps can you take to overcome them?

2. Often it's the sins considered "respectable" in our culture that are most pernicious. Hopefully you haven't given in to porn or drunkenness lately, but how are you doing with pride or greed? Do your choices in cars or clothes or technology glorify God? Do your business practices exceed normal competitiveness to become predatory? (Confession: My waistline, for example, has not glorified God these last few years!)

3. How can your community group help you see, confess, and repent of your own sins, praying for God's intervention? How can you help them toward their own repentance?

4. Amos was very concerned about the poor, and he was angry with merchants and businesses who took unfair advantage of the poor. What do you think he would say about how we treat the poor today? What would he recommend that we do about the poor?

14 Comments available

Marcus Brown 5 days ago
Reply right arrow

Sue Bohlin, thanks for your kind words. You mention both girls and men thirsting for God’s word. (Amos 8:13) My fear is that, in the midst of a famine of God’s word, no one will recognize the source and solution to their hunger.

Marcus Brown 5 days ago
Reply right arrow

Robert Owen, you are correct: our problem is not so much who was elected as it is who elected him/her. God punished the Nazis for the deaths of 6,000,000 (relatively innocent) Jews. How will He react to our sacrificing 60,000,000 innocent babies at the altar of our ease and convenience?

Pray for a new Great Awakening!!

Neil Curran 7 days ago

Hi Marcus, Wow, brilliant commentary on Amos and pertinent discussion questions to provoke our thoughts. Appreciate you and Carol and your leadership in Legacy and re:engage. Neil & Jody Curran

Sue Bohlin 7 days ago

Outstanding devo, Marcus! I know what you mean about Watermark. I’ve been saying since 2007 that Jesus saved the best for last.

The Lord winked at me today in Amos 8:13, “Beautiful girls and strong young men will grow faint in that day, thirsting for the LORD’s word.” I’ve been meditating on gender since helping write the Bible study curriculum for Genesis 1-11, and particularly since I got to teach on God’s good creation of male and female (and last week in our Probe Live lecture series at the Hope Center). One of the points I have made, drawing on the wisdom of others over the millennia, is that the glory of men is their strength, and the glory of women is our beauty (both showing it and creating it). This morning the NLT put both of those concepts in one verse, and I practically heard, “Here you go!”

Greg Jones 7 days ago

1/1

Amaziah said what!?!? Amos said hello!?!? Side note, I didn’t know Thomas Edison popularized hello as hi when suggested it as a telephone greeting. Before the telephone it was used primarily in the hello/pay attention context. Graham Bell suggested Ahoy, imagine that.

The finger prints of Jacob’s Bethel circuit Genesis28:10-Genesis35:15 are all throughout Amos, especially around Shechem.

One of the more obvious: Amos4;12-13 with Genesis28:20-22 and Genesis32:26-29.

The fingerprints of Israel’s Shechem circuit and the prophet Amos are all over Stephen’s speech in Acts.

Stephen Acts7:43 quoting Amos5:27 substitutes Babylon for Damascus, has Abraham buy a grave yard from the sons of Haman rather than Jacob, and Joseph buried there rather than Jacob, Acts7:16, Joshua24:32. Genesis 33:18-20 is what we know for sure about the land from the earliest point of Israel’s history. What surrounds these parts of Israel’s is highlighted by the purposeful mistakes.

Greg Jones 7 days ago

2/2 Jacob’s story in Genesis can be seen as a story of God’s grace toward Jacob. Amos tells a story of Israel that questions/or shows what cheap grace is doing to people over time. Luke/Stephen change the telling of Israel’s history, as a way to question/show what cheap grace+unmerciful condemnation does to people over time.

Why? In Acts the church is proclaiming the ushering in of Amos 9. What that day actually looks like is different than what they have pictured it looking like in the past. No cheap grace, but no unmerciful condemnation either. It’s like imagine the past differently to imagine the present differently.

Imagine Amos9:1a. Now Imagine Acts7:56. Imagine Amos9:1b. Now imagine Acts7:60.

Today we might reimagine Amos9 and Acts7 with out the baggage the affects of shaming can have on people.

Q1-You must play golf. Me too, 61 and I still like I can improve.

Robert Owens 7 days ago
Reply right arrow

GM Marcus,

I can relate to your devotional this morning. Yours is a particularly insightful one. The fact that we can exhaust God’s patience includes the policies of our nation as well as the personal actions we take and statements we make. I am reminded of an article I read that addresses the 2020 election … which (among other thoughts) said … “The problem is much deeper and far more serious that than president Biden, who is a mere symptom of what ails America. Blaming the prince of fools should not blind anyone to the vast confederacy of fools who made him their prince.”

And the nation’s position, as set forth by the Supreme Court’s ruling on abortion, is very concerning to me.

Thank you for the time you spent on your devotional …

Robert Owens, Mason County, Texas

Michael Scaman 7 days ago

The sun being dark at noon and the land mourning as if for an only son sounds like it’s a glimpse the work of Christ on the cross.

God’s judgement cannot be escaped outside of that work.

Michael Scaman 7 days ago

Even though the community sounds affluent. There is a sad reveal of hearts and intentions where the community wishes the Sabbath to be over and done with ASAP instead their minds are on crooked commerce, oppressing the poor and selling the poor for a pair of shoes.

God not only says “I abhor the pride of Jacob”, he even makes the unusual statement that "I swears by the pride of Jacob’ that He will Not forget.

Linda Green 7 days ago

Great devo, Marcus, and love the idea of Legacy at WM! Hope it includes grandparent training, since grandparents have a unique platform to speak Gods truth to the next generation Psalm 145:4 in action!

Daniel 9:3-11 is a wonderful way to pray for our nation, Repentance- individual and corporate makes God happy (Luke 15:7). And praying for another Great Awakening- it is so needed.

Sometimes the OT prophets seem like all gloom and doom, but each seems to give hope for the distant future like in Amos 9:11-15 and Habakkuk 3:2. And for us now, Revelation 21:1-4!

Michael Scaman 7 days ago

Beds of ivory sounds like sparing no expense for self while not caring about others. Idleness and ease judged, pass the wine and play the music.

Could almost be on that old TV show ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’

Many of these things are not wrong in themselves, but wrong when combined with not caring about ‘the ruin of Joseph’ and based on "pride of Jacob’.

Nothing would have been wrong with enjoying things in a thankful godly way.

Hugh Stephenson 7 days ago

3 of 3

In reflecting and processing through this passage and the whole book I settled in on what it means to be made in God’s image and answer His call to be a modern-day shepherd. Phillip Keller’s book “A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23” is my inspiration.

Why? Because this real-life shepherd from east Africa explains the nature and character of sheep; rebellious, easily frighted, high maintenance, in need of constant discipline and completely helpless against predators as they have no natural defense mechanism.

By this measure, I see Jesus, (Luke 9:23), on one end and Amaziah, (Amos 6:1), on the other.

When God snaps His plumb line, where will I be? On it? Not hardly. (Amos 7:8-9).

As with so many other prophets, I am most encouraged by the promise of restoration of Israel described in Amos 9:11-15.

Hugh Stephenson 7 days ago

2 of 3

Q3 – My CG guys walked with me for 90 days in FST, (see Q1).

Q4 – Does Amos sound like he could write for the Dallas Morning News? The great investor John Templeton was asked once what the best investment is. As the crowd leaned forward to hear the response he leaned into the mic and spelled out “T-I-T-H-E”.

Hugh Stephenson 7 days ago

1 of 3

GM Marcus! I love this devo because you are singing my song brother.

The truth that I might exhaust God’s patience is terrifically sobering, (Exodus 34:6). Yet, the truth you remind me of is wrapped up I the word “if”.

What I note in this passage is the promise of confession and repentance, .

Repeatedly I see how God treats the sinners who repent, (Psalm 51:10), and confess, (Jeremiah 8:5-10) I am reminded that I bring only two things to the foot of the cross; sin and rebellion.

Q1 – Primary sin struggle is pride in the form of my task list and inbox. Haste, hurry, hustle. I call it H3. Recently I spent 90 day in Freedom Starts Today, (John Elmore). What a blessing!! Jeff Bethke and John Mark Comer have agreat podcast that is also a great blessing; https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fight-hustle-end-hurry/id1480300467

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