AMOS: GOD'S URGENT CALL TO REPENT
I: God's Incensed Prediction Of His Punishment Of The Gentiles
A. When He needed a messenger to the wicked Northern Kingdom of Israel when it was at the height of its spiritual rebellion against God, the Lord sent a layman name Amos who was not a professional prophet, a man from the Southern Kingdom of Judah, north to Israel to pronounce sharp judgment as a great warning to Israel.
B. Amos 1:1-2:3 comprises God's incensed prediction of His punishment of the Gentiles, a fitting introduction to His message to Israel herself, and we view the passage for our insight, application, and edification:
II. God's Incensed Prediction Of His Punishment Of The Gentiles, Amos 1:1-2:3.
A. The setting for Amos' prophecies were the materially prosperous reigns of Judah's King Uzziah and Israel's King Jeroboam II, a time when both nations were complacent in their wickedness due to their material wealth, and God called a layman Amos of Judah to trek north to Israel to deliver a blunt call to repent, Amos 1:1; Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1427; Ryrie Study Bible, KJV, 1978, "Intro. to the Book of Amos," p. 1264.
B. God's attitude was one of fury: in Amos 1:2, the Lord is likened to a lion who would roar from Jerusalem as He leaped on His prey, causing the pastures of the shepherds to mourn and the slopes of Mount Carmel, some of Israel's best farmlands, to wither, Amos 1:2; Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T.; Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Amos 1:2.
C. To make God's message to Israel effective, He had Amos begin by pronouncing punishment on the Gentile nations around Israel, pronouncements full of anger at the nations' acts of rebellion against Him, Am. 1:3-2:3:
1. Though the Gentile nations did not have the Mosaic Law like Israel did, they and Israel alike were descendants of Noah and his three sons who were under the Noahic Covenant that forbade mistreating other people since they were made in the image of God, cf. Genesis 9:5-6.
2. However, the Gentile nations surrounding Israel had grossly and repeatedly violated this divine covenant, infuriating the Lord into pronouncing judgment upon them (as follows), Amos 1:3-2:3:
a. God had Amos claim that for "three transgressions of Damascus, and for four" He would not turn away its punishment, (Amos 1:3 KJV). This saying refers to "repeated and innumerable acts of rebellion," Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Amos 1:3. The Arameans had pulled heavy sledges studded with iron prongs or knives over prisoners of Israel's people in Gilead, torturing them to death in violation of the Noahic Covenant (Amos 1:3; Ibid., B. K. C., O. T.), so God would destroy the palace of Hazael, founder of the Aramean dynasty and the ruler of Aramea in Amos' day, and they would be defeated and go into captivity, Amos 1:4-5.
b. God had Amos claim that for three transgressions and for four He would not revoke His punishment on Gaza because it captured whole communities and sold them as slaves for profit in violation of the Noahic Covenant, Amos 1:6. An infuriated God would send a fire on the wall of Gaza that would devour its strongholds, many of the Philistines would be killed with their leaders and the rest would perish, v. 7-8.
c. God had Amos claim that for three transgressions and for four He would not revoke His punishment on Tyre for failing to keep its covenant between Tyre's king Hiram and David by selling Hebrews into slavery, violating the Noahic Covenant, Amos 1:9; Ibid., Ryrie, ftn. to Amos 1:9. An infuriated God would then send a fire on the wall of Tyre that would devour its palaces, Amos 1:10.
d. God had Amos claim that for three transgressions and for four He would not revoke His punishment on Edom for mistreating Hebrews, a relative nation of the Edomites, so an angry God would send a fire on Edom's cities for violating the Noahic Covenant, Amos 1:11-12; Ibid., Bible Know. Com., O. T., p. 1430.
e. God had Amos claim that for three transgressions and for four He would not revoke His punishment on Ammon for ripping open Israel's pregnant women in Gilead to enlarge their border, a wicked violation of the Noahic Covenant, so God would send a fire on the wall of its capitol Rabbah, devouring its strongholds and sending its king and princes into captivity amid the commotion of defeat in battle, Amos 1:13-15.
f. God had Amos claim that for three transgressions and for four He would not revoke His punishment on Moab for burning to lime the bones of the king of Edom in violation of the Noahic Covenant, so God would send a fire on Moab to destroy its strongholds, cutting off its ruler and princes, Amos 2:1-3.
Lesson: For gross and repeat violations of the Noahic Covenant that forbade mistreating others since they were made in God's image, an infuriated Lord promised to punish Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab.
Application: May we recall that every human being on earth is made in God's image, that we treat him honorably.