Duration: 365 days
GOD’S LOVING ROAR
God wants Amos, a fig farmer and sheep raiser from rural Judah, to communicate his message to Israel. So Amos leaves his hometown and travels to his northern neighbor, Israel.
God is roaring like a lion. In roar after roar, God addresses the nations surrounding Israel—Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah. Fiery judgment is headed their way because they are steeped in sin. He begins each message of judgment by saying, “For three sins of . . . even for four.” The sins of the people are filled to the brim—the fourth sin tips over the cup.
The people of Judah, Israel’s sister nation, have “rejected the law of the Lord,” being led astray by false gods. God has given his people his own words, showing them his heart, and they have turned away.
Amos turns his focus on his target audience, Israel. God’s people sell their people for profit, mistreat the poor and sexually abuse the vulnerable. While God’s people consistently turn their backs on him, he still defends them against their enemies and sends them prophets to show them the right way to live. But God has had enough.
The King’s Heart
God had chosen his people, out of all nations, to know his heart. They were to live out his commandments, the ways of heaven, so that the rest of the world could see how wonderful he is and what a delight it is to live in his kingdom under his reign.
But God’s people were just like other nations. They weren’t full of goodness, truth or beauty. And in their evil, they were degrading God’s character. The nations weren’t seeing the Lord as any different than their gods. That wasn’t just a shame, it was tragic—those dark gods dangerously kept the people of foreign nations captive. Their only hope was to see God’s goodness and follow him. Israel’s evil was leading the world astray.
God could have allowed Israel to be overtaken on the spot. It would have spared him more character slander. But the God of goodness didn’t do that. Instead, he lovingly warned his people of the destruction that was coming in the hope that they would turn back to him.
One of Israel’s many vile sins was that fathers and sons were having sex with the same girl (Amos 2:7). God required that if a man had sex with a girl, he had to marry her (see Exodus 22:16; Deuteronomy 22:28-29). And God strictly forbade a father and son to have sex with the same woman (Leviticus 18:7-8, 15; 20:11–12).
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