Duration: 365 days
GOD’S JUSTICE RIVER AND RIGHTEOUSNESS STREAM
Through Amos, God speaks to the family he brought out of Egypt. They had agreed to walk together, but Israel doesn’t know how to do right. God is going to come against Israel like a lion against a sheep; only scraps—an ear or a leg—will be left. He is going to destroy the detestable calf-god altar at Bethel that King Jeroboam set up when the nation first divided.
So many of the rich have earned their wealth by stepping on the poor. God is going to demolish their winter and summer homes. Instead of using their influence for good, Israel’s women are like lounging cows, crushing the needy and ordering their husbands to pour their drinks. They will be led into exile with hooks.
God’s people brag about the offerings they bring to the false altar at Bethel, but it is a stench to him. He wants his justice and righteousness to pour in like rushing water—not false-god offerings. God has tried famines, droughts, locusts and plagues to get his people’s attention, but they haven’t listened. He warns them to prepare to meet him—Israel is going to fall. “Seek me and live,” God tells them.
God’s people long for the day when he will return, thinking that he is going to elevate his people. But God tells them he is coming—to judge.
The King’s Heart
Israel’s society appeared to be beautiful. The rich lived in luxurious stone mansions with ivory-inlaid furniture, plentiful wine to drink and beautiful instruments to play. But it was all a disgusting illusion. The wealth of the rich had been built on the backs of the poor—they levied high taxes on the poorest citizens and deprived them of justice in the courts.
Through Amos, God was tearing down the façade.
“We are God’s! And he is with us!” God’s people in Israel were implying as they went to the calf-altar in Bethel, making offerings every morning, giving tithes and singing songs.
But God disagreed; they were nothing like him. He responded: “Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is” (5:14).
When God’s nation split, Israel’s King Jeroboam set up an altar with a golden calf at Bethel (see 1 Kings 12:26–33). The king wanted the people of Israel to worship there so they wouldn’t go south to Judah to worship at the true temple. They held festivals at Bethel and gave offerings. It sickened God. It was false and fake—nothing he had commanded.
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