Read Amos 1:1
Amos was more than a shepherd he was a man who oversaw the shepherds and was a breeder of livestock of goats, and sheep. Amos was called by God out of his profession to become a prophet of God. It was not Amos’ gift to be a prophet but God had spoken to him and asked him to go and speak to Israel (Northern Kingdom) regarding the sins they have committed that have caused God to lose patience with them. This would be an uncomfortable not only because Amos had to tell them that they were rebelling against God but also because Amos was from Judah (Southern Kingdom) and they did not like each other.
When people think about their calling in life so many times we evaluate our gifts and abilities and determine the calling God has for us. Although God does use our gifts and abilities that He has given to us to accomplish His will, He also calls us to do things that we have not done before so we rely totally on Him. Noah never built an Ark to hold animals but yet God asked him to build one. Moses was not a good communicator but God asked him to go and speak to pharaoh and would even do miraculous signs. Amos was a rancher and yet God called him out of his comfort to go and be a prophet. The path God has for you is more about you being obedient to God then the talents and abilities you possess. God’s messengers are more concerned about delivering what God wants said rather than how the people will accept it and their obedience to God is more important than how people perceive them.
If you have ever used a magnifying glass you know that it can help you see things that you have never seen before. It literally brings into sight things that may be unseen by that natural eye. Many times we can see the sins of other people but not our own sins. Sometimes we even call our sins bad habits but that does not take away from the fact that they are a sin. Amos is going to get Israel to see the sins in their own life by first putting a magnifying glass on the sins of foreign nations and the sin of their brothers. Amos will then turn the magnifying glass onto Israel exposing all the things they have done.
Read Amos 1:2
Roar is either a roar of a lion (Psalm 104:21) or a roar of thunder (Job 37:4) but both demonstrate that God was going to speak and that it would shake them to the core of their being. A lions roar has been known to freeze its victims in their tracks and thunder has been known to shake the building causing alarm. To ignore the roar or to not pay attention to the thunder was to ignore the warning and put you in danger. God’s Judgement was coming and the results of the land were going to be devastating.
Read Amos 1:3-5
1) The Magnifying Glass on other Nations
Amos uses a metaphor of God waiting patiently with the countries that surrounded the children of God that shows that they have tested His patience to the point that they have passed the point of no return. “For three transgressions and for four” meant that God’s patience was full and now overflowing because of the sin of the nations. Sin is rebellion against God’s standard of conduct and all the nations that Amos is about to mention will have sinned to a point that God was no longer patient with them.
What most people do not realize is that when we sin we are sinning against God. When people say they are not hurting anyone but themselves that is not true because they are ultimately rebelling against God. When we sin, even if we sin against another person, it is really against God and He is the one who will deal with the sin that you are committing.
2 Samuel 2:13 David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” And Nathan said to David, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.
David took another man’s wife and had him murdered but then he says he sinned against God. For a King to take another man’s wife and to have him murdered was really nothing new but for David to be a child of God then God would not allow His child to continue living in such a way without acknowledging the sin.
Amos will use this metaphor, for three transgressions and for four”, all through chapter one showing over and over again that the sins of the nations have reached a point of no return. Many people do not talk about God’s judgment or how God will eventually run out of patience. We think that God just overlooks all of our sins but that is not what the Bible teaches. God hates sin so much that He came to earth as Jesus Christ and died for it. To trivialize our sin and make it seem that it is not bad is testing the patience of God.
Romans 2:4-5 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
People that do not turn from their sin and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ are destined for Gods wrath. God is patient wanting you to turn from your sins (repentance) but if you keep ignoring His commands know that He will eventually run out of patience with you and judge you. For a follower of Christ it will lead to discipline but for a person that has not accepted Christ it could be eternity separated from God.
Read Amos 1:6-2:3
Amos goes through the sins that finally caused God’s patience to wear out only mentioning the last sins that the nations committed. Every sin that these foreign lands did was a crime against humanity because they devalued other people who were made in the image of God. Christianity teaches that ALL LIVES Matter from the womb to the Tomb but we live in a society where the life in the womb is in danger and we are quickly approaching a time when those who are older will be asked to move on so as to not be a burden to society.
Evolution cannot teach value of life because it believes that we are all part of a cosmic accident or chance. The Book of Genesis tells us that we are special creations above the animals and made in the image of God and therefore all lives are of value to God and He counts all of them as precious. These foreign countries have killed and dehumanized people by selling them as if they were property and God had reached a point that He was no longer going to tolerate it.
Foreign countries are not immune from the judgement of God because of their allegiance to other gods. We all will give an account before God one day even if we do not think He exist.
Romans 2:12-16 For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them 16 on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
Everyone knows what is right and wrong because God has placed inside of everyone this sense of right and wrong. One of the proofs of a Creator is the fact that people know evil when they see it. If there is anything called evil then there has to be good and if there is good then there has to be a creator because a cosmic accident cannot create a system of right and wrong in all humanity.
The Cities were not condemned for their false idol worship but for the sins that everyone in the world knows are sins. The reason people and governments become heartless is that they continue to numb their hearts till they become so hardened that any act against humanity is possible. The City of Nineveh was forgiven because of their repentance but when countries will not repent from their evil God will eventually run out of patience and hold them accountable for their actions.
Romans 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,[g] in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Read Amos 2:4-5
2) The Magnifying Glass on our brothers
The Northern Kingdom loved that Amos, who was from the southern kingdom, was slamming his own people and calling out the sins that they have committed. Judah had rejected the Law of God (The Bible) and began following false prophets who did not call out their sin. God will discipline His children and God will hold those who have a relationship with Him to a higher standard than those who do not know Him as their God.
Deuteronomy 8:5 Know then in your heart that, as a man disciplines his son, the Lord your God disciplines you.
Amos was pronouncing judgment against his very people the Southern Kingdom and the Northern Kingdom loved it because we tend to think that when God punishes another person that we are in the right but that is not always the case because both parties can be sinning against God. They saw Gods punishment of Judah as Gods approval of Israel but the grace and mercy of God was allowing sin to take place in both kingdoms only for a time.
Read Amos 2:6
3)The Magnify Glass on Ourselves.
Seven is a complete number and at this point Amos has talked about seven nations that God’s judgment is going to fall on. The People in the Northern Kingdom were probably feeling pretty good about themselves and they would have been in total agreement thinking that Amos was done with prophesying about the judgments of God and was going to pronounce a blessing on them. When a prophet spoke out against the foreign nations it was usually followed up by salvation for Israel. (Isaiah 13-23; Jeremiah 46-51; Ezekiel 25-32; Joel 3) Amos had a genius plan to point out the sins of the other nations and since they were in agreement that those things were wrong then they would be more easily convinced that what they were doing was sin as well.
Nathan did the same thing when he had to confront King David about him stealing another man’s wife and then having the man murdered. Nathan knew that if he approached King David the wrong way that he could have his head chopped off at David’s request. Nathan used a story and asked David what he would do if he were to judge this particular situation.
2 Samuel 12:1-7a And the Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, “There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. 2 The rich man had very many flocks and herds, 3 but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms,[a] and it was like a daughter to him. 4 Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the guest who had come to him, but he took the poor man’s lamb and prepared it for the man who had come to him.” 5 Then David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man, and he said to Nathan, “As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, 6 and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity.”
7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man!
How quick we are to notice the sins in another person’s life but not in our own. King David could see clearly that this person had sinned against the other even though his sins were much worse than the ones Nathan said were committed. Just like King David and the Northern Kingdom we notice the wrongs that others do but do not see our own faults. How quick we are to judge someone else and wish Gods wrath upon them without seeing that we are using up our patience with God. Jesus addressed this issue of seeing another person’s sins and not seeing our own.
Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
The Judging in this passage means motives not outward actions. People love to say that we are not allowed to judge another person but that is not what Jesus is saying. In fact Jesus is telling us to remove the sin out of our own life so we can help another person remove the sin out their life. To notice the speck and to help them remove it means that we are judging. Part of belonging to a Christian fellowship is so that you can grow in Lord by allowing other Christians to help you with sins that you struggle with.
James 5:16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.
Jesus used the illustration of plucking a speck out of someone’s eye to show the sensitivity we should have with each other as we help each other remove sins from our lives. Many Christians are big on pointing out the sins but they do so in an insensitive way. Some Christians like to point out the sins but then do nothing to help the person remove it from their life. Our responsibility to other people is not only to point out their sin but to walk alongside them as they work on removing it from their life. When I notice my own sin in my life and the struggle I have with it, I am more sensitive to someone else and the sin they struggle with even if I do not struggle with the same sin.
What sins in your life have you been ignoring? What sins in your life do you call bad habits? What verses in the Bible are you ignoring in how you live your life before God? Do you call sin what God calls sin?
Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers,[a] by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship
If you want to worship God then live your life in a way that is pleasing to Him. The Ultimate Magnifying Glass is the Word of God and we need to take it out every day and examine our lives with it. We need to match our lives to the word of God and stop ignoring the commands of God. We need to stop abusing God’s kindness and turn from our sins (Romans 2:4)