Read Amos 2:13-16
“I will crush you” Amos does not sugar coat what is about to happen to them because the moment calls for the people of God to wake up. God has reached a point where His patience has run out and now it is time for Him to act against the sins that they are committing and God is the one who is going to bring the punishment and the bravest will not be able to stand against Him. Every illustration that Amos gives would demonstrate that when God acted there would be panic among the people. Just because we are forgiven for our sins does not mean that God will not punish us here on earth. The people had no clue what they have done because they had become so deceived by the sins they were committing so the prophet Amos was going to show them two things they have forgotten.
Forget: To lose remembrance of; to disregard intentionally. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
We forget things all the time but some things we have to make sure we do not forget because when we forget these two things if affects our lives and possibly our eternity. Amos will begin by explaining to them the two things they have forgotten that God has done for them.
Read Amos 3:1-3
“I brought you out of the land of Egypt”
Amos 2:9-10 Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.
The destruction of the Amorites allowed the children of Israel to take possession of the promise land. The Amorites were a strong and powerful people that took an act of God for them to be defeated.
The Exodus from Egypt involved the miraculous plagues that God sent on behalf of His people when Pharaoh would not allow them to leave. They have forgotten about their dependency on God and how God is the one who delivered them away from evil and into the promise land. Amos says “The Whole Family” because although they may be split in two Kingdoms because of their sin God continues to see them as one family.
Deuteronomy 6:10-12 And when the Lord your God brings you into the land that he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give you—with great and good cities that you did not build, 11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full, 12 then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
As time passed they became comfortable living in the promise land and had forgotten what price was paid for them to be there. The promises of God had also a curse attached to them that if they started worshiping other idols then God would remove His favor from them. (Deuteronomy 28) The people just assumed that Gods favor was upon them and how they were living would not bring any consequences.
Just like the Israelites had to be rescued from Pharaoh and the Amorites defeated so they could enter the promise land so Jesus Christ had to die for our sin and defeat death so that we could live eternally with God. As Christ followers we do the same thing when we forget the price that was paid for us on the cross by Jesus Christ. Christianity rises and falls on the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ as not only our delivery from sin but also because Jesus defeated death. Jesus made it possible for us to be in a right relationship with God by paying for our sins on the cross. (Romans 5)
Muslims do not believe Jesus, who they consider a prophet, died on the cross. (Sura 4:157-159) People have tried to deny that Jesus died and that He rose again even though the evidence of a death and resurrection is proven. It is the death and resurrection that we cannot forget or downplay because it was God who rescued us from the evil we were trapped in and it is God who made the way for us to enter into His presence for all eternity. Everything Jesus did on the cross and the fact that He defeated death cannot be forgotten and it needs to be the message we declare to others.
1 Corinthians 2:1-2 And I, when I came to you, brothers,[a] did not come proclaiming to you the testimony[b] of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
It is easy for us to not realize the cost of our sins because we are not the ones who had to pay for them just like the Israelites had forgotten the price that was paid for them. We forget the price that has been paid for us when we do not take what the Bible calls sins seriously. We live in a culture that wants to twist and manipulate the scriptures to make it fit their lifestyles instead of their lifestyles fitting the scriptures. When we do not call sins what God calls sins then we devalue the price that Jesus paid for us on the cross.
We also forget the deliverance we have been granted when we say that “all roads lead to Heaven” . If all roads lead to Heaven then why did Jesus Christ die on the cross? If we can go to purgatory and pay off our sins then why did Jesus Christ die on the cross? Jesus paid it all and at the end of paying the debt to God that we could not pay Jesus said, “It is Finished” (John 19:30). Jesus did not say that it was mostly done or that you will have to finish what He started, He said it was completed for us. The price that God paid for us by coming in human form as Jesus and dying for us was something we will not understand fully this side of Heaven. The Cross cannot be forgotten or even down played because it was through the cross that salvation was achieved for anyone who believes on the Lord Jesus (Acts 16:31)
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
We do not earn our own way to Heaven it was achieved for us through Jesus just like the children of Israel were freed from Pharaoh we have been freed from sin and just like the children of Israel were brought into the promise land we to can enter in because of the things God has done on our behalf.
“You only, have I known” Whenever the word “known” is used in the Bible it is an intimate term meant for a married couple. To know meant to be one with the other person spiritually and physically. Our relationship with God is not to be distant but a daily walk with Him. Living in a relationship with God demands loyalty and faithfulness just like a married couple pledges to be faithful to one another in how they act and live. We treat God as someone who wants to be married when it is convenient but then we go off and date others when we have a desire to do so. The book of Hosea talks about how we have treated God that way. Behavior that we would not tolerate in earthly relationships is how we treat God when we live however we want even though God says those lifestyles are wrong.
“Do two walk together unless they have agreed to meet?” When you get married two people agree to be together. Our relationship with God is always demonstrated in intimate terms like a father to his children. Too many people have thought they had a relationship with God simply because they acknowledge God in some prayers and activities but Jesus made it known that to follow Him was a daily intimate activity
Matthew 4:19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”
Read Amos 3:4-6
Amos now uses cause and effect to show the people that how they are living has consequences. You cannot live disobediently and still get the blessings from God. Amos says, A Lion roars for a reason. A bird only gets caught if there is a trap and A trumpet blown in a city is when danger is approaching. When we live our lives as if there are no consequences for our sins then we miss how serious God takes our sins.
Does Disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?” Instead of peace they will experience fear as God punishes them for forgetting the promises He has made to them. They believed the covenant relationship would protect them and they could live however they wanted. They were led out of Egypt to demonstrate to the world that there was one true God but the world would not be able to see that if they were worshiping and acting like the rest of the world. God saved you not so you would live however you want but that you would live for Him in a daily intimate relationship.
God always warns before He destroys. He warned Nineveh with Jonah, He warned the world with Noah and He even had Abraham go get lot out of Sodom. Amos was warning them that they have forgotten God, intentionally or not, and that God was not going to put up with it anymore. Punishment was coming and panic was going to overtake them.
James 2:14; 17-19 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. 19 You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!
Simply put Faith in Christ should show in our actions because if our actions are not changing then we do not have faith in Christ. If I say “I love you” and then treat you horribly then what I say is invalid. Many people say they love God or that they are Christians but how they live their lives shows that they do not. Even the demons believe in God so believing in God is not proof that you have an intimate relationship with Him. When I got married I changed because I was in a committed relationship with my wife. I stopped dating other girls and spending money however I wanted because I was concerned not just about my own life but hers as well. When we are in a relationship with God then we care about the things that He cares about because we love Him. We cannot earn God’s grace just like the children of Israel did not earn it, but if we think that we have a relationship with God and act however we want we are confused or deceived.
Country singer Kenny Chesney sings a song about everyone wanting to go to Heaven but no one wants to go now. The reason many people say they do not want to go to Heaven right now is because they have made it about the place and not the person. We like to be around people that we love and we will go anywhere as long as we can be with them. When we fall in love with Jesus and have and intimate walk with Him then Heaven is more about being with Him than the place that exist.
Matthew 7:21-24 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’
It is going to be a sad day for many people who think they are Christians (Christ Followers) who are not because they did religious activities but never had an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Many people have forgotten what it really means to be a Christian and they have relied on their religious teachings and practices for salvation just like the religious leaders of Jesus day.
“Does being baptized in church automatically guarantee a place in heaven? Does taking Communion magically produce forgiveness regardless of a person’s true attitude? Does confirmation or church membership necessarily bring God’s favor for the rest of a person’s life? Does keeping the Golden Rule guarantee a person will be treated kindly by God? Are these wise maxims or deceptive myths? Are these foolish ideas or rules to live by that are widely believed by religious people? Unfortunately, some people attempt to comfort themselves by rationalizing deceptive ideas that contain a portion of the trut but miss the oerall thrust of what is needed to please and Glorify God.” (The NIV Application Commentary, Gary V. Smith, PG. 277)
Jesus Christ paid the ultimate price to be in a relationship with us by coming to earth, surrendering is God Hood and dying for us on the cross. It is not about our works but our relationship with Him and we must all ask ourselves if we have a religion or a relationship? Doing good deeds for my wife may be a nice gesture but if I never spend time with her and talk with her then everything I am doing for her could be done by anyone else. My relationship with my wife has to be intimate and through that I will do things she loves but only because I love her.
Have you forgotten the meaning of the cross? Have you forgotten your relationship with Him?
Revelation 2:1-5 I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name’s sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. 5 Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first. If not, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place, unless you repent.
“Fall crazy in love with Jesus and the rest will take care of itself” Brent Gambrell