Amos was continuing his prophecy about God’s judgment that was coming and he was not worried about being polite or politically correct because he knew that God’s punishment was coming for the lifestyle they had been living. Even though their lives went against the nature and character of God they did not think that what they were doing was wrong. Because of their wrong thinking they thought they were secure in God’s love and care but the prophet Amos was trying to convince them that they were about to experience God’s wrath.
Many people think that because God loves that there is nothing to fear when they know they will meet Him. They think because God loves that no one will be punished for the lives that they live. Many people think their relationship with God is secure when the opposite is actually true. The false security of thinking that everyone goes to Heaven is a false belief that has many feeling secure but they will be surprised when God’s wrath falls upon them.
Security means we have no fear of being harmed and when it comes to our relationship with God many believe that they are secure because of God’s love. Amos is trying to get the people of his day to understand the false securities that they have and for many people they have the same false securities that the prophet Amos was trying to get them to understand. As you read through the list see if there are any areas that might apply to you and some areas you may have some false security.
Amos 3:9-10 9 Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressed in her midst.”10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord, “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”
Secure in their Thinking
God is calling for witnesses to be on hand for the judgement that He is getting ready to give them and in the Old Testament trials had to have two witnesses to make a guilty verdict for the death penalty. (Deuteronomy 17:6) God does not just call any witnesses He calls their enemies to judge them for the evil that they have done. This would have been a shocking statement that the prophet Amos makes as they would have never thought that they were seen by God as being as evil as those other nations. The Northern Kingdom did not see their own sin and thought they were morally superior to Ashdod and Egypt. The Nations that Amos mentions were some of the most violent and oppressive nations and yet they were called to judge the violence and oppression that Israel was doing to their own people.
God’s children are to be a beacon of light to the rest of the world (Isaiah 49:6; Matthew 5:16) but instead God calls on other nations to judge them. God calls His people to order and justice (Micah 6:8) but instead there was chaos and oppression taking place.
“They do not know how to do right “
Their thinking was had become so corrupt that they could not see that how they were living was actually an offense to God.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!
With false prophets (pastors) and false thinking we have to be careful that we are not twisting the word of God to fit our lifestyles. Wrong thinking leads to wrong living so we have to be careful that we know what the word of God says. It is easy for us to start believing things that go against God by making them sound better or by justifying them by twisting the truth. Many people do not realize how far they have fallen away from God because their thinking is so damaged by the sin they are allowing in their lives.
Romans 1:21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
Poor thinking usually happens over time unless drugs are involved. Many people take small steps away from God not realizing how far they have moved away from Him and His Word. It is important that we do not rely on our own understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) but we look to God for wisdom and truth even when it goes against the rest of the world.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world,[c] but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect
Have you ever thought about what you believe and why you believe it? Does your thinking line up with the word of God or is it just things you have been taught by people, maybe even pastors, that you have come to believe? Most people start a phrase by saying “I believe God is…” instead of what has God revealed about Himself in the Bible. Some people discover what God has said about Himself and then they say, “I do not want to follow a god like that” It is easier to follow a god of our own making than it is to follow the God of the Bible. Just because you are secure in your thinking does not mean you have the correct view of God, of sin or how God expects us to live we must get that from the Bible.
Amos 3:11-12 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “An adversary shall surround the land and bring down[a] your defenses from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered.”12 Thus says the Lord: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part[b] of a bed.
Secure in their protection
The people were secure in the walls that were built around the Kingdom and because of those walls they put their trust in the walls more than they put their trust in God. Amos lets them know that these walls that they are putting so much trust in are not going to hold when God’s judgement comes upon them. Amos then uses the symbolism of a shepherd who would have to show that a lion devoured a sheep that was in his care. A shepherd would have to give an account of every sheep so if a lion ate one he would have to gather the pieces to show the owner so he did not have to pay for it. This was a gruesome visual that the people would have fully understood and now the prophet is using this symbolism to let them know that by the time God is done judging them there will be only a few of them left to tell the story of what happened.
Having personal security is always a wise thing to do as you lock your doors, put up fences and even have alarms installed. Even if all those things fail us we have insurance that will help us get through. Although these things are wise and I recommend doing them we are called as Christians to put our full trust of our well-being in God. One of the ways we do not trust God is when our personal well-being is more important than doing the will of God. We are not called to live foolishly (Matthew 10:16) but sometimes God calls us to do things that put us in situations that we cannot control what happens.
Because of some of the false teaching that is taking place some Christians believe that God has not called us to suffer or that He would ask us to do anything that could lead us to physical harm.
Matthew 5:10-12 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What does it say about us if we are never persecuted for following Jesus? What does it say about us if we are Christians but have never been made fun of or rejected by others for following what Jesus says? Missionary Jim Elliot along with 4 others paid with his life in the pursuit of reaching people of Ecuador. He had this to say about our personal or financial security.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot
There are no guarantees in this life and we need to make sure no matter what walls we have built up in our lives, whether they are financial walls, personal wall or social walls that we do not find our security in them but in God.
Read Amos 3:13-14 Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,” declares the Lord God, the God of hosts, 14 “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground.
Secure in their worship Practices
They were worshiping God with pagan practices using golden calves that they paid homage to. (1 Kings 12:28; 2 Kings 17:16) Of course we are only to worship God and nothing else.
Deuteronomy 6:14-15 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.
Part of their worship was being able to go and offer sacrifices for their sins that they have committed but God was going to destroy that as a sign that they can no longer repent of their sins. When God said He was going to cut off the horns it may not have been referring to the horns of the false Idols but the horns on the altar of God where sacrifices were made. God was going to cut off the fact that they could offer sacrifices for their sins. The people thought they could live however they wanted and then just offer a sacrifice and everything would be good with God. (They were Sunday Christians)
Their religious institutions were actually getting in the way of placing their security in God. They were secure in their religious practices thinking that left them secure in their relationship with God.
Many people think if they are a good person by following the Golden Rule or by being baptized or by joining a church that their relationship with God is good. As foolish as this sounds many people still believe that putting money in a plate, going to church from time to time and being a decent person secures their spot in heaven with God. Christianity is more than just doing some good deeds it is a relationship with God.
Luke 9:23 And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.
To be a Christian means to be a Christ follower and that happens every day not just on Sundays or by doing some religious activities. Many Christians tend to chase after the same things that the world does when God has called us to make Him a priority and trust in Him to meet our needs. The people that Amos was addressing were living lives that were not honoring to God because they believed they could live however they wanted because they could always be forgiven.
To be a Christian means to be a Christ follower. If you want to know if you are a Christians just check to see what you are following. If you are pursuing being rich or being popular then you may not be following Christ. Yes you might get some of those things in your pursuit of Christ but they are not to be the god that you follow. Do not assume that your relationship with God is good because you do a few religious activities. Matthew 7 tells us that many people will be surprised when God does not acknowledge their religious life as entrance into His Kingdom as He turns them away because they did not have a personal relationship with Him that comes through Jesus Christ. You may feel secure that all roads lead to Heaven but Jesus tells us He is the way (John 14:6). You may feel secure that Christianity, Islam and the Jewish faith all worship the same God but Acts 16:31 tells us that it is only through Jesus Christ that we can be saved.
Amos 3:15 15 I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses[c] shall come to an end,” declares the Lord.
Secure in their Wealth
The false theology that you are doing well financially means that you are being blessed by God. There is always the false theology that if you’re getting wealthy then God is blessing you. It was not that they were wealthy it was because they had two homes or finely decorated homes because they oppressed the poor. It is how they became rich which was the problem because they were suppressing others for their own material gain. These people had gained wealth and status and they thought they were secure because of all the money and property and fine things they had accumulated. The wealth they had accumulated had blinded them to the reality of their true spiritual condition. Prosperity can blind us to our true spiritual condition because we no longer need God for a daily living. We can have a false sense of control over our lives because we can fix so many things by paying for it.
Revelation 3:17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
The Bible warns us about the desire to be wealthy.
1 Timothy 6:9-10; 17 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy.
Notice it is not being rich which is a temptation but the desire to be rich. Many poor people are consumed with being rich that they focus all of their attention and time on wealth instead of on God. The lottery is played with the hopes of all our problems going away because money fixes everything but the majority of lottery winners suffer problems because money is not the cure that they thought it would be. We are not to set our hope in riches but in God.
Where do you find security in this world? Do you find it in God? Do you find it in your wealth? Do you find it in living in America or in a safe neighborhood? Do you find your security in your religious practices?
The People that Amos was dealing with had become wealthy through sinful means and oppressed people to do it all the while saying they were followers of God and so God ‘s patience had run out and He was going to show them that all the things they put their trust in would be taken away. Are you a follower of Christ or are you following after the things of this world? Do not allow religious practices or false religious thinking to get in the way of a relationship with God a day is coming when it will be too late to ask God for forgiveness of your sins.