Amos 4:12 Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
1) Prepare for the Ultimate Confrontation
The people are not listening to Amos as he is telling them that God has run out of patience not only with their pagan worship practices that they have brought into His temple but also because of the treatment of people to further their riches. God disciplines those He loves but now we are seeing that this is not about discipline but about judgment. All the storms, wars and famines was God trying to get them to turn to Him, repent of their actions and follow Him but they ignored Him because they thought their relationship with God was on good terms. The way this is written is that Amos is letting them know that there were no more chances because judgment was upon them.
Verse twelve seems to leave something out and some believe that Amos made some sort of gesture of what God was going to do to them. “I will do this to you” could have been said while Amos was pounding his fist or squishing a bug on the floor. We do not know for sure but Amos point was to get their attention and get them to see that their treatment of God and their fellow man was no longer going to be tolerated. One day we will all stand before God and we will be crushed by the weight of who He is because of His holiness and awesomeness so we have to prepare ourselves to meet God through Jesus Christ or it will be a confrontation with God and not a pleasant meeting as many people believe it will be.
Prepare simply means to make something ready. People prepare for all sorts of things but one thing that I see people prepare for the most is weddings. Many times the amount of money spent at weddings is enormous and many months of planning go into the less than one day event. We prepare for many things in this life like work, school, sports, and careers but are we prepared to meet God? The amount of preparation one gives to something is in relation to the importance of the event and there is no more important event we can prepare for than to meet our Creator face to face. Amos lets them no in no uncertain terms that all the disasters they experienced will not compare when they see God face to face.
Deuteronomy 4:24 For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Hebrews 12:29 uses the same language of fire which simply stands for God’s judgement against anything impure or unholy.
“Do you believe in divine judgement? By which I mean, do you believe in in a God who acts as our Judge? Many, it seems, do not. Speak to them of God as a Father, a friend, a helper, one who loves us despite all our weaknesses and folly and sin, and their faces light up; you are on their wavelength at once. But speak to them of God as Judge and they frown and shake their heads. Their minds recoil from such an idea. They find it repellent and unworthy. But there are few things stressed more strongly in the Bible than the reality of God’s work as Judge.” (Knowing God, J.I. Packer, Pg 138)
When Amos said “Prepare to meet Your God” he was preparing them for a confrontation. One day we all will stand before God to give an account and have our lives held accountable to Him and if we did not accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior it will be a confrontation. Are you prepared to stand before God? Have you given any thought about your standing with God? Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins for a reason and that was to make our meeting with God not a confrontation but a joyful time when we realize the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ made us acceptable in the eyes of God.
2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!
Amos 4:13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the eart-the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!
2)Prepare to meet the Awesome God
What is your view of God? When you get to Heaven what kind of God do you think you are meeting? Is He going to be a loving grandpa who overlooks your sin? Is He just the old man upstairs who you acknowledge from time to time? Amos lets them know it is the God who is the creator of the universe that we will stand before. The things that they sang and praised God for in the Temple about who He is are now to be feared because they are not in a right relationship with Him.
The awesomeness of who God is can be joyful or fearful depending on your relationship with Him. God can turn the day to darkness and tread on the earth like a person who stomps on grapes in a wine press. (Isaiah 63:3) Many times we have a wrong view of God that He is the “Old Man in the sky” or the “Man upstairs or a loving grandpa who overlooks our wrongs but God did not overlook our wrongs He did something about them. Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death and death had to be paid in order for us to be in right standing with God again. Jesus death was the perfect sacrifice.
Many people say that when they get to Heaven they are going to ask God some questions. I think many people think when they get to Heaven that it is just going to be about streets of Gold, being with loved ones and being at peace for eternity. Those things are true but we cannot forget that we will be in the presence of God and His presence will be shocking to behold. God is a God that His presence will cause us to be struck with fear and awe just like when He partially showed Himself to the children of Israel.
Exodus 19:16-19 On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightning’s and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. 17 Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God, and they took their stand at the foot of the mountain. 18 Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the Lord had descended on it in fire. The smoke of it went up like the smoke of a kiln, and the whole mountain trembled greatly. 19 And as the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him in thunder.
I think we forget how awesome our God is and that is why no one thinks they need to prepare to meet Him. We are not taught to fear the Lord because we have only talked about the Love, Grace and Mercy of God which are great but it was the Love, Grace and Mercy of God that saved us from His wrath and Justice. Jesus died and took the wrath that we deserved.
Romans 5:9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. (See Also John 3:36)
We were saved by God from God because of the sin in our lives. Gods Wrath is not uncontrolled anger and it is always justified toward the people who deserve it. Those who will be separated from God for all eternity will do so because they deserve it and it will not be because God is a selfish God as some make Him out to be. Everyone who will be separated from God for all eternity will be where they desired to be as they chose not to be in a relationship with God who loved them.
Are you saying we should fear God? There are two types of fear of God. One is being a servant that serves because he has to or one is being a child who serves because of the love relationship they have with the father.
“We believers are apt to fall into servant fear if we don’t fully understand the grace of God and His acceptance of us through Jesus Christ. If we are in a performance relationship with God, then He can seem to be a hard taskmaster whom we can never please. We’ll see Him as the divine ogre ready to judge us for even our least failure to live up to His rules. We might never express our fear in such bald terms, but such a feeling lurks deep within the hearts of many Christians…. In contrast,… filial (son) fear is the loving fear of a child toward his father. …. it’s a mixture of reverence, fear, pleasure, joy and awe which fill our hearts when we realize who God is and what He has done for us.” (The Joy of Fearing God, Jerry Bridges, PG.27)
In Matthew 25 Jesus shows us the difference with the parable of the talents and how two went out and served Him gladly while one buried what he was given and lived however he wanted. The two were excited when the master returned to show him what they had accomplished and the one who lived selfishly talked about how he was afraid of the master and did not want to lose any of the money he was given. The two served and saw an increase because they loved the master and gladly worked knowing that they were in a love relationship with him. The one who decided to not be about the masters business buried it and then was confronted when he had to stand face to face with the master.We need to be prepared to meet a Holy, Righteous God whose presence alone will drive us to our knees.
Amos 5:1-6 Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel:2 “Fallen, no more to rise ,is the virgin Israel; forsaken on her land, with none to raise her up.” 3 For thus says the Lord God: “The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.” 4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; 5 but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.” 6 Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel,
3)How do we Prepare to meet God?
Although Amos originally made it sound as if it was too late he is making a final plea for those who would listen. We have to remember everyone that Amos was talking to believed they were on good terms with God and would be considered in our day as church going people. Amos gives one more plea to repent while at the same time He is singing funeral songs as if they had already been destroyed. It would be like you showing up to your house and everyone talking about you as if you were already dead.
Amos let them know that even though they are young and full of life that they are going to die. He then prophecies as to what will happen to their armies as they go out to war and the devastation they will suffer. He then encourages them to seek God and live not their false idols or their pagan worship practices in the temples but God Himself. God has always been about having a personal relationship with the people He created. Before Adam and Eve sinned God would walk and talk with them and that opportunity for us to experience that has been restored through Jesus Christ. The reason that people do not accept the invitation from God to be in a personal relationship with Him because the term “Looking to God” meant more than just asking for help and guidance it means you live under His authority and depend on His power. Many people want God to help when we need Him but we do not want Him telling us how to live and that we need to rely on Him for our daily lives. We want a god of our making and not the God that He is. We want a god who will let us live however we want but that is not what it meant to be a follower of God in the Old Testament and that is not what it means to be a Christ follower today. (Luke 9:23)
The people wanted to worship God as they saw best and added pagan practices to their worship so Amos warns them to not go to Bethel or Gilgal because those places were doomed because they have become corrupted. The shrines and Temples (Religious Activity) were sought after more than God. Religious practices were getting in the way of them having a relationship with God because those places of worship denied the true God and had people serving other gods.
“Seek the Lord and Live” It is not religious activity that saves you but Jesus Christ who died for you so that you can be in a right relationship with God.
1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
What Jesus did on the cross made us clean so we can stand before a Holy God and be accepted and not burned up because of the judgement that sin would bring upon us.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man[a] Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
It is through Jesus and Jesus alone that the wrath of God can be removed from us. We believe that what He did for us on the cross was the payment for the sins we did because Jesus fulfilled the debt we owed to God and when we believe in Him we are cleansed and made new as if we have never sinned.(Justified) All roads do not lead to God and it is only through Jesus Christ that we can have eternal life with God. If all roads lead to God then Jesus Christ (God in the flesh) died for nothing.
Acts 16:30-31 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”
- Believe that Jesus was the Son of God (John 20:31)
- Believe that He died and Rose again (1 Corinthians 15:3-4)
- Believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father (John 14:6)
- Believe that Jesus is the one who can prepare us to meet God. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
One day we will all stand before God and you will either put your faith in your religious activities or in the finished work of Jesus Christ. Are you prepared to meet God? Have you accepted what Jesus Christ has done for us on the cross?