The People, although religious, were not obeying God in how they were treating other people. They had corrupted the courts, stolen land and over charged them to make themselves rich. They were people who we would consider church going, God fearing people but their actions had caused God to call up Amos from being a rancher to be a prophet to speak judgment upon them. The difficulty Amos was having is that the people thought they were on good terms with God and so they were deceived into thinking that the things that Amos was saying did not apply to them.
Deceived is accepting as true what is false. Amos will continue his plea with them and try to get them to see the error of their ways but because they have accepted a lie as truth they do not believe what Amos is saying. Some of the things that deceived them are things deceiving many church people today who believe that their relationship with God is on good terms and so it would benefit every church going person to make sure that they evaluate where they are with God and if they have started believing lies.
Amos 5:14-20 Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said.15 Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.16 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: “In all the squares there shall be wailing, and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmers to mourning and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation17 and in all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through your midst,” says the Lord.18 Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, 19 as if a man fled from a lion and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. 20 Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?
1) Deceived By Being Good
“Seek Good not Evil” To “seek good”, is to seek the things that please God. The people were not seeking the things of God but only what benefited themselves no matter how many people were being hurt by their actions. Although they believed themselves to be followers of God they just had a form of religious experiences that did not change who they were on the inside and they did act in a manner that God would have them to act. The people were justifying their behavior in their false religious practices as well as their treatment of people thinking that God did not care as long as overall they were doing good things like worshiping Him, tithing and doing other religious activities.
It is the attitude that my good deeds outweigh my bad or I am overall a good person that deceives people into thinking that they are on good terms with God. Many people do not see how wicked they really are or they believe anything they have done wrong can be made up with an equal or greater act of good. They were lying to themselves that it was alright to steal land, bribe judges and treat people horribly all the while they were worshiping in the temples. The problem with being deceived is that we do not think we believe a lie. Their hearts were not in tune with the things of God but only selfishly desiring the things they wanted and Amos was trying to get them to understand that they are not seeking the things of God. Every one of us is called to seek what God’s will is first.
Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
In is in our selfishness that we desire things that are not of God and it is because of that selfishness that we lie to ourselves to the point of thinking that it is truth. If we want to make sure that we are not deceived by the lies we tend to believe we have to seek the things of God by staying in His word and knowing what He desires for our lives. Amos was pointing out to them that they are to seek good and make sure that people are being treated fairly. The verse in Matthew is tucked into worrying about tomorrow and about your physical need which are things we are not to worry about but the people had made making money their god instead of trusting God with their daily needs.
Amos told them to “Hate Evil Love Good”. To “Love Good” was to love the things that God loves and to hate evil was to hate the things that God hates. It has nothing to do with our own preferences or opinions but it is solely based on the desires of God because of His moral law. The moral law of God is not some rules that He decided to come up with it is based on who God is. What we call commandments and or rules are really just things that show the nature and character of God.
When someone becomes a Christian God places His Holy Spirit within them which will begin the process of making them more like Christ.
Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
Part of that work that the Holy Spirit is doing in someone’s life is a change in what we find acceptable in our lives. Our desires should be shaped to be more like Christ. Galatians 5:22-23 is what we call the Fruit of the Spirit and it is what God will do in and through us. Amos is saying if you Love God then you should love the things He loves but you should also hate the things He hates and when you do not have the same desires as God there is a problem.
The people were not concerned about being Holy or about living up to God perfect standard. Although we might fail daily our desire should be for us to do the things God is calling us to do. God has a strict warning for those who think that they can hold onto sins and make up for those sins by doing some good works.
Revelation 3:15-16 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.
All of us have sin that God is working on as believers but if our desire is not to get rid of the sin that is in our life or to justify our sin to the point that we think it is acceptable to God then we are missing on the call of God for our lives. We should not be living to see how much we should be getting away with without sinning but by seeking the perfect will of God for us in how we act. Both the world and Christ demand our entire lives and that is why we cannot call ourselves Christians and then desire the things of this world and our concern should be God’s will and God’s ways more than our own will.
2)Deceived in Their Relationship With God
“So the Lord of Host will be with you as you have said” Amos is telling them that he realizes they believe God is with them but unless they repent He will not be. Amos was trying to get them to see that they were not prepared to meet God even though they thought they were. God was added on to what they were doing similar to what we see in America where people live however they want and yet still claim to be Christians.
Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord, it is darkness not light
Amos is using the Day of the Lord to tell us about how the Assyrians will wipe out almost all of the Israelites because of the judgement of God. Many people look forward to Jesus coming back or being in eternity with Him but many do not realize they are not ready to face God because of the sin in their life. The Day of the Lord for them and for many church going people is not going to be a good day but a bad one.
Matthew 7:21-23 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.
Amos says the day of the Lord will be like running from a Lion to only run into a bear and when you think you have escaped into safety of your house you are bitten by a snake. No one will be able to escape the day of the Lord but for those who are not right with God it will be a miserable day.
“Judas chose to follow Jesus; he made his own decision to enter the school of Jesus, and he stayed with our Lord during His earthly ministry for three years. Yet we are told that he was a devil (John 6:70). It wasn’t that Judas was genuinely converted and then fell out of grace and was lost; rather, although he was close to Jesus, he was never a converted man. That out to give us pause as we consider the states of our own souls.” (R.C. Sproul)
Being a church attender and even being a part of the mission does not mean that you are right with God. Many church goers are deceived into thinking that they are good with God and Amos is begging them to repent to God by saying “It may be that the Lord of Host will be gracious.”
To help them understand the seriousness of their sin and the lack of relationship they have with God Amos incorporates terminology from the exodus when he says “I will pass in your midst” By using the same terminology as was used when God passed over Egypt it showed that they were not on good terms with God and their sins would not be covered.
Exodus 12:12-13 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the Lord. 13 The blood shall be a sign for you, on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy you, when I strike the land of Egypt.
The people that thought they were on good terms with God are now seen as the enemy of God because they have defiled His name in the Temple, perverted justice, and refused to heed His warnings to turn back to Him. They were rebellious and stubborn just like Pharaoh was when God’s judgement was poured out upon him. Amos lets them know that the death toll will be so bad that they will have to bring the farmers off the field to mourn the loss of all the lives lost because there will not be enough mourners for how many people will be killed on the day of judgement.
Just like in Egypt it was the symbolism of being covered by the blood of the sacrifice that made God not judge the Israelites. As Christians we are covered by the blood of Christ and that is the reason that we are acceptable in the sight of God not by our works. It was what Jesus Christ did on the cross that allows us to not be destroyed in the presence of God and the only way that people will be able to stand before God on the Day of the Lord is because they have accepted the free gift of what Jesus Christ has done on our behalf.
Romans 5:8-11 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Christ blood and His work on the cross is the reason that God’s wrath does not condemn us just like the blood on the door post sufficed for God’s wrath to be removed from them. We have been (past tense) justified (Just as if I never sinned) and we are saved from the wrath of God (His presence). We have been Reconciled (because or relationship with God is broken) to God through Jesus Christ. Jesus lived a perfect life, met the requirements the law required, and died in our place so the presence of God would not destroy us.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus
When Jesus was on the cross He said” it is finished”(John 19:30) He did not say now you go and finish it. When you truly give your life to Christ you do not have to wonder if you meet the requirements to meet a Holy God you are guaranteed because you are in Christ. It is by faith and not by works that you can stand before God but it is because you have placed your faith in Him that your life will begin to change and your desires will become what God desires.