(Part 5 of 21)
Amos 2:9-3:1-15… The Lord as the Examiner of past performance… The Lord is an Evaluator. The word “evaluate” means “to fix a value or worth upon, to examine and judge, to appraise and give an estimate.” Evaluation is a big thing in today’s job market. Employers very often sit down with their employees and evaluate their job performance. In these verses the Lord looks back on Israel’s history. He reports through the prophet on their performance. It’s God examining an action in order to correct an error and put a person or a nation back on course. The Lord never undervalues nor does He underestimate. Remember that national sin will bring national accountability. Amos was an unspoiled layman sent to a spoiled nation. When people disobey God, God must respond. In this lesson we will see God portrayed as an Examiner. God does look back on history, on the history of every nation, including our nation. Our nation has a great history, a great past performance, and still has, but it has strayed off course. May He extend mercy. We are responsible and accountable for our behavior. Our concepts of God must enlarge to see also that God does not tolerate sin when He gives mercy.
Amos 2:9… God destroyed the Amorites… The word “Amorite” means “of a sayer.” A “sayer” is one who cuts down by words. Amos is prophesying here and reminding the nation of God’s destroying the giants that were in her path to Canaan. God is a destroyer of giants. Giants rise up when there is weak leadership (remember Saul). We cannot defeat giants without the help from God. We must face them, but it’s God who defeats them. Note, “I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath” (KJV). See the story of Joshua 2:10-11; God has destroyed Satan’s power over us. “For sin shall not have dominion over you” (Romans 6:14). The Amorites were the mightiest of the Canaanites. They were the descendants of the fourth son of Canaan. When God destroyed the Amorites He was extending mercy to Israel. Here, God was examining His past mercy to Israel and reminding them of it.
Amos 2:10… God is continuing to remind them of mercy… which was God releasing them from the Egyptian captivity and bondage to bring them into their inheritance. God had trained them for forty years to possess the land of the giants. Jesus delivered us from the world’s bondage and its sins to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Colossians 1:13). Before we were born again we were slaves to sin. Just as God enlightened Israel in the wilderness, so He enlightens us. Here God was examining their deliverance. We too have a story to tell of our deliverance.
Amos 2:11-12… God continues His examining of His mercy… God is examining the prophet ministry that He gave them. This too was part of His mercy, In the Old Testament, prophets were used for guidance. Prophets proclaimed the word of God. God raised these prophets to be Nazarites (Numbers 6:1-21; they were to avoid strong drink). The prophetic Nazarites were to be separated as examples of godly separation from the world. They were the visual demonstration of what God had determined for all His people. It is as if God said, “See, this is what I want.” All Israel had to do was read in the Nazarites what God wants to see in the nation. Paul teaches (2 Corinthians 3:2-3) that Christians are God’s epistles for men to read. The prophets came from the sons of Israel… What happened? The nation ruined their separation by giving them strong drink to make them drunk and then they were taunted to “prophesy not.” God was examining the nation’s treatment of prophets. God gave to Israel prophets, but they gave them drink to ruin their separation to God. Many prophets today are drunk on the riches they have accumulated and so they have lost their separation unto God. They didn’t want the word of God coming from the prophets to bring conviction. The people didn’t want their consciences bothered. God is going to examine the standards of separation that He has laid down. He will evaluate the people’s corrupting of His ministers by refusing to live by the word He lays down. Non-drinking Nazarites are a strong condemnation of a “drinking” church. Most churches today are intoxicated by worldliness. You’d be surprised how many people sit in churches and say, “Stop the message… We don’t want to hear what you are saying.” Satan and the world are angry at the true message of God because it condemns them. Psalm 2:3 teaches this: “Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us” (KJV). Today, our nation is rejecting the standards of separation.
Amos 2:13… God is pressed… What is it that presses God? “Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves” (KJV). God was letting the nation know what was bothering Him. God is still evaluating. Can you imagine God saying, “You are pressing me.” That’s a powerful examination. The nation was weighing God down. God said to Moses, “I bare you on eagles’ wings” (Exodus 19:4), and “Thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee” (Deuteronomy 1:31). Isaiah 63:9 reads, “He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Now Amos prophesies, “You have pressed Me.” “Thou hast wearied me with thine iniquities” (Isaiah 43:24). “Ye have wearied the LORD” (Malachi 2:17). Israel had worn out God’s longsuffering. Nations are “pressing” God a little too far. Many saints, including preachers, are doing the same thing.
Amos 2:14-16… When you press God you have no strength… and no courage, no weapon to war against the devil with. You do have fear and trembling when you stand before God in the day of evaluation because you cannot escape the truth. God will examine the treatment you gave Him when He extended mercy. God gave victory; Israel replaced it with things that bring defeat. God says, “The mighty shall flee away naked” (v. 16, KJV). Even the strongest nations that abandon God will fall swiftly. Sin is weakening our nation. When the Assyrians took the ten tribes captive they went naked into captivity. The Bible says, “Your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). It always does.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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