(Part 9 of 21)
Amos 4:4-5… God reasons here… He contrasts a sovereign Lord versus their golden calves… The city of Bethel was precious to God; so was Gilgal. God was saying, “Go to Bethel and Gilgal and do your transgressing. Worship your idols and sacrifice in the place I am not in.” You can almost hear God asking, “Where is your idol worship getting you?” A golden calf (idol) is contrasted with a living sovereign Lord. Israel had a religious program, but it was not God’s program. God’s real program was with the people of Judah.
1 Kings 12:26-33 tells the story. Jeroboam feared true worship at Jerusalem would erode his power, so he made two golden calves, put one in Bethel and one in Gilgal. His worship, priesthood, sacrifices, feasts, and doctrines were wrong. God was reasoning and contrasting His program with theirs. When worship is only an imitation of the true, problems are going to develop. “But it looks like Judah’s worship”… This is not good enough. As Christians, if we are going to offer something to God, we ought to offer it His way and not how we think it should to be done. God wants purity in our worship. In a sense, we often bring a praise offering and a tithe offering, but hardly ever a trespass offering. We come to church without repentance for any trespasses we may have committed during the week. Have you noticed that today there is very little preaching about the cross or about holiness? We love to hear preaching about the “blessing.” “What good is it,” Amos says, “when your worship is without a relationship with a living God? It’s a living God that you need, not golden calves.” Israel was faithful to religion, but not to God. God’s justice must now take over; they had crossed the line. Ceremonies without true repentance will not win you God’s favor. Today in our nation, there is a lot of religious zeal, but it’s unbiblical zeal. Note verse 5, “for this liketh you” (KJV); i.e., “this you love to do.” Our nation loves its religion, but there is no change of heart. Today it’s easy to perform, to donate, to attend, and to follow, but there is no fear of the true God and of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is a fear of commitment.
Amos 4:6-11… God reasons further… Five times God says, “Ye have not returned to Me.” God is now contrasting His fatherly care and corrections with their childish rebellions. God gave the nation five corrective measures filled with mercy and love and truth, yet still they rebelled.
V. 6… Famine, hunger, crop failures, lack of food, cleanness of teeth… Hosea 2:8-9 confirms that God gave Israel corn, wine, oil, wealth, and what did she do? She gave it to Baal. God said, “I will return and take it back.” God gave the nation “cleanness of teeth.” Crop failures are not always the devil’s doings. “Cleanness of teeth” also refers being empty or bare, having a lack of bread, unemployment, or inability to supply. Note verse 6… “in all your places” (KJV). We see a lot of homeless and hungry people in the cities of the world. In Deuteronomy 28 and Leviticus 26, God warned nations that one of His first judgments on society is unemployment and taking away the ability to make a living. The problems in our nation are not political party problems; they are sin problems. Our nation is wicked, and it is under the corrective judgment of God. God is warning our nation that it is losing its prosperity. And still she will not return to the Lord.
Vv. 7-8… God withholds rain in one city and gives too much in another city. This has happened in our nation. Floods in one area and drought in another. Just as Israel would rather travel miles to get water than repent, people still do not listen when the weather gives us warnings. In the past, when the rivers have overflowed their banks and caused billions of dollars of damage, people said they were angry at God. Rain and flooding washes away crops and farmers watch helplessly. God demonstrates a corrective measure, but not one word is heard about repentance and returning to the Lord. God is behind the rain, not the devil (Deuteronomy 28:24). God often uses weather as His rod of correction against a sinful society. God is speaking to us.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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