Amos started his book with high-level prophesies for Judah, Israel, and her neighbors. Now he transitions into a more detailed message.
Ryrie and Wiersbe note this as the first of three "sermons" from Amos, each starting with the words, "Hear this word," so the listener would know that the message was from God and not mere men.
Verse 1 contains a phrase that should cause ice to flow through your veins:
Hear this word which the Lord has spoken against you...Amos 3:1a
It reminds me of that big word in the New Testament, propitiation. Wrath. God's justified wrath. And the cost that must be paid for it. All of us are rightful in the position to hear the word which the Lord has spoken against us. But God. But for Jesus becoming the propitiation for my sin. I am saved. Our pastor always reminds us that Jesus is the Plan to save us from God. That's who we should be afraid of, in awe of. It's His wrath we have earned and His wrath He made a way to account.
I guess I wanted to remind myself that I am not better than these people. But for the grace of God in the time and place I was born, there go I. It's only the Savior who sets me apart.
The rest of verse one is a reminder that all of the sons of Israel are one family, brought out from Egypt-all 12 tribes.
Verses 2-8 Direct Words from the Lord
In verse 2, He reiterates that these are His Chosen, among all of the families on earth. As such, they will be punished for their iniquities.
It's an important reminder for Christians as well. While we did not replace God's Chosen people; we have been grafted into the vine and we are His children. We are chosen. That means more has been given to us and more is expected of us. If we think we're forgiven and now we can do what we ant, this verse should correct that thinking. Israel forgot that to whom much is given, much is required.
Verses 3-6 seem to be a series of rhetorical questions that mean: one thing causes another; or one thing happens because a specific thing has happened first. The final line in verse 6 seems to be the point, "If a calamity occurs in a city has not the Lord done it?"
It's interesting that He uses natural and man-made phenomenon to make His point. It's a comfort to know He is God of heaven and earth.
Verses 7-8 states that the Lord does nothing without sharing His secret counsel with His prophets.
Ryrie brings this more into focus this way- for the natural responses to events from verse 3-6 happen, we know the obvious cause; so if Amos is God's prophet and the people dare to ask, "who do you think you are?" Well... I'm the prophet...sent by God. If a prophet shows up; God sent him. That's who I think I am to tell you these are messages- even if I am just a sheep guy.
I'm the roar of the lion. I am the sound of the trap closing. I am the trumpet sound sending an alarm. I am the message telling you of the unpleasant thing coming your way- and it's coming from the Lord of Hosts!
Wiersbe goes on to give encouragement to those who may feel inadequate to be God's messenger in the world. Amos wasn't a priest, didn't come from a line of priests. He probably was a leader in his previous life as a shepherd; but all he really needed was to be willing to do the work asked of him by the Lord.
Back to Amos' own words, he tells those in Ashdod and Egypt to take a look from the mountains of Samaria and see what's about to happen. The whole region, including enemies she had previous ruled over, are going to see her punished for her sins against God and the poor and weak.
Verse 11-15 Direct Words from the Lord
Verse 11 is a heartbreaker with the Lord declaring that they don't know how to do what's right. That's a sad state- to have lost the ability to choose the right thing anymore.
Some of the consequences or outcomes:
- Your enemies will pull down your strength
- Your citadels will be looted
- The wolf will get most of you; but a few dismembered ears, legs, and pieces of the devoured lamb will be saved. (wow-graphic and accurate metaphor!)
- Your idolatrous half-worship will be destroyed when I punish the altars of Bethel, specifically, the horns will be cut off.
- The winter and summer houses and the ivory houses will perish and come to an end. That seems a pretty direct way of stating that there will be no more leaders to reign from the northern kingdom. All of the key symbols of leadership will be destroyed and they will have no more place to rule from.
In looking for a way to close this, what came to me was this- are you hearing a lion roar? Is there a sound of a trap being sprung? Is there a trumpet sound in the distance sounding an alarm? If so, then it is almost too late. Hear the word of the prophet or warning God is sending you and fall on your knees and repent. Even if you're a Christian. Even if you think you're safe. Never take God for granted as an generous old grandpa. He chose you and it's His right to have high expectations for you.