Unseal the Indictment!
Amos 1:1-2; 2:6-8; 3:6-8, 13-15
One of the challenges in today’s society is that no one wants to be responsible. In fact, many reject the idea of personal accountability, and especially accountability to God. They often take offense at the idea of absolute right and wrong. Many reject biblical standards as outdated and not relevant for life today. Often, Christians get lulled into thinking the same things. God’s message to Israel and to us is, Beware of forgetting His expectations concerning how His people are to live. Amos says we are responsible and accountable to God for how we live, and our unbelief does not change this fact.
Hear ye! Hear ye! (Amos 1:1-2). God called Amos from a secular vocation in Tekoa to deliver powerful words of judgment against His people Israel. This part of the story reminds us that God uses people and ways of His choosing to hold His people accountable for living as He expects us to live.
Sinful actions are evident (Amos 2:6-8). Amos started preaching about the sins of all the nations around Israel. He named each country and pronounced God’s judgment upon them for their sins. This part of God’s message must have pleased Israel, for these were their enemies. You can almost hear the people applauding and saying something like, “They deserve it.” Their pleasure was short-lived, because Amos turned to Israel and said that God had a judgment for them also. God said Israel would be punished for taking merciless, unfair, unlawful and ungodly advantage of others in the pursuit of wealth and pleasure. We can be certain that our sin is evident to God and will be judged.
You’ve been warned (Amos 3:6-8). Amos wanted his hearers to understand that the coming disasters were the judgment of God for their sins. The Hebrew word for disaster used here can refer to natural disasters, afflictions or other adversities. The context suggests defeat at the hands of an invading army. In the days of Amos, everything was considered an act of God. Today, we are reluctant to ascribe much of anything to God, because it would indicate accountability. We are responsible to listen when God sends messages to us through His Spirit-inspired Word and God-called preachers and teachers.
Accountability comes knocking (Amos 3:13-15). Amos testified that the wayward people of Israel would experience God’s judgment in the destruction of everything they had lusted after and falsely trusted in. How easy it would be for us to sit back and smugly say that they had their chances and did not listen. They should be punished. Let us not forget that we, too, are sinners and deserve the judgment of God. It is only by His grace that our blessings, forgiveness and peace continue. We can fully expect our sovereign God to fulfill His promises both of grace and punishment for disobedient living.
- Lessons in the ETB series for the winter quarter are being written by Ron Davis, director of missions for Greenville Baptist Association.