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Amos 7:>7-17
Israel knew that God had established Jerusalem as the place for the temple, but they decided that they would have their own place of worship at Bethel, it was also the Kings residence. Israel had also decided to worship other gods and even defiled their worship place by worshiping in a pagan manner. They built high places for Astarte, Baal and other gods as well. In Amos 7 we find God telling Amos that he will no longer ignore the sins of his people, destruction is coming.
Yvonne and I had bought a house in San Antonio in 1986, she walked into one of the rooms in the house and told the realtor that the room was not plumb. He of course disagreed, then went and got the Foreman and he looked at the room and had to agree with her. They actually took $1,000 off the price of the home, because they found that the rooms in the house were all out of plumb.
(Amo 7:7-17 NKJV) Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said: “Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore. The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.” Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said: ‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, And Israel shall surely be led away captive From their own land.’ ” Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread, And there prophesy. But never again prophesy at Bethel, For it is the king’s sanctuary, And it is the royal residence.”
Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, Nor was I a son of a prophet, But I was a sheepbreeder And a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, And the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’ Now therefore, hear the word of the LORD: You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, And do not spout against the house of Isaac.'”Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city; Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword; Your land shall be divided by survey line; You shall die in a defiled land; And Israel shall surely be led away captive From his own land.’ ”
God has said that Jeroboam and his entire family shall be destroyed, blotted out for the transgressions they had made against God. Why is it that God has decided to do this? We must understand that this nation was very rich, that they had begun to sink into the pagan practices around them. Jeroboam II had a son named Zechariah and he was a sensualist, his father had increased the kingdom so that they were living in peace. They had a thriving economy, but those who were getting rich in this economy had begun to enjoy their riches, they were trampling upon the poor of the nation in order to increase their own riches. Their worship had become empty, it was just ritual and had nothing to do with love of God. In Amos 5 we read: “I hate, I despise your feast days, And I do not savor your sacred assemblies. Though you offer Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them, Nor will I regard your fattened peace offerings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs, For I will not hear the melody of your stringed instruments. But let justice run down like water, And righteousness like a mighty stream.” (Amo 5:21-24 NKJV) Chap. 5 we see that the leaders of the land were taking from the poor and enriching themselves.
King David wrote these words in Psa 9:17-19: “The wicked shall be turned into hell, And all the nations that forget God. For the needy shall not always be forgotten; The expectation of the poor shall not perish forever. Arise, O LORD, Do not let man prevail; Let the nations be judged in Your sight.” (Psa 9:17-19 NKJV). Evil was running rampant in the northern kingdom of Samaria (Israel), Zechariah was the last in the line, 2nd Kings tells us what happened to him. Then Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him, and struck and killed him in front of the people; and he reigned in his place. (2Ki 15:10 NKJV)
Is there much difference today in our land? These words of Amos should bring us to the realization that when our worship becomes just ritual, when we begin to run after other gods, that the Lord will not be pleased. God has shown us in His word how we are to live, and who we are in relation to those who do not know our God. Yet in this nation that has been mightily blessed by the Lord, established by Him to be a place for His people to live in harmony with one another. We now are separated by religion, just as the northern kingdom had separated itself from the southern kingdom by setting up religious centers for themselves. The sanctuary at Bethel, held golden calves, worship was to these calves not to Yahweh.
The people were secure in their own abilities, not looking to God for His mercies, but rather thinking they could do as they wished, because they were rich and powerful in their own right. They forgot that it was God who defeated the enemies of Israel, it was God who led them into battle and without God they were doomed to defeat. The history of Israel is full of the apostasy of the people. When they entered the Land that we call Holy, they conquered the land, although not all of it. Joshua warned them that they would not be able to follow God:
But Joshua said to the people, “You cannot serve the LORD, for He is a holy God. He is a jealous God; He will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!” So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD for yourselves, to serve Him.” And they said, “We are witnesses!” “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” (Jos 24:19-23 NKJV)
We too have made a commitment to God, we call ourselves Christians, we take the name of Christ and then act in the way of the world. James tells us: Jas 1:22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. We who are “saved by grace”, are not perfect, but we are a people set aside to be witnesses to the world for Christ. Like Israel in the time of Amos, we too are out of alignment. The church today in America, seems to act in fear, we approve of things that God does not approve of, thinking it will let us live peacefully. Yet we see that the society around us hates what we profess to stand for. They pass laws that try to force us to kill babies, by paying for so-called health insurance that requires abortifacients be available for everyone.
In the history of the church we find that abortion was available in Rome, but very dangerous to the health of the woman. Many women would carry to term and then take the newborn out and leave it on a hillside to be killed and eaten by wild animals. Christians would go out and rescue any babies they found and raise them as their own. We also find today that many church groups are more than willing to support killing babies. Over 50 million have been killed in this country alone. We kill the innocent, because we don’t want to admit that we made a wrong decision, or that we were caught up in a situation over which we had no control. Usually we put criminals to death, not innocent children.
We are held to God’s standard, I have to ask, what if God held a plumb line to you or I, would we measure up, or would we be found wanting? God’s standard is Holy living, it is expected that we as His people would act in accordance with His will for our lives. What would God find for our church in this day? Are we guilty of false worship, greed, jealousy, lust or quarreling? We are expected to be holy and pure in our own lives, faithful to His word, and witnesses to the grace of God available to all. I grant you that we are still sinners, but we are also able to acknowledge our sin and ask forgiveness from our God. Then try to live our lives without sin as best we can.
King David was an adulterer and murderer, yet God called him a man after God’s own heart. Why? Because David confessed his sin, came before God with a broken and contrite heart and asked for forgiveness. We too need to confess our sins, come before the throne of God and seek mercy, and then move into the rest of our life in accordance with His will for us.
Do we come to church on Sunday morning, looking to please God, looking to praise His holy name for all he has done in our lives? Amos told the people of the Northern Kingdom that God had no use for their religious practices and ceremonies, he refused their offerings, even their songs were painful to God. They worshiped not God but rather themselves, they were comfortable and so came to worship thinking of their own possessions, their land and their money and not of God and his provision for them.
God wanted them to live righteous and just lives. Caring for those who were unable to care for themselves, widows, orphans, the poor. Instead they trampled on the poor, ignoring the needs of their neighbors, refusing to give justice to those who were wronged. Israel, the Northern Kingdom was destitute, they were rich, but they had forgotten that it was God who had blessed them. This nation, which was founded upon Christian principles, has also forgotten their history, we have songs that extol our God but we do not live as He has intended. We are working and playing without thought to our God, we think of ourselves as a people self-sufficient and no longer in need of the grace of God.
God is not pleased with us, I think that he has set his plumb line in our midst and a time of destruction is coming upon us. Our nation is no longer living up to God’s standard, we Americans no longer look to Christ as our standard for living, instead we look to ourselves, we look to the government to satisfy our wants and desires. Our so-called poor live better than many in other nations, not because they have jobs, but because they have welfare, food stamps, and free health care paid by, the taxpayers of the nation. The government is the god for many in our land today.
Jesus said: “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.” (Mat 5:17 NKJV). Do we live as Jesus lived, and as Jesus taught? Do we work to bring others into the Kingdom of God or do we do as our neighbors? Our God is not pleased with our land anymore, we are on the fast track to destruction. We claim to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, but are we truly in line with Him or are we in line with Satan.
If we know Jesus as our Lord and Savior, and have not fallen prey to the ways of sin, that is a good thing. If we are working for the Kingdom, God will be pleased, not because we are working but because we have become more like Jesus. For those who do not know Jesus as Lord and Savior, hellfire is waiting. Today is the day that we have, tomorrow may not come for us, so today is the day to make our decision. Do we want Jesus as our Lord and Savior, or do we want to follow the path we are on? It is my prayer that each of us knows and loves Jesus and has a personal relationship with Him. Heaven awaits His people, hell awaits all others.


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Pastor and Wife

John & Yvonne Quigley, John is a retired Pastor in the UMC. This blog is about the journey I am on with Christ.