Amos 4 The Failure of the People to Return to Him for Help
These verses paint a vivid picture of how far Israel had fallen into depravity.
Amos 4:1-3 The Women are Consumed with Consumption
Amos accused the people of being rich and cruel…they severely oppressed the poor. He called the wives of the rich men “cows of Bashan”…a picture of a fat cow slowly plodding along stepping on everything, paying no attention to its surroundings, and eating its way through life…because the women cared about nothing other than luxury and worldly pleasures, they were cruel and brainless (4:1).
4:1 cows of Bashan. The well-fed women of Samaria (Bashan was known for its fat cattle; cf. Psalm 22:12). These women were insatiable (v. 1), pretentiously religious (vv. 4-5), and calloused in the face of warnings (vv. 6-11).
4:2-3 The people will be led into captivity through breaches or gaps in the walls of their cities, just as animals are led by using meat hooks. fish hooks. Used when the other hooks run out, because the number of Israelites who will be taken.
The Ryrie Study Bible, footnote on Amos 4:1 and 4:2-3, p. 1363
Amos 4:4-5 The Religious are Satisfied with Sacrifice
God sarcastically tells them to continue worshipping in the same manner as they had been doing.
Amos 4:6-11 7 Examples of Their Failure to Return
God lists numerous different things that He has done to cause Israel to turn to Him. And yet, they never have:
- “gave you also cleanness of teeth…lack of bread” (:6-their teeth appear to be clean because there is nothing to eat)
- “withheld the rain” (:7)
- “smote you with a scorching wind and mildew” (:9)
- “caterpillar was devouring” (:9)
- “plague” (:10)
- “slew your young men by the sword” (:10)
- “overthrew you as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah” (:11).
Five times in these verse God says, "Yet you have not returned to Me,' declares the LORD” (:6,8,9,10,11).
Amos 4:12-13-God tells them to "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel."
Amos 5-6 The Future of the People Who Refuse to Return to Him for Help
God declares a "dirge" (funeral song) over Israel. It is about to die for its sins. Amos tells them to give careful consideration to their spiritual condition. Then, they should not seek help from men…but, they should repent of their sins to God.
Amos 5:1-3 There is no help from man
90% of Israel will be destroyed (:3).
Amos 5:4-9 There is help from God
God speaks of His greatness (:8-9) and then lists how Israel has sinned (:10-12). Three times He calls on them to "Seek" (:4-"Seek Me"; :6-"Seed the LORD"; :14-"Seek good")...and then "perhaps the LORD God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant of Joseph" (:15).
Amos 5:10-13 Don’t deny the need for help
Amos 5:14-15 Ask God for help
Amos 5:16-17 Everyone needs help
Amos 5:18-20 Don’t assume that you don’t need help
They piously say that they look forward to the "day of the Lord"...thinking that it will be a wonderful time for them when God’s kingdom is established on earth. But they don't realize that it will actually be a time when they are judged.
Amos 5:21-27 Don’t presume on your own help
God says that He hates their worship (:21-24). They forget that God provided for the people during the 40 years in the wilderness...and now they have sought other gods to meet their needs (:25-27). Amos told Israel that God hated their religious feasts…it was all merely religious formality and on top of that they mixed in idolatry with it. The suggestion here is that they were willing to turn and offer their sacrifices to God instead of the calf…but Amos was not talking about a change in behavior, but a reformation of life.
Amos 6:1-11 The great and the small both need help
Amos 6:1-8-God says that although the people don't have any worries at the time...their day of judgment is coming. When it comes to accountability for sin…they are no different than other nations. Look at them and see what has become of them. Gath was conquered by Uzziah in 760 B.C. (2 Chronicles 26:6). Calneh and Hamath would soon be conquered by Assyria (Isaiah 10:9).
Amos 6:9-11-The people are proud of what they think they have achieved, and do not give God the glory. So, He declares judgment on them. God hates their obstinance (:8). After many people have died…then they will finally recognize that it has been because of God’s judgment. At that time, people will be afraid to even say the name of God…out of fear that they will be the next to die (:9-10).
Amos 6:12-14 What happens when you trust in your own help
Prayer: Lord, it would appear that these people actually thought that they were still worshipping you…while all the while they were bowing before other gods. As if they could determine for themselves who You are and how they will worship You. Please keep me from doing the same. Don’t let me create a picture of You in my mind that is one of my own making. Help me to know You as You truly are. And, show me how You are to be worshipped. Because how I worship is a reflection of Who I understand You to be.