Thus says the Lord, “For three transgressions of ___________, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment…” Amos 1:3 NKJV
This phrase is repeated 8 times in chapter one and two combined. Each time a different city or people group is called out. There are two categories of people mentioned in this ominous phrase. One category of people was anyone who did bad things to God’s people. We see Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab in this category. The other category of people is God’s chosen people – Judah and Israel.
Six of those cities were being punished for things done against God’s people. They had done violent things, took people captive, delivered people into captivity, pursued his brother with a sword, and burned the king’s of Edom bones to line.
But interestingly God’s own people were also included in these phrases. Judah is judged for having despised the law of the Lord, and keeping His commandments, and allowing lies to lead them astray. Israel is called out because they sold the righteous for silver, sold the poor for a pair of sandals, perverted the way of the humble, incest, defiling God’s holy name, idol worship, and drinking wine of the condemned.
Why does any of this matter to us? This section of Scripture clearly shows us God will hold each of us accountable for our actions. That should cause us to shudder a little bit!
Which category of people do you fall into? Are you in the group opposed and against God’s people? Are you among God’s people? In either case you will be accountable to God for your actions.
Let’s say you answered “I’m part of God’s people.” That’s great. Let’s look at the flaws God pointed out to see if any apply to us today.
Judah despised God’s laws. They did not keep God’s commandments and were led astray by lies. Do any of these apply to you? Are you despising or obeying God’s laws? Do you follow truth or lies?
Israel was more concerned about money than people. They perverted the humble with heavy regulations. They allowed incest in their families. They defiled God’s holy name and worshipped idols instead of God. Is there anything that comes before God in your own life? Watch out that’s idol worship. Are you caught up with the cares of this world? This too can be a slippery slope leading to idol worship. Are you a perfectionist, holding others to an impossible standard? This is what the religious elite in Jesus’ day did and He scolded them more than once for it.
Father God Almighty, thank you for your word that reveals the truth. Help us recognize the truth about our self and turn to you for mercy and forgiveness. Thank you for your hearing us. Thank you for your faithfulness to forgive and cleanse us from all unrighteousness through Jesus Christ. In His precious name we pray. Amen.
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