September 22

Read Amos 1 -- 5

In Today's Reading:

Judgments pronounced on Damascus, Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, then on Judah and Israel; sins of Israel exposed; Jehovah's sorrow over Israel's future captivity.

Verse for Today:

An adversary . . . shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled (plundered) (3:11).

Amos was only a laborer from the village of Tekoa in Judah, but he was willing to speak against sin even beyond the borders of his own nation. He delivered his prophecy of impending judgment in Bethel, one of Israel's two idol-worship centers and one of several royal houses of King Jeroboam II. This was at a time when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was prospering and expanding its territorial boundaries.

It must have seemed ridiculous to hear this "outsider" shout: Hear this Word that the Lord [has] spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known (chosen) of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities (Amos 3:1-2).

Amos spoke as if the nation had already been destroyed: The virgin of Israel [has] fallen: she shall no more rise (5:2). However, the people did not take him seriously when he said: The Lord. . . . [knows] . . . your mighty sins. . . . Seek good, and not evil, that [you] may live (5:4,12,14).

Amaziah, the paid priest of King Jeroboam II, was quick to get word to the king about this disagreeable prophet from the Southern Kingdom. He twisted the words of Amos to say that Jeroboam would die by the sword. But, the prophet had only stated what God had said: I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. . . . Amaziah said [to] Amos . . . go, flee . . . away into the land of Judah (7:9,12). The prophecy was fulfilled when Jeroboam's son Zachariah was assassinated by Shallum, who took his place but reigned for only one month (2 Kings 15:8-10).

God often uses ordinary people like Amos to proclaim His message: [You] see your calling, brethren, how that not many [men who are wise] after the flesh (according to human standards) . . . are called (1 Corinthians 1:26). It is not what we possess in talents, or how popular we may be, but how obedient we are, that qualifies us to be used and blessed by God, regardless of circumstances, opposition, or public opinion.

As Christians, we have a miraculous heritage. We have been saved from the bondage of sin, delivered from spiritual death and satanic control, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome sin. Who hath saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began (2 Timothy 1:9).

Christ Revealed:

As the Creator of the universe (Amos 5:8). By His Son . . . He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:2-3; also Revelation 4:11).

Word Studies:

2:13 pressed = burdened; 3:5 gin = trap; 3:14 visit the transgressions = judge their sins; 4:1 kine of Bashan were the fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands -- but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women; masters = husbands; 4:3 breaches = breaks in the city wall; 4:9 blasting = blight; 5:21 smell = be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols = harps.

Prayer Needs:

Government Officials: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA) and Rep. John Tanner (TN) · Pray for the missionary ministries · Country: Ukraine (52 million) east-central Europe · Major languages: Ukrainian and Russian · Religious freedom · 55% Ukrainian/Autocephalous/Old Believers/Armenian Orthodox; 15% Catholic; 3% Protestant; 1% Jews; .5% Muslim· Prayer Suggestion: Go to God in prayer with boldness and seek His grace and mercy (Hebrews 4:16).

Memory Verse for the Week: Romans 14:13