Iniquity Despite Privilege

The Minor Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  42:43
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1. Israel’s Unique Relationship, vs. 1-2.

V. 1 — the word of the Lord was spoken directly to Israel, indirectly to Judah, Deuteronomy 7:6-8;
Deuteronomy 7:6–8 NASB95
“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the Lord loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the Lord brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
Deuteronomy 10:15.
Deuteronomy 10:15 NASB95
“Yet on your fathers did the Lord set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.
V. 2 — “you only” emphatic position in Hebrew. Speaks of a unique relationship. Somehow Israel came to believe that because they were chosen, they were protected from God’s wrath and guaranteed his favor. Amos turns that on its head.
In a suzerain–vassal relationship, promises are made which are conditional on the vassals’ response. Israel has not followed through on their promises even though they had great privilege. Great privilege bears great responsibility. Israel is rebuked; Judah needs to hear and to heed – or else!

2. Israel’s Inevitable Judgment, vs. 3-8.

V. 3-6 - - seven rhetorical questions, the first 5 -expect a “no” answer – each question increases in intensity and foreboding.
1. Two men walk together when they agree to do so. God / Israel agreed to walk together.
2. A lion is quiet as a hunter until after he has caught his prey. Speaks of one overpowering another ; Lion = God, who has Israel within his inescapable power.
3. Speaks of man as the vanquisher. Israel has taken the bait of sin and has become ensnared. It is impossible for them to escape.
4. The last two questions expect a positive response. It a trumpet sounds as a warning, The people now fear ‘ which should motivate to action. Pictures people being overwhelmed by others.
A calamity comes about only if God initiates or permits it. If God initiates, Israel’s only sane response is to repent.
V. 7-8 — conclusion: God warns through His prophets, then acts. Ezekiel 18:23.
Ezekiel 18:23 NASB95
“Do I have any pleasure in the death of the wicked,” declares the Lord God, “rather than that he should turn from his ways and live?
God’s covenant lawsuit judgment is preceded by telling the people warning them and giving them an opportunity to respond.
Then verse eight references verse four regarding the lion.
The lion has roared is the cause when God speaks the result who will not fear. When God speaks, people fear and respond … or not.
Amos is compelled to prophesy, he being a simple shepherd, a rustic farmer, has become the mouthpiece of Gods word.

3. Israel’s Unparalleled Oppression, vs. 9-10.

V.9 — verse nine reveals the unparalleled oppression of Israel considered those are fortified buildings which usually your housing people usually the wealthy or the leaders of the local city towns or districts so those in Philistia, and those in the land of Egypt are called his two witnesses compare this to Deuteronomy 17:6
Deuteronomy 17:6 NASB95
“On the evidence of two witnesses or three witnesses, he who is to die shall be put to death; he shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.
They will be the two witnesses of Israel’s death sentence. They are called to assemble themselves on the mountains surrounding Samaria to see what will happen to that her. Samaria will not experience the peace and order which obedience to the covenant brings because Israel is assaulting and robbing one another; the richer taking advantage over the poor.
V. 10 — Israel has even forgotten how to do what is right until they damage their own selves in comparison to astronaut in the land of Egypt Israel has behaved even worse so therefore,

4. Israel’s Coming Catastrophe, vs. 11-15.

God promises a coming catastrophe, seen in three waves.
In verse 11 an enemy, even when surrounding the land, will pull down your strength from you when your citadels will be looted. This was fulfilled by Assyria which proceeded to destroy Samaria and overran Israel in 722 BC.
V. 12 — the second wave is illustrated in a vivid picture. “
Just as the shepherd snatches from the lions mouth a couple of legs or a piece of an ear, so will the sons of Israel dwelling in Samaria, be snatched away with a corner of a bed, and the cover of a couch.”
The figure of the shepherd represented the Lord in Israel’s literature. The same one who would allow the enemy to overpower them is the same one who will rescue the remnant.
One scholar wrote that about 27,000 Israel’s from Samaria suffered captivity at Assyria’s conquest of Samaria.
V. 13-15 — The third wave starting in verse 13. the Lord declares Ashdod and Egypt to testify against the house of Jacob. By calling Israel Jacob, The Lord recalled the deviousness of this ancestor, which now is characterized by this people of the northern kingdom; it also recalls God’s gracious promises to Jacob. As bad as Israel was, they were His people, not just the people of Jeroboam II.
This declaration is from the Sovereign Yahweh Almighty, who is the suzerain warrior, who leads the most vast and powerful of all armies.
verse 14 tells us that one of reasons for the punishment comes from their practice of false religion in that day.
“The Lord God, the God of hosts, says I will punish Israel’s transgressions. I will also punish the altars of Bethel.”
Bethel was the most popular of the two established worship centers for the northern kingdom of Israel. One was in Dan, the second one in Bethel. This was the place where Israel practiced apostasy of religion.
The horns of the altar symbolized the strength of the deity. It was also a place of asylum. This picture shows that there is no strength for Israel to stand before the Lord and there is no asylum when judgment comes for Israel.
verse 15 finishes up to remind Israel that their misuse of wealth and power was a second reason for their punishment.
The Lord declares that He “will also smite the winter houses together with the summer house. The houses of ivory will also perish, and the great houses will come to an end.”
These selfish luxuries of the rich are pictured who oppress the poor. Many Kings of the ancient Near East didn’t have a winter house and a summer house ; the picture here is one of extravagance here and that extravagance came from the misuse of wealth and power.
The unfaithfulness of the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, is a warning to those in the southern kingdom of Judah to keep the covenant, and what will happen if they refuse.
For the Christian believer for similar unfaithfulness, we will not lose our salvation, but we will be losers of eternal rewards at the bema seat of Christ. The description of this judgment found in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
1 Corinthians 3:10–15 NASB95
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
The certainty of this is found in 2 Corinthians 5:6-10
2 Corinthians 5:6–10 NASB95
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord— for we walk by faith, not by sight— we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord. Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
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