AMOS 4 Worldy Women and Worthless Worship
WORLDLY WOMEN AND WORTHLESS WORSHIP
JOY FREE MAY 31 1987 Bible Study May 18, 1994
In observing the ills that currently beset our Country, the national collapse occurring
all around us, it is interesting that many Christian's share the view that
if our people
would return to "RELIGION," i.e., go to church more frequently, give a greater percentage of their income, organize themselves better, etc, that this would be a healing balm which would restore the nation and bring about a great revival amongst us, that God would turn from his wrath and bless this country.
The polls show Religion is up but Morality down. 50 -60% of the population claims to have had a born again experience.
Church attendance is up,
But crime is up more.
Religion has become a ritual with no effect on the daily life of the people.
The Divorce Rate in the church is the same as in the world.
The Rate of Teen pregnancies is the same in the Church as in the world.
More than 100 Reagan Administration officials have faced allegations of questionable
Yet the prophet Amos's words were strikingly different when he addressed Israel, the most
"RELIGIOUS" nation in the ancient Near East, in his time. His words to them were,
YOUARE VERY RELIGIOUS INDEED, BUT YOUR RELIGION IS REBELLION.
EVERY TIME YOU GATHER TOGETHER IT IS A CRIME AGAINST GOD
YOUR WORSHIP IS AN ABOMINATION."
You are just playing church.
He made his point by going to one of the Israelite sanctuaries during a feast, when
masses of pilgrims were present. He interrupted the service, placed himself in the
place of the priest, and in an almost blasphemous way, he used the priest's liturgy, but
changed the wording. He took all the proper verbs which the priest would have used,
and changed the verb-endings to show what the people were really doing.
Instead of saying:
ENTER BETHEL AND WORSHIP.
COME TO GILGAL AND SERVE YAHWEH.
COME AND OFFER YOU TITHES AND YOUR OFFERINGS.
He starts with the ATTITUDE of the women.
Man looks at the outward things God looks at the heart.
1st. WORLDLY WOMEN READ 4:1-3
1. AFFLUENCY MISUSED
This brief oracle is addressed to the Petted-pampered prima-donnas of Samaria.
Perhaps Amos had been asked to give a devotional to the Mt. Gerizim Garden Club. As he
looked at these overweight, well-to-do women, they remained him of a heard of fat cows
from the land of Bashan.
Bashan was known for its fat & ferocious cows.
Amos uses this characteristic to depict the women of Samaria.
These Women drove their husbands to find new ways of cheating people. The old
saying the hand that rocks the cradle controls the nation! These women instead of
being a good godly influence were in a round about way encouraging their husbands
2. AFFLUENCY IMMORALLY ACHIEVED.
These Society Social lights call their husbands "Lords" but there husbands are the slaves of their wives. They must obey their wives every whim or suffer the consequence.
The women's constant cry is give me more money, I want more money, more furniture, more luxuries, I need this I need more clothes, I need a new hair do.
Their view you could never be too rich or too fat.
The men obtained the money by cruel, heartless oppression of the people.
3. AFFLUNCEY & SELF INDULGENCE
These women were heavy drinkers. "BRING NOW AND LET US DRINK."
The women urged their husbands to drink with them. "Come on sweaty pie its cocktail
time. Fix us another round of drinks."
Alcoholism has become a major problem in our country. It is a sign of our degeneration.
Amos description of cows is very appropriate & carries all they way through the text.
These women ate & drank like cows. They cared nothing for anyone else, they trod on
the poor like cows stamping the dust.
v2 He tells the Ladies Garden Club. You behave like cattle so in the day of your
judgment you will be treated like cattle. They will drag you out of the city with rings
through your noses like cattle going to market or the slaughter house.
The Assyrians would take the captives back home by putting a ring through the noise
or a fish hook in the place where you sit down & tie them in a long string like a
stringer of fish.
Because of your hard hearts you will be treated harshly. You will be treated as you
have treated the poor.
III. YOUR WORTHLESS WORSHIP = IS DISGUSTING!
Attitude toward God
1. YOU WORSHIP AT THE WRONG PLACE
Amos makes four observations about their worship which make it an abomination to God.
First, he says that they were worshiping at the WRONG PLACE; they had left the
revealed religion for a made-up religion. In Deut 12 Moses said, YOU SHALL SEEK THE LORD AT THE PLACE WHICH THE LORD
YOUR GOD SHALL CHOOSE FROM ALL YOUR TRIBES, AND THERE
YOU SHALL BRING YOUR SACRIFICES. v 5-6
The God of Israel had chosen one city to make his name known. There they would
meet him, there they would bring sacrifices, there he would make himself known. Now
in the days of the divided monarchy, for a political reason the 1st king, Jeroboam I
decided that system would not profit him, because if everybody in the north went
south of the border to worship, he would not be able to hold his people together in
political unity & he would lose his kingdom. he decided to set up two state
sanctuaries, therefore, one at Bethel and one at Gilgal. He formed his own religion
and his own priesthood and called it "
2ND. YOUR WORSHIP IS ALL FORM AND NO SUBSTANCE
Amos is using sarcasm & irony. He tells them to do that which is good & command
by the law but instead of doing it once a year do it every 3 days.
Amos is hitting at their hearts, their attitude, their outward form was very religious.
They were like many Christian churches they did everything outwardly that made
them look good & orthodox but their hearts were not right.
They had orthodoxy but no ortho-practice.
They used all the right words but there was no love for God.
RITUAL WITHOUT REALITY.
RELIGION WITHOUT RELATIONSHIP
" WITHOUT RIGHTEOUSNESS
FORM WITHOUT SUBSTANCE
Amos is saying something like this.
Come on boys continue to sin, keep it up lets go to Bethel & sin.
Come on boys if you want to sin do it up big, Your prayers & your offerings don't
count because your heart is not right. God rejects your sacrifices & tithes because
your hearts are like stinking garbage cans.
When the men were fishing in Canada one of the men threw some minnow into the garbage can, they
sat in the hot sun all day. The poor lady who lifted the lid & got the full smell. That's what
God thinks of Ritual Religion.
The sacrifices you bring were bought with money stolen from the poor. Come on
boys keep disobeying, you sins are mounting up. Your points are adding up. Lets see
how many you can make.
Now don't be a spoiled sport & sacrifice like the law commands. Do it every morning
just think of all the brownie points you earn. Maybe your god will give you another
sucker to rob with you cheating scheme. Your god is an Idol it is not the living God.
Keep it up boys bring your tithes twice a week won't it look good when they print it in
the BETHEL NEWS PAPER so & so gave so much money this week.
By the way, Don't forget before you pray to blow a trumpet so every one will see you.
By using hyperbole, Amos is saying that in their zeal they would sacrifice almost every
day if they could. But their ritual was in no way related to what God was actually
doing in their lives. It was divorced from reality. It was hypocritical zeal, meanigless
pomp & show. Liturgy without love.
This practice has repeated itself throughout church history whenever we try to
demonstrate more devotion than God has actually produced in our lives.
In a biography of William Tyndale, the 1500 cent. Bible translator; the author Mozley
speaks about Tyndale's times in these words:
"Priests, monks, nuns, swarmed, large numbers living idle, useless lives. The ecclesiatical
orders had amassed to themselves, in the name of God, enormous riches and a great proportion of the land. In this decay of Christian spirit the rites and ceremonies were carefully observed.
Never were there more services, more holidays in honor of the saints. Never were relics and
shrines more venerated. Never were pilgrimages more splendid. The outward form was there, but the spirit was lacking.
RELIGION WAS DIVORCED FROM THE LIFE OF HOLINESS."
In our own day, a headline in "THE WALL STREET JOURNAL" read
EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY SWEEPING THE NATION BUT HAVING LITTLE EFFECT."
EVANGELICALS don't increase the ritual to show their devotion, however.
They replace it with meetings, with organizational structures. To show their
commitment & zeal they go to meeting after meeting & evening seminar after evening
When the Government sees a problem they throw money at it.
When churches sees a problem they throw seminars at it.
They never miss a gathering, but they are so busy playing church they sometimes miss God.
The Israelites in their day stepped up their devotion, but their worship was not really related
to the activity of God among them. It was zealous hypocrisy.
3RD. YOUR WORSHIP PERVERTS MY CHARACTER.
The third observation that Amos makes is that in an attempt to demonstrate this
commitment, this zeal which was hypocrisy, the Israelites were actually perverting the
character of God and the work the sacrifices were meant to picture.
Instead of letting God speak to the heart of the people as what they should give to God.
The priest were trying to motivate them by publishing the freewill offerings.
They used to do this in some churches. Hand out a list for everyone to see of how
much each family has given during the year.
The list would be posted in the back of the church near the door. With the
largest givers on the top and the lowest givers on the bottom.
Why were they doing that?
1st. They were using fleshly Worlds methods, guilt, need to bring in more money.
2nd their buildings were so elaborate, there was so much pomp & tradition &
overhead to meet that it took all the money just to keep the religious
Does that sound familiar with today' appeals?
I worry that all that money we see being begged for to build a new building.
Sure they need buildings but when they build a school, an org. a ministry what will
happen to those building in 30 years. Building are not the Church.
IV. YOUR WORSHIP IS SELF-INDULGENCE
Your worship is motivated by enjoyment rather than service. This is demonstrated in the expression, "FOR SO YOU LOVE TO DO," which had replaced for them the statement, "
FOR SO YOU SHALL SERVE YAHWEH."
They went to see a good show, They went to see a good production, They went to be
entertained, Good music, enjoyable sermon that is directed at someone else. Just as
you go the Orchestra hall, not for what you can give but what you get.
Experience becomes the reason for going. = Christian entertainment centers, they do
not go to church to worship but to enjoy.
A minister speaking to a group of Homosexuals said
"NO MATTER WHAT
ANYBODY SAYS ABOUT THE SCRIPTURES, DON'T EVER LET ANYONE
DENY YOUR EXPERIENCE.
THAT IS YOUR AUTHORITY."
But Amos tells us that worship that is solely related to experience is an abomination
V. CALL FOR REPENTANCE V 6-11
This section contains a list of calamities that have befallen Israel & should have
brought here to her knees in repentance. But because they have not repented God
says "PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD."
Hay boys throw away your crest tooth paste & tooth brush you won't need it
any longer you will have the cleanliest teeth in the area.
The prophet uses a parallel to explain the cleanness of teeth.
They will have a food shortage.
They won't have to brush after every meal because there won't be any meals.
2. NO RAIN V 7
God held back the rain, when it was needed the most & cause the famine.
3. SPOTTED RAIN v 7
The people did not repent.
In order to prove that God had not lost His power. He sent rain to some fields &
cities but held it back from other cities & fields.
He sends floods on one area of the country and drought on another.
One area has so much water they can not plant their crops.
The other area has so little water they can't plant their crops.
4. WATER SHORTAGE IN THE CITY V 8
The people in one city would walk to the next city to get a drink of water, but there
was none. Yet they would not return to me.
5. CROP DISEASE V 9
The words blasting & mildew always appear together in the Script. They are always
used to describe chastisement for disobedience.
God said I sent you mildew to destroy the grain that did grow. I sent a hot wind out of
the south that burned up your crops. I am the one who sent the insects that destroy
your crops the locust, the cut warm the grasshoppers.
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN UNTO ME!
6. PLAGUES V 10 READ
The 10 plagues of Egypt.
7. YOUNG MEN KILLED IN BATTLE V 10
I have sent armies to invade your land to make raids. They have penetrated your
country & killed your young men.
This was no accident. I sent these armies but you would not return unto me.
I have made your camps stink with the smell of death. He tells them your hearts are
rotten with corruption, if that is the way you want to be I will make your bodies match
your hearts they will raise a stink to heaven.
I have sent your young men to Viet Nam, They died for nothing, because you would
not listen to me.
8. DEFENSES & CITIES DESTROYED V 11
He refers to destruction by earthquake & fire.
The prophet emphasizes the completeness of the destruction. The few who escape
were "AS A BRAND PLUCKED OUT OF THE BURNING."
Zech 3:2, Isa. 1:9;
Once again Amos mentions the remnant which will be saved from destruction.
In Ch 3:12 He refers to a mutilated remnant; Here it is a scorched remnant.
In spite of all the evidences of divine displeasure the people have refused to repent.
Time the Lord says
"YE YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME
The 5 fold repetition emphasizes not only the stubbornness of the people but also the
patience of God.
Each of these calamities was not an accident or nature acting up on its own.
Every one of these were caused by God.
Each had been invitation to repent. Through famine drought, pestilence, war,
earthquake, God has been calling for His people to return to Him.
It is interesting to observe that most people refer to these acts as acts of nature. But it
is curious the Insurance Companies still refer to such calamities as "ACTS OF GOD."
VI. GOD'S PROOF OF COMING DESTRUCTION V 12
1. JUDGMENT IS CERTAIN TO COME.
2. JUDGMENT DATE IS UNCERTAIN
God was very kind & patient with this sinful nation He did not judge them the
next day after Amos' called them to repent He gave them nearly 40 years.
3. JUDGMENT IS INEXCUSABLE.
I imagine the people then are like some people now. So the Lord is going to
come in judgment. That old wind bag preacher told us that years ago &
nothing happened. He just made it up to scare the people to get religious so he
could get more money!
But in 606 B.C. the nation of Israel was taken into Captivity just as Amos described.
VII. GOD'S MAJESTY V 13
1. GOD THE CREATOR
He is the one who formed the Mt. & created the wind. He is the one who set
the world in motion. He controls the seasons, the weather.
2. GOD SEES INTO THE MIND OF MAN
He knows what you are thinking. He has a record of every act, though, motive, He
knows the heart of men.
3. GOD IS STILL IN CONTROL
He is the one who orders the sun to rise & the course of the moon. God is in control.
What is your personal relationship with Him right now. Is he in control of your life?
Or are you the boss of your life. Is He Lord or are you Lord?
God does not call for the nation as a whole to repent. He calls for individuals in that
nation to repent.
UNLESS INDIVIDUALS REPENT A NATION WILL PERISH"
God sends us warning before he sends us judgment.
He says I gave the market crash of 1929 on Wall Street.
The great depression in all your land.
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME, SAYS THE LORD.
I also withheld the rain from you and crated the dust bowls in the farm land.
I sent you ration books in every family & none could buy without stamps.
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME" SAYS THE LORD.
I sent you into 2 World Wars, the Korean Conflict & Viet Nam. I slew your
young men in battle. I pulled your ships down in the sea & a fleet was lost at
YE YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME. SAYS THE LORD.
I sent rioting among you in your major cities, and the streets of Watts, Newark,
Detroit, & Chicago, Los Angeles, were turned into battle fields.
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME. SAYS THE LORD.
I sent you Watergate, Korea-gate, Iran-gate, Whitewater-gate, Pearlygate,
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME. SAYS THE LORD GOD.
I sent you earthquakes on the west coast, Floods in the Midwest, Tornados in
the east, Drought in the south.
YET YOU DID NOT RETURN TO ME. SAYS THE LORD GOD.
1. What is my attitude toward life? Am I here to be served or to serve?
2. What is my attitude toward Worship? -Is it only a ritual? or is it coming out of a
love relationship with my Lord?
3. I must live a life in relationship with J.C.
4. To realize that God is speaking to us through acts of nature,
All these are calling us to turn back to God.
WORLDLY WOMEN & WORTHLESS WORSHIP