Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16)
1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we have already considered...
a. Obadiah, who prophesied of the judgment to befall
b. Joel, who proclaimed a locust plague as a harbinger of "the day
of the Lord"
c. Jonah, God's messenger to the Assyrian city of
2. Our next prophet is Amos...
a. A shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit called by God to
prophesy - Am 7:14-15
b. Who proclaimed God's message concerning eight nations, with an
emphasis on the northern
3. His book is divided into three sections...
a. A series of "oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight
nations (ch. 1-2)
b. A series of "sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of
c. A series of "visions" regarding the sin and judgment of
[This lesson will examine the first section, with a look at the
"oracles" Amos proclaimed against eight nations. We begin with a
reading of Am 1:1-2, which serves as an...]
I. INTRODUCTION (1:1-2)
A. THE MAN...
1. NAME - Amos means "burden-bearer"
2. HOME - The
a. 12 miles south of
Jerusalem, 18 miles west of the Dead Sea
b. Near the wilderness of
Judea, a very rugged area
-- So while he was
, he primarily prophesied against Judah
in the north Israel
3. OCCUPATION - "a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit."
a. An outdoorsman, accustomed to the wilds of nature, and of
hard, honest toil
b. It would be easy for him to have little sympathy for the
lazy and materialistic conduct of his northern kinsman
a. Not known for his sympathy or warmth, but for his sense of
justice and right
b. "Not a sob is to be found in his book for the nation of
wicked apostates, and there is only a sigh for the poor"
c. He is reminiscent of John the Baptist
B. THE DATE...
1. He prophesied in the days of:
a. Uzziah, king of
b. Jeroboam II of
2. Two years before an earthquake
3. While the actual date is unknown, 755 B.C. is often suggested
C. THE PEOPLE...
1. His audience is primarily the northern kingdom of
2. Conditions which characterized them at this time:
a. Wealthy, enjoying great luxury
b. Morally, religiously, and politically corrupt
D. HIS MESSAGE...
1. In Am 1:2, we see a vivid picture of the Lord as a lion
whose roar to the north reaches all the way to
2. This describes what God is doing through Amos, proclaiming a
fiery message of condemnation and judgment against
the surrounding nations
3. "The people of
were now at the summit of worldly Israel
prosperity, but were rapidly filling up the measure of their
sins. The mission of Amos was, therefore, rather to threaten
than to console. He rebukes, among other things, the
corruption of their manners, which kept pace with their
prosperity; he charges the great men with partiality as
judges, and violence towards the poor; and he foretells, as a
punishment from God, the captivity of the ten tribes in a
foreign country..." - The Bible Handbook, Angus and Green
[With verse 2 as a good preview of the nature of Amos' prophecy, let's
now survey the first main section of the book of Amos...]
II. THE "ORACLES" OF SIN AND JUDGMENT UPON THE NATIONS (1:3-2:16)
- Am 1:3-5 DAMASCUS
1. SIN - cruelty toward the inhabitants of
Gilead(the tribes of
Gad and Reuben)
2. JUDGMENT - destruction and captivity
a. Hazael was the murderer of Ben-Hadad I, and usurper of his
throne - 2 Ki 8:7-15
b. Ben-Hadad II was the son of Hazel - cf. 2 Ki 13:3,22-25
3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians - cf. 2 Ki 16:1-9
GAZA( PHILISTIA) - Am 1:6-8
1. SIN - engaging in slave traffic
2. JUDGMENT - total devastation
3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians
- Am 1:9-10 TYRE
1. SIN - slave traffic; did not remember the covenant of
"brotherhood" (between Solomon and Hiram? - cf. 1 Ki 5:12)
2. JUDGMENT - destruction
3. FULFILLMENT - started by Nebuchadnezzar; finished by Alexander
- Am 1:11-12 EDOM
1. SIN - cruelty to brethren - cf. Oba 1:10-12
2. JUDGMENT - destruction upon Teman (capital) and Bozrah
(another chief city)
3. FULFILLMENT - by the Nabateans, ca 400 B.C.
E. AMMON - Am 1:13-15
1. SIN - murder of pregnant women in
Gilead(the tribes of Gad
2. JUDGMENT - destruction of Rabbah (capital) and captivity
3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, king of
- Am 2:1-3 MOAB
1. SIN - burned the king of
's bones to lime Edom
2. JUDGMENT - destruction of the chief city of
3. FULFILLMENT - by the Babylonians
- Am 2:4-5 JUDAH
1. SIN - apostasy from the Law
2. JUDGMENT -
(the capital) to be destroyed Jerusalem
3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, 586 B.C.
- Am 2:6-16 ISRAEL
1. SIN - several sins are listed...
a. Social injustice (slave trade and abuse of the poor)
b. Immorality (prostitution)
c. Idolatry (worshipping other gods)
d. Rebellion against God, who...
a. Cast out the Amorites before them
b. Delivered them from the
c. Gave them prophets and Nazarites, whom they corrupted
-- The effect of which weighed God down like a cart full of
sheaves - Am 2:13
2. JUDGMENT - their inability to flee when destruction comes upon
3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians in 722-721 B.C. - 2 Ki 17:5-23
[It is apparent that the focus in this section is primarily upon the
kingdomof Israel, even though did not escape Judah
condemnation. What lessons might we glean from these first two
III. LESSONS FROM THE "ORACLES" OF AMOS
A. GOD HOLDS THE NATIONS OF MEN ACCOUNTABLE...
1. He was not just concerned with His covenant people of
2. As we saw with Obadiah and Jonah, God judged the surrounding
nations as well
3 As Farrar says of Amos: "His whole message centers in the
common prophetic conviction that God is the sole and righteous
Governor of the world, judging the people righteously, and
when they rebel, dashing them to pieces like a potter's
2. The same authority is given to Christ today! - cf. Mt 28:18;
Re 1:5; 2:26-27
B. APOSTASY AND CRUELTY TREATED ALIKE...
1. God condemned:
a. The heathens for their cruelty
Judahand for their apostasy from the Law Israel
2. But their judgments were basically the same!
C. THE STANDARDS TO WHICH NATIONS WERE HELD ACCOUNTABLE...
1. The heathen were judged for their violation of basic
principles of righteousness
2. The people of God were judged by their faithfulness to God's
-- Akin to what we find Paul writing in Ro 2:12-15
1. In our next lesson we will continue our study of Amos...
a. Looking at chapters 3-6, which concentrate on the sins and
b. Where more lessons can be gleaned for us to apply today
2. Having read the judgments God pronounced upon the eight nations...
a. We are reminded that God is a righteous GOD
b. One who holds men and nations accountable for their actions
Are we ready for that great Day of Judgment, in which we will one day
be held accountable for our actions? As Paul wrote:
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
each one may receive the things done in the body, according to
what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the
terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2 Co 5:10
Are you willing to let the Word of God persuade you to do what is
Amos - The Country Prophet (3:1-6:14)
1. In our previous study we began our survey of the book of Amos
a. A prophet of God, who was...
1) A country shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit - Am 7:14-15
2) Called to proclaim God's judgments on the nations, especially
b. Whose book is divided into three sections, in which we find...
1) "Oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight nations (ch.
2) "Sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of
(ch. 3-6) Israel
3) "Visions" regarding the sin and judgment of
(ch. 7-9) Israel
c. In his "oracles", we saw that God pronounced judgment upon...
1) Heathen nations, such as
Damascus, Gaza, , Ammon, Tyre, Edom
2) The people of God, both
-- With emphasis placed upon the sins and judgment of the
northern kingdom of
2. In this lesson, we shall direct our attention to the "sermons" in
a. There are three sermons, each beginning with "Hear this word..."
- 3:1; 4:1; 5:1
b. The focus of these sermons is
, the kingdom in the north Israel
[From an outline by Ryrie, the first "sermon" could be entitled...]
I. THE DOOM OF
A. AMOS DEFENDS HIS RIGHT TO PROPHESY...
1. The Lord has spoken against
- Am 3:1-2 Israel
a. With whom He has had a special relationship
b. Whom He now will punish for their sins
2. Seven questions with obvious answers - Am 3:3-6
a. The purpose and meaning of these questions have been
b. But their intent appears to enforce the logic of what
follows in the next two verses
3. Can a prophet remain silent when God speaks? - Am 3:7-8
a. The Lord does nothing unless He reveals it by one of His
b. Like a lion that has roared (cf. Am 1:2), God has spoken
and Amos must prophesy!
'S DOOM... ISRAEL
Ashdodand Egyptare called to witness 's wickedness Israel
- Am 3:9-10
will be plundered by an adversary - Am 3:11-15 Israel
a. Though never identified by Amos, Isaiah declared that it
's coming punishment: Israel
1) Only a remnant will survive of those who dwell in
luxury, like a piece of lamb left over after being
ravaged by a lion
2) Destruction will come upon the altars of
3) Destruction will befall their luxurious homes
[With this first "sermon", destruction is pronounced upon
. The Israel
sin of some of the men was mentioned earlier (Am 2:6-8), with the next
"sermon" we see the wickedness of the women...]
II. THE DEPRAVITY OF THE WOMEN OF
A. THE "COWS OF
BASHAN", THEY ARE INSATIABLE...
1. Living in
Samaria( ) they were: Israel
a. Oppressing the poor and needy - Am 4:1
b. Crying out for wine - Am 4:2
2. For which they will suffer painful deportation to a foreign
land - Am 4:3
B. A SARCASTIC CALL TO WORSHIP...
1. To worship their false gods at
and Gilgal - Am 4:4-5 Bethel
2. Designed to show how far they have departed from God
C. THEY HAD REJECTED GOD'S CHATISEMENTS...
1. They had failed to respond to God's efforts to get them to
a. Famine - Am 4:6
b. Drought - Am 4:7-8
c. Pestilence - Am 4:9
d. Plague and war - Am 4:10
e. Earthquake, or perhaps volcanic eruptions - Am 4:11
2. Therefore they must prepare to meet their God!
a. Who is bringing such judgments upon them - Am 4:12
b. Whose name is "The LORD God of hosts" - Am 4:13
[In light of such a judgment to befall
, it is not surprising to Israel
see that the third "sermon" is in the form of a lamentation...]
III. A DIRGE OVER
A. A LAMENTATION FOR THE HOUSE OF
1. In view of her coming fall - Am 5:1-2
2. In which only a remnant will be left - Am 5:3
B. A CALL TO REPENTANCE, FOR THERE IS STILL HOPE...
1. Seek the Lord and live, lest He come with fiery judgment!
- Am 5:4-7
2. Seek Him who is all powerful! - Am 5:8-9
3. For He knows your manifold sins! - Am 5:10-13
4. Seek that which is good, not evil; perhaps God will gracious!
- Am 5:14-15
C. THE COMING DAY OF THE LORD...
1. The Lord is coming, and there shall be wailing in the streets
and fields - Am 5:16-17
2. The day of the Lord is not to be desired by sinful men
a. For it will be a day of darkness - Am 5:18-20
b. For God is repelled by their show of religion, when there
should be righteousness and justice - Am 5:21-24
c. For they have never really served God, even in the
wilderness - Am 5:25-26
3. Therefore they will be taken "beyond
Damascus" ( Assyria!)
- Am 5:25-27
D. A WARNING EVEN TO THOSE IN
1. Woe to those who are at ease, trusting in
(i.e., the Samaria
northern kingdom of
) - Am 6:1-2 Israel
a. Perhaps to defend them?
b. Consider what happened to kingdoms far greater!
2. Woe to those who say the day of the Lord is far off - Am 6:3-6
a. Who bask in their luxury
b. While their brethren are afflicted
3. They shall be among the first to go into captivity - Am 6:7
E. THE EXTENT OF THE COMING DESTRUCTION...
1. Coming because God hates their pride - Am 6:8
2. A destruction where men will be scarce, and their houses
destroyed - Am 6:9-11
3. Why? Because they perverted justice and righteousness,
priding themselves in their own strength - Am 6:12-13
4. But God will raise up a nation (
Assyria) against them, who
will afflict them from the north ("the entrance of Hamath")
to the south ("the Valley of the Arabah") - Am 6:14
[So ends the third of these three "sermons" of Amos. Before we conclude
our study, let me share some...]
IV. OBSERVATIONS FROM THE "SERMONS" OF AMOS
A. THE RECURRING THEMES OF JUSTICE AND RIGHTEOUSNESS...
1. Several times we find references to justice and righteousness
- Am 5:7,15,24; 6:12
2. Their opposites are also mentioned: oppression and evil
- Am 3:10; 4:1; 5:10-12
3. Lacking justice and righteousness, all their religion, wealth,
and power were in vain!
-- Is there not a lesson for us to learn here? - cf. Mt 5:23-24
'S FAILURE TO HEED GOD'S CHASTISEMENTS... ISRAEL
1. That God used natural calamity to get their attention is
evident - Am 4:6-11
2. Why did they not heed God's efforts?
a. Perhaps they did not make the connection
b. Perhaps they assumed is was just a coincidence
3. One would be amiss to always attribute natural calamities to
God's working; yet...
a. Should we not be open to the possibility that God may be
b. Should we not at least use such occasions to reflect on our
relationship with God?
C. REGARDING THE DAY OF THE LORD...
1. The "day of the Lord" is a day of judgment, and a day of
darkness - Am 5:18
a. In Amos it has reference to God's judgment upon
which came when
Assyriatook them into captivity
b. But such judgment prefigures the Final Judgment, the "day
of the Lord"
1) In which Christ will come to judge the world - Ac 17:
2) It too will be a day of "darkness" - cf. 2 Pe 3:7,10-12
2. While we might not desire that "day" per se, we do look
forward to what is to follow - cf. 2 Pe 3:13-14
D. GOD'S GRACIOUS OFFER OF REPENTANCE...
1. Even with the pronouncement of judgment, there is an offer to
have life if one repents - Am 5:4-6,14-15
2. As we saw with Joel and Jonah, God was willing to relent for
those who repented
3. Even today, while the gospel proclaims judgment to come, it
also offers salvation! - cf. 2 Co 6:1-2
1. Unfortunately, not many heeded the warnings of Amos - cf. 2 Ki 17:
a. Within thirty years (722 B.C.),
was taken into captivity Israel
b. Under the cruel hand of the Assyrians, they experienced the
righteous judgment of God
2. What about us, will we heed the warnings of Christ and His apostles?
a. Their message is really not that different ("seek the Lord and
live", "seek good and not evil")
b. They too call upon us to repent and seek the Lord through faith
and obedience, though it is obedience to the gospel of Christ and
not the Law of Moses
Remember that the book of Amos, along with the rest of the Old
"...written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages
have come." (1 Co 10:11)
Are we willing to learn from its admonition, such as those found in
the prophecies of Amos?
Amos - The Country Prophet (7:1-9:15)
1. In the first two studies on the book of Amos, we briefly surveyed...
a. The "Oracles" of Amos, concerning sin and judgment of eight
nations (ch. 1-2)
b. The "Sermons" of Amos, concerning the sin and judgment of
2. In this third and final lesson on Amos, we will...
a. Focus our attention on the last three chapters which contain...
1) Five "Visions" of Amos
2) An "interlude" in which Amos defends his prophetic role
3) A closing glimpse of a brighter future
b. Offer a summary of lessons gleaned from the book of Amos
[Let's begin, then by noting...]
I. THE "VISIONS" OF AMOS (7:1-9:15)
A. THE VISION OF THE LOCUSTS (7:1-3)
1. The vision and the Lord's response to Amos' prayer...
a. The Lord shows Amos a swarm of locusts devastating the
b. Amos cries out in behalf of Jacob (
c. The Lord hears, and relents so that the locust plague will
2. The meaning of the vision...
a. Some take the locust plague to be a figurative symbol of an
b. Whether literal or figurative, the judgment it represented
is averted by the pleading of the prophet
c. It is reminiscent of what we saw in Joel, how the nation's
repentance averted the reoccurrence of the "locust
invasion" - cf. Joel 2:1-24
B. THE VISION OF THE FIRE (7:4-6)
1. The vision and the Lord's response to Amos' prayer...
a. The Lord shows Amos a fire consuming the "great deep" and
b. Once again Amos cries out in behalf of Jacob (
c. The Lord again hears, and relents from bringing the
2. The meaning of the vision...
a. Clearly figurative, for the "great deep" is likely the
b. Whatever judgment it represents is also averted by the
prayer of Amos
c. These first two visions appear to illustrate God's
longsuffering due to the prayers of the righteous
C. THE VISION OF THE PLUMB LINE (7:7-9)
1. The vision and the Lord's explanation...
a. The Lord is standing on a wall with a plumb line in hand
b. The Lord explains He is setting a plumb line in the midst
, and will now bring destruction upon: Israel
1) The places of idolatrous worship ("high places" and
2) The house of Jeroboam (the ruling king of
, cf. Israel
2. The meaning of the vision...
a. A plumb line is used to measure the correctness of any
b. God has so measured
, and found her so defective that Israel
He cannot overlook her anymore
c. The judgment will involve destruction of her religious and
D. AN INTERLUDE: AMAZIAH'S COMPLAINT AGAINST AMOS (7:10-17)
1. Amaziah, priest of
(center of idolatrous worship), Bethel
accuses Amos of conspiracy against Jeroboam king of
- Am 7:10-11
2. Amaziah tells Amos to leave
and go back to his own Bethel
- Am 7:12-13 Judah
3. Amos defends his prophetic mission - Am 7:14-15
4. Amos then prophesies against Amaziah and
- Am 7:16-17 Israel
E. THE VISION OF THE SUMMER FRUIT (8:1-14)
1. The vision and the Lord's explanation - Am 8:1-3
a. Amos is shown a basket of summer fruit (evidently quite
b. The Lord reveals that
's end is near, and is ripe for Israel
2. Once again, the nature of
's sin is described - Am 8:4-6 Israel
a. Oppression of the poor and needy - cf. Am 2:6-7
b. Disdain for religious observances, because they hinder
c. Dishonest economic practices, to further abuse the poor and
3. The nature of
's judgment is described - Am 8:7-14 Israel
a. A day of mourning is coming - Am 8:7-10
b. A day of famine for the word of God is coming - Am 8:11-12
c. Those who trust in idolatry will fall and never rise again
- Am 8:13-14
F. THE VISION OF THE LORD BY THE ALTAR (9:1-10)
1. Is this the altar of
Jerusalem, or ? (I suspect the Bethel
2. The altar shall be destroyed, and none shall escape - Am 9:1-4
3. The One who shall accomplish this is described - Am 9:5-6
has become little different than the heathen nations Israel
- Am 9:7
5. The careful, discriminate, nature of the Lord's judgment
- Am 9:8-10
a. The "kingdom" will be utterly destroyed
b. But the "house of Jacob" will not
c. What little is good will be spared, as grain sifted in a
d. But the sinners shall not escape, despite their claims to
G. A GLIMPSE OF A BRIGHTER FUTURE - Am 9:11-15
1. The restoration of the tabernacle of David is foretold, in
which even the remnant of
and Gentiles who are called by Edom
His name are possessed - Am 9:11-12
2. The restoration described in terms of agricultural abundance
- Am 9:13-15
3. James applied the fulfillment of this prophecy to the church
and the inclusion of the Gentiles by the gospel - cf. Ac 15:
4. So the prophecy is figurative...
a. Given in terms especially comforting to those of Amos' day
b. Yet actually referring to spiritual blessings found in
[Visions in the Bible often are designed to impact more the heart of
man rather than his mind. So it is with these visions of Amos:
depicting God's longsuffering, His judgment upon the nation of
and His promise of future blessings for
and the nations (the Israel
last fulfilled with the coming of Christ).
Before we close, let's review...]
II. A SUMMARY OF LESSONS GLEANED FROM AMOS
A. CONCERNING GOD...
1. He rules over the nations, and holds them accountable - Am 1,2
2. His omnipotence may be seen in:
a. His acts of creation - Am 4:3; 5:8
b. His control over the forces of nature - Am 4:6-11
c. His supremacy over the nations - Am 1,2
3. His omnipresence is plainly taught (Am 9:2-4), also His
omniscience (Am 4:13)
4. The righteousness of God is constantly emphasized by Amos
- e.g., Am 5:24
1. They were the people of God, having a special relationship
with God - Am 3:1-2
2. They should have reflected the glory of God - cf. Am 5:14-15,
3. They failed, and so judgment would follow; but a remnant would
be spared that would later bless the Gentiles - Am 9:11-12
C. MISCELLANEOUS LESSONS...
1. Justice between man and man is one of the divine foundations
2. Privilege implies responsibility
had enjoyed special privileges Israel
b. Therefore she had been give special responsibilities
3. Failure to recognize and accept responsibility is sure to
bring God's judgment
4. The most elaborate worship is but an insult to God when
offered by those who have no mind to conform to His commands
-- These lessons were offered by Homer Hailey in his book, "A
Commentary On The Minor Prophets" (Baker Book House)
1. Many other lessons can likely be gleaned from a book like Amos; the
"Disciples' Study Bible" offers these:
a. Merely observing proper forms of worship is not sufficient for a
right relation with God (pure religion takes into consideration
one's treatment of the poor and needy - cf. Ja 1:27)
b. Being a part of God's people does not guarantee exemption from
Israeland certainly weren't exempt) Judah
c. Not all judgment seeks to penalize and hurt (many were designed
to restore man back to God, Am 4:6-11)
2. Can we not see the value of studying the Old Testament prophets?
a. They are truly "written for our admonition" - 1 Co 10:11
b. They are truly "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for
correction, for instruction in righteousness," - 2 Ti 3:16
In Am 8:11-12, we read of a famine for the Word of the Lord that
, which occurred when they were taken into Assyrian Israel
captivity. Let's be sure that we do not experience a self-imposed
famine of the Word by neglecting to study and glean from such prophets
"A FAMINE FOR THE WORD"
1. About 750 B.C., an obscure farmer and shepherd was called by God to
be a prophet...
a. The man's name was Amos
b. His mission: to warn
of God's coming judgment if they did Israel
2. Sadly, the nation did not heed the call to repent...
a. As a result, they were led into Assyrian captivity
b. Part of Amos' prophecy that was fulfilled concerned an unusual
famine that would come upon the people: A FAMINE FOR THE WORD OF
GOD! - cf. Am 8:11-14
3. Today, there is also a famine for the Word of God...
a. Different in some ways
b. Yet similar in other ways, and producing similar results!
[In our study today, we will compare the present-day famine with the
one foretold by Amos...]
I. THE PRESENT DAY FAMINE
A. HOW IT IS "DIFFERENT"...
1. The present famine for the Word of God was not sent by God
2. On the contrary, it is evident God has provided for a "feast",
not a "famine"!
a. We enjoy an abundance of Bibles
b. Never before in the history of mankind has the world
enjoyed such free access to God's Word
3. Indeed, today's famine for the Word of God is SELF-IMPOSED!
4. Despite such access to the Bible, the following "Diary Of The
Bible" illustrates what is often so true:
a. January: A busy time for me. Most of the family decided
to read me through this year. They kept me busy
for the first two weeks. I'm now forgotten.
b. February: My owner used me for a few minutes last week.
He had an argument and was checking references.
c. March: Grandpa visited us. He kept me on his lap for
an hour, reading 1 Cor 13
d. April: I had a busy day. My owner was appointed a
leader of something and used me. I got to go to
church the first time this year...Easter Sunday
e. May: I have a few grass stains on my pages. Had some
early spring flowers pressed in me.
f. June: I look like a scrap book. They have stuffed me
full of clippings. One of the girls got married.
g. July: They put me in a suitcase today. I guess we're
off on a vacation. I wish I could stay at home,
as I will have to stay in this thing for a
h. August: Still in the suitcase.
i. September: Back home again, and in my old place. I have
lots of company. Two "True Stories"and four
"Funny Books" are on top of me. I wish I could
be read as much as they are.
j. October: They used me a little today. One of them is
sick. Right now I'm all shined up and in the
center of the table...I think the preacher is
k. November: Back in my old place.
l. December: They are getting ready for Christmas. I'll be
covered under wrapping papers and packages.
[Why is there this present-day famine for the Word of God? The
answer may be found as we compare this famine with the one foretold
by Amos and notice...]
B. HOW IT IS "SIMILAR"...
1. The present famine is the result of similar causes
a. E.g., material luxury
1) In Amos' day, this became the cause of pride which God
hated - Am 6:1-8
a) Their luxury prompted them to "put far off the day of
doom" in their minds (i.e., they did not want to
think about the future)
b) God had warned Israel that it might cause some to
forget God - Deu 8:11-14,17
2) Likewise, Jesus warned that riches could choke those who
had received the Word - cf. Lk 8:14
a) Today, many in their search for wealth forget about
b) Others have so filled their time enjoying their
luxuries, they have no time for the Word of God
b. E.g., moral corruption
1) Consider how corrupt the people had become in the days
of Amos - Am 2:6-7
2) Who can deny that immorality is having its effect on the
a) The world's standards often become the standards of
those in the church
b) When this happens, people will not want to feed upon
the Word of God
1/ If they did, it would make them very uncomfortable
2/ Because of its ability to reveal our true selves
- cf. He 4:12-13
c. E.g., religious corruption
1) The people of Israel couldn't wait for religious days to
be over - Am 8:4-10
2) Today, many people can't wait for services to be over so
they can work or play
a) If they are unwilling to spend time in sincere
b) ...it is easy to see why they won't take time to feed
daily on God's word!
2. The present famine also produces similar results!
a. Amos described a sad picture in Am 8:13-14
1) Young people fainting from "thirst"
2) Others falling and not rising again
b. Doesn't this describe the daily lives of many Christians
1) Suffering from a lack of "spiritual food"...
a) They are easily overcome by temptation!
b) Even the common trials of life overwhelm them!
2) This may help us understand why...
a) Some new Christians fall away
b) Young people often lose interest
c) The behavior of some elders, preachers, and teachers
is what it is!
c. There are two things that are necessary to resist trials
1) Faith in God: believing that He will provide a way of
escape - 1 Co 10:13
2) Fear of God: that awesome reverence that motivates us
to turn from evil - Pr 16:6
-- The Word of God is designed to impart both! - Ro 10:17;
Deu 17:18-19; 31:10-13
[The condition of many churches today is one of "spiritual
malnutrition"! Influenced by materialism, immorality, and a lack of
true spirituality, by CHOICE many have imposed a famine upon themselves
for the Word of God!
This helps to explain the discouragement and defeat in the lives of so
many Christians today! What can be done about it? How can we end this
self-imposed famine for the Word of God?]
II. ENDING THE FAMINE
A. FIRST, WE MUST APPRECIATE THE "POWER" OF GOD'S WORD...
1. It possesses the power of CREATION
a. Demonstrated with the creation of the physical realm - He
11:3; Gen 1:3
b. It has similar power in the spiritual realm, producing true
regeneration! - Jn 6:63; 1 Pe 1:23; Ja 1:18
2. It possesses the power of SANCTIFICATION
a. As praised by David in his psalm - Ps 19:7-11
b. As mentioned by Jesus in His prayer - Jn 17:17
3. It possesses the power of PRESERVATION
a. The young are instructed to keep their ways pure by it - Ps
b. The elders are exhorted to keep the church pure by it - Ac
c. A lack of knowledge has always destroyed God's people
- e.g., Hos 4:6
4. It possesses the power of SALVATION and CONDEMNATION
a. It can save our souls when properly received - Ja 1:21
b. It will be the standard by which we will judged - Jn 12:48
-- Should this not motivate us to learn the Word of God? Would
it not be foolish to neglect such power in our lives?
B. BUT THEN, WE MUST "FEED" UPON IT...
1. Like newborn babies longing for their mothers' milk, so we
need to long for the word of God! - 1 Pe 2:2
2. I contend that nothing less than daily reading of God's Word
a. We appreciate the value of daily nourishment for our bodies
b. Do our souls deserve any less?
1) They were created in the image of God!
2) They redeemed by the blood of the Lamb!
3) One soul is more valuable than the whole world put
together! - Mt 16:26
3. A simple practice of DAILY BIBLE READING will go a long way to
ending this famine for the Word of God!
a. A reasonable goal at first is to read a chapter a day
1) I recommend reading through the New Testament first
2) At the rate of one chapter a day, one will easily read
the NT in a year
b. Once the habit of daily Bible reading has been established,
reading three chapters a day will enable one to read
through the entire Bible once a year
1) That is really not much, yet many Christians have never
read the Bible through once!
2) It takes the average reader only 20-30 minutes a day
3) The use of some Bible reading chart or checklist may be
4. As you read, make it a time for meditation and prayer
a. Meditating upon the Word - cf. Ps 1:1-3
b. Praying for wisdom and help to obey God's word - cf. Ps
1. It must have been terrible for the Israelites...
a. Taken away as captives to a strange land
b. Unable to feed on the wonderful Word of God!
2. But how tragic for those who impose a famine for the Word upon
a. By their own neglect they languish from spiritual malnutrition
b. By their own neglect they remain captives to sin
3. Their tragedy is increased when we realize...
a. Their neglect is not just one related to the Word of God has it
existed in Amos' day
b. But they are neglecting the full and final revelation of God's
Word given through Jesus and His apostles!
-- By God's grace they have so much more to enjoy, yet they turn
aside from this spiritual feast!
4. I challenge everyone to...
a. Make the commitment not to neglect the all-powerful Word of God!
b. Feast daily upon that Word which can save your souls!
As Paul told the Ephesian elders when he bid them farewell:
"So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His
grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance
among all those who are sanctified." - Acts 20:32