Amos 7 Sermon Manuscript

Shape Up, or Ship Out

Amos 7

NOTE: These are just the notes I use to preach from, in order to get the full context/understanding of this, watch the sermon HERE.

-Standard unit of measurement. Foot used to be measured by the emperor’s foot, led to some discrepancy. 

-If/when you’re buying something, you probably want to know you’re getting what you paid for! 

-Necessity of having the same measuring line

-What happens when you’ve got a different standard?

-Ripped off, businesses can’t communicate, building is difficult 

-Today we’re going to be looking at what happens when we don’t compare ourselves to God’s unit of measurement 

READ
PRAY

-Beginning the vision section of Amos

-Amos broken into 3 parts: Judgment against the nations (1-2), Israel’s Sin and judgment (3-6), Future Visions (7-9)

-We saw in the first section the wealthy were continually oppressing the poor/marginalized, which led to

-Second section of the incoming judgment, highlighted by justice and righteousness, which we spent a lot of time on the last 2 weeks (God’s definition of justice is very different than the world’s definition)

-The rest of this book (3 weeks) will take a look at God’s response to His people’s lack of responding to His commands/Word

  1. 3 Warnings (1-9)

-Theme of 5 & 7 in this book, today we’ll look at 3 warnings, next week will be a 4thwarning, May 9th will be the 5th

-Remember, God has warned his people repeatedly, this is all rooted in the Torah, first 5 books of the OT, consequences for neglecting His commands.

-Plus, Amos had been warning them! God warned them in the Torah, this is why it’s so important to continually be rooted and built up in God’s Word, that’ll come up again, but note it here

  1. Locusts (1-3)

-God revealed a vision to Amos. This solidified his prophetic role to the people

-Also begins a theme in this section. Notice vs. 4, 7 all begin with the same phrase. Then move to “behold” with a description, and then the prophet pleads on behalf of his people, wherein God relents, at least the first 2 times!

-“He was forming locust.” God was the one creating these little creatures, working behind the scenes.

-Then it tells us specifically when this locust swarm will be sent out.

-Latter growth would be late spring, after the rains of March/April, meaning entering the dry season.

-After the king’s mowing is the early part was given to the king as taxes, so once again the people who were oppressed were the poor!

-Amos is stuck watching this whole thing take place (remember, this is a vision God is giving to Amos) so God is showing a little picture of what’s going to happen in the future because of Israel’s unrepentance. After witnessing the whole interaction, Amos intercedes on their behalf. 

-Amos pleads for God to forgive the people. Note that it’s not because the people are repenting! Amos is interjecting himself on behalf of the people!

-Can you think of any other places in the Bible where that happens? I mentioned one during our Good Friday service – Abraham interceding on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah in Gen. 18. God would spare the world for 1 person.

-Also seen again when Moses interceded on behalf of the people in Ex. 32. People had just created the golden calf, Moses comes down and sees it, God threatens to wipe out the people, Moses intercedes. 

-These are small examples that point us to the ultimate intercession when Jesus came down to the earth.

-Amos begins by referring to Israel as Jacob. Perhaps reminding God that Israel was not the choicest of all peoples to choose from! Deut. 7:7 “It was not because you were more in number than other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.”

-Between Jacob & Esau, Esau was the impressive one. He was the hunter/gatherer while Jacob was the mommys boy! Amos goes all the way back to the 3rd generation of Israelites to make his point that this people are the smallest people!

-Compare this to the way they thought of themselves in Amos 61 “the notable men of the FIRST of the nations”, “are you better than these kingdoms?” 13“have we not by our own strength captured Karnaim for ourselves.”

-While Israel is thinking they’re hot stuff, God (and Amos) remind them they’re nothing, without God’s interceding on their behalf

-Because of Amos’ intervention, God relents. Apart from Amos writing this down, no one would have known what God spared His people from. 

-Isn’t the same true for us today? Who knows what God has spared you OR THE PEOPLE YOU PRAY FOR from? 

-Don’t neglect to intercede on your behalf, on the behalf of your children, or anyone who isn’t walking with the Lord, you don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes!

-Agrarian society, locusts were devastating! Didn’t have the pesticides, insecticides that are so common today. And ultimately God is working behind the scenes even in this incoming trouble. What does this say about God?

-Think of one of the themes we see throughout the Bible – Joseph first says it to his brothers in Gen. 50:20 “You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.”

-We see a similar theme to the life of Job. God says “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” Yet God allows Satan to tempt him, to test him, and Job continues to trust God in the midst of that.

-brothers and sisters: there may be locusts that God has prepared to send your way to continue to draw you to himself. These locusts could potentially even be lifelong struggles that you will need to face, but God will be with you in the midst of those things. 

-Think of someone like Joni Eareckson Tada who became a quadriplegic at 18, or even the Apostle Paul! 

-I think of Charles Spurgeon, who battled crippling depression so severe he one time had to stop preaching in the middle of a sermon to rest, then finished out his message. Every winter he would travel to the south of France to get away from England in order to have the strength to carry on with the rest of his responsibilities. “I have learned to kiss the wave that throws me against the rock of ages.” 

-God never promises us a worry/pain free life. Instead He promises that whatever comes our way, He will walk us through it! So when locusts comes, take heart!

-This is only the first of the warnings!

  • Fire (4-6)

-God’s not done doling out consequences to His people here. After the locusts (and God relents through Amos begging forgiveness), God sends a judgment through fire

-Notice that it “devoured the great deep and was eating up the land.”

-“Great deep” isn’t the ocean (as we would think) instead this is the water from which all other water flows, like Gen. 1:2 “darkness was over the face of the deep.” It was wiping out the source of all water for the people, then once that was consumed, it started moving to the land.

-This time, Amos doesn’t ask for forgiveness, instead he asks God to just stop.

-Once again, the Lord relents, He will not use these means to discipline His people

-This leads us to the third and final vision for this week:

  • The Ultimate Standard (7-9)

-My dad one time preached 1 sermon on Amos (misleading me to thinking he preached a whole series on this book so I had asked him for help once I decided to preach through this book, turned out it was 1 message and not a series, so thanks for nothing dad!)

-Nice thing is one of the only sermons I remember from growing up is one this text! So I’ve got something to go on!

-In this vision, God is standing beside a wall that was built with a plumb line. A plumb line is a measuring line, a string and a heavy weight (let gravity do the work) that ensure whatever you’re building is straight/level.

-Having something level is really important when you’re building! Just a little bit off can destroy the whole structure! 

-Plumbline tells you just how far off of “correct” you are. 

-One example is with music. They make this thing called a metronome, the bane of those who are learning music! Keeps you locked into a specific tempo.

-God has similarly built a plumbline/tempo for how we are supposed to live. A standard by which we’re to measure our entire lives. A tempo that we’re supposed to sync our lives to, and if we don’t, destruction is guaranteed to come.

-Here’s the thing about the plumbline. It’s NEVER going to change! Gravity works 100% of the time! The fact that you’re still sitting there proves my point! And that never changing standard is the measurement that God will use to judge his people, as the end of vs. 8 makes clear. 

-So what happens if everyone is walking around with a slanted/skewed perspective? Is the plumbline wrong, or are we wrong? Yet that’s EXACTLY what happens so often in our world today. People are leaning over looking at the plumbline of God’s Word, and blaming God’s Word as being wrong instead of looking at themselves as the wrong ones.

-But let’s take that analogy a step further, what happens when someone else’s slant is different than our own? Anyone ever read the Dr. Seuss book The Sneetches? Divided into star bellied vs. non star. Guy makes a device that puts stars on bellies, then couldn’t divide each other up anymore.

-We spend so much time looking around at other people assuming our “slant” (or star on our belly) is the standard unit of measurement, then try to force others to adopt our same slant. 

-And here’s where it gets even MORE difficult! It literally changes you.

-If you break a bone, get a cast, after the 6-8 weeks the cast comes off and your limb looks anemic! It hasn’t been used. The rest of our body compensates and get stronger at the expense of the broken limb.

-Similarly, when we’re walking with a skewed perspective we focus on the strength at the expense of the weakness, so instead of using the right plumb/level, we just look at each other and refuse to give grace. We too carelessly and callously throw names out instead of looking to listen.

-What measuring line(s) does our world use today?

-Hyper-individuality 

-Sexuality

-Gender

-Vocation

-Finances

-What measuring line does God use?

Amos 5:24 “let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Micah 6:8 “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

Acts 2:44-47 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

James 1:27 “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”

-How are we doing at these things? This is getting back to what we saw as a biblical definition of justice: radical generosity, universal equality, special concern for the poor & marginalized, both corporate and individual responsibility. We did this just this week with the blankets and pillows!

-When we’re tempted to rely on our own works, our own efforts, or at times even the world’s standard of measurement, remember what God has called us to pursue, remember which standard God will use! God calls us to love unconditionally

  • A Message from the King (10-17)

-This is a very interesting section that contains the only personal information about Amos other than the first 2 verses of the book.

-We’re also introduced to a new character in the story: Amaziah, priest of where? NOT Jerusalem. 

  1. Amaziah’s Complaint (10-13)

-Amaziah, turns out, is a tattle tale. No one likes a tattle tale. Runs off and complains to the king about Amos. 

-Accuses Amos of “conspiring against the King” and Amos has the audacity to do so within the king’s own kingdom! And the nation can’t bear his words.

-Amos is attacking the national theology of Israel. Since the people are living in unrepentant sin, Amos’ job is to call them out! And the high priest’s livelihood is threatened by it. Remember, Amos has called out these worship centers in Bethel and Gilgal.

-But Amaziah is sneaky, he references the prophecy Amos has given about Jeroboam. He knows if the king is attacked, it’ll be dealt with.

-After sending off a message to king Jeroboam, he then turns his attention back to Amos.

-First, notice that Amaziah at least acknowledges that Amos is a seer. Just doesn’t like what Amos is seeing. But nowhere does he try to downplay or dismiss Amos’ message. 

-Second, urges Amos to flee back to his homeland of Judah. Amaziah may have thought he could go to Jerusalem and be a thorn in the side of the high priest there.

-Third, he accuses Amos of earning his living through prophesy. One translation translates “eat bread” as “earn your living.” 

-Amaziah has essentially walked all over Amos, refusing to hear or heed Amos’ message! 

-Has that ever happened to you? You’re doing your best to obey God and all you face is blatant opposition? You’re not alone!

-Not saying just be a (as a seminary professor used to say) “ignoramus” who is unwilling to be taught and corrected, but when God is leading/guiding you somewhere (and has been confirmed by your church body), don’t back down! Continue living out your calling!

-One of the most potent verses getting to this idea is another prophet, Jeremiah 20:9 “If I say ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name.’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”

  • Amos’ Critique (14-17)

-Amos gets a chance to reply. He begins by dealing with Amaziah’s accusations first, that he is not in the prophecy business to make a living. At this time in Israel’s history, their arose guilds of prophets who were trained/discipled in how to be effective prophets, but not all of them were true prophets who were speaking on behalf of God.

-One of my favorite lines from Dr. DA Carson “I am neither the prophet, nor the son of a prophet, and I work at a non-profit.” 

-Amos wasn’t in prophesy to make money, he does that other ways. Got commanded Amos to go prophesy, he didn’t have a choice! He must obey, or suffer the consequences. 

-Because Amaziah begged Amos to leave and stop prophesying, Amos offers a word from the Lord to him. In summary, everything someone would hold dear would be utterly stripped away from him. Another series of 5

-First his wife will be defiled. This would be a 1 2 punch to Amaziah. First, that he wouldn’t be able to protect the women he most dearly loves. Second, one of the requirements for priests affected the women they would marry. A prostitute was not the type of women priests could marry, so essentially Amos is calling Amaziah’s calling of priest into question

-Children will be killed. Already knew there would be an incoming judgment, but didn’t know how it would affect him personally. Now he does

-Land that he owns will be divided up. Just as the plumb line would be used to judge each person, a different sort of plumb line will break down Amaziah’s land and give it to victors of the coming war

-Amaziah will be taken out into exile. Just as we saw last week in 6:7, the rich being the first to be led into exile, Amaziah will be on the front of that line, and will die in “an unclean land.” A land that is not the chosen land, that is not where God’s chosen people are to live.

-Lastly, just as Amaziah will go into exile, so will the entire nation!

-Not a cheery ending to this chapter! What do we learn? We see the need to stand fast to God’s Word. Amos knew the ultimate standard by which he would be judged, and it wasn’t Amaziah! He clung to the truths of what God had spoken, and we need to do the same today! So soak, saturate your mind in the truths of the Bible, then find a church community who will hold you accountable to the Bible and strive day by day to fight against sin, and keep your eyes and your gaze fixated on Christ! 

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