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Amos

Christmas from the Prophets  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  57:29
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This year I want to look at the Hope of Christmas through the eyes of what we call the Minor Prophets.
There is nothing that gives hope and builds faith like promises and prophecies being fulfilled.
There are actually 12 minor prophets, minor not because of quality but for quantity.
These 12 prophets functioned in the Old Testament as the 12 Apostles functioned in the New Testament.
Prophets were the Messenger and Ambassadors the nation of Israel.
The Apostles were the Messengers, Ambassadors, and Foundation of the New Testament Church.
“It is not a coincidence that the number of writing prophets in the Hebrew Bible (fifteen: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah, and the Twelve) matched the number of patriarchs and tribes (fifteen: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the twelve tribes). The prophets were a mini-Israel calling back the larger nation to its covenant Lord.”
What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared about: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible (The Author of the Twelve Compiled Twelve Prophetic Writings into a Single, Unified Book)
With Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah, the book of the Twelve provides theological commentary on Israel’s checkered history (Genesis–Kings), while also pointing ahead to a brighter day.
Jenkin Loyd-Jones says,
“The pathway of history is littered with the bones of dead civilizations … most of them have rotted out before the barbarians battered the gates. They had rotted with outward corruption and dishonesty and the search for kicks.”
The average age of a civilization is around 200 years.
Civilizations fall not from without but from within.
Arnold Toynbee said,
“19 out of the last 21 civilizations have destroyed themselves.”
Israel, the Northern Kingdom falls into this category. She began in 922 B.C., she died in 721 B.C. with the reason being moral and spiritual corruption from within.
2 Kings 17:22–23 KJV 1900
22 For the children of Israel walked in all the sins of Jeroboam which he did; they departed not from them; 23 Until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had said by all his servants the prophets. So was Israel carried away out of their own land to Assyria unto this day.
Before Israel was destroyed and Judah enslaved, at the height of wealth, worship and wickedness, God sent Amos and Hosea to Israel and Isaiah and Micah to Judah.
Amos 9:11–15 KJV 1900
11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, And close up the breaches thereof; And I will raise up his ruins, And I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, Which are called by my name, Saith the Lord that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; And the mountains shall drop sweet wine, And all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, And they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; And they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; They shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, And they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, Saith the Lord thy God.

The PREREQUISITE for Christmas:

The Setting of Amos

Amos 1:1–2 KJV 1900
1 The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2 And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, And utter his voice from Jerusalem; And the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, And the top of Carmel shall wither.
The name Amos means “burden” or “burden-bearer.”
Amos was from Tekoa, a small village 10 mi. south of Jerusalem. He was the only prophet to give his occupation before declaring his divine commission. He was not of priestly or noble descent, but worked as a “sheepbreeder” (1:1; cf. 2 Kin. 3:4) and a “tender of sycamore fruit” (7:14) and was a contemporary of Jonah (2 Kin. 14:25), Hosea (Hos. 1:1), and Isaiah (Is. 1:1).
Amos lived during the economic and military splendor of Uzziah (783-742) in the South and Jeroboam II (786-746) in the North.
It was a time of peace and prosperity. However, an increase in wealth leads to increase of wickedness and immorality.
It was a time of bullheadedness. Judah rejected the laws of God, Israel followed the evil ways of Jeroboam, so much so that Hosea said,
Hosea 4:1–3 KJV 1900
1 Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel: For the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, And blood toucheth blood. 3 Therefore shall the land mourn, And every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, With the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; Yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
Amos dealt primarily with the sins that accompany wealth. The people were self indulgent, drinking wine in bowls, building summer houses, and anointing their bodies with the finest oils (3:15; 6:4–6).
They were unconcerned for the poor (6:6) and loved money so much they were cruel to them when it was profitable (2:6–8; 8:5–6; 5:12).
Added to indulgence and injustices were drunkenness (2:8, 12; 4:1; 6:6) and immorality so debased that a father and son would take turns with the same girl (2:7).
Isaiah summed up these people’s philosophy,
Isaiah 22:13 (KJV 1900)
13 And behold joy and gladness, Slaying oxen, and killing sheep, Eating flesh, and drinking wine: Let us eat and drink; for to morrow we shall die.
“Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (22:13).
Oddly enough this was also a time of external zeal.
Worshipers flooded the sanctuaries (Amos 4:4) in the North and the Temple (Isa. 1:10–15) in the South. These who were rotten to the core were also religious to the core.
Because of this, the prophets all agree it was a time of peril. The God who cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly (Isa. 1:5), would raise up a nation (Assyria) to punish them (Isa. 1:7–8; Amos 5:27; Micah 4:10; Hos. 5:10–12, etc.). He had promised this long before through Moses on the borders of Canaan (Deut. 28:58–64). Israel had less than a half century to live.
What did God say to them?
Turn from the setting to …

The Summons of Amos

In these bleak rugged mountains from the village of Tekoa, just 12 miles south of Jerusalem, looking down on the Dead Sea, Amos had a panoramic view of his world. The lonely hours keeping sheep and caring for sycamore trees, a poor type of fig eaten by the poor, gave him time to think and commune with God.
The sight of worshipers going to Jerusalem and to Bethel, ten miles to the north, enabled him to see the soul of his countrymen. The sight of unjust judges, uncaring rich, starving peasants, and pitiful slaves enabled him to see their rotten hearts. And one day, when he could take it no more, God called him to preach and sent him to the North to deliver his message.
Amos goes to Bethel where King Jereboam worshipped and declared,
Amos 1:2 KJV 1900
2 And he said, The Lord will roar from Zion, And utter his voice from Jerusalem; And the habitations of the shepherds shall mourn, And the top of Carmel shall wither.
In other words, from the lowest point to the highest point, the judgment of God will be felt.
He attacks the sins of Israel’s neighbors (1:3-2-5) and then he attacks the sins of Israel.
Amaziah, the priest of Bethel did not like the message and when Amos predicted Jeroboam’s death (7:9), he couldn’t take any more.
He sends a message to Amos to go back to Judah and earn his preaching money there (7:12-13)
Amos replies,
Amos 7:14–16 KJV 1900
14 Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: 15 And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. 16 Now therefore hear thou the word of the Lord: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, And drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
In this summons and courageous response we need to see that wherever there is a wrong that needs to be made right, this is our call from God.
Where a burden needs to be lifted we find our call from God.
Where a human being needs to be helped, we find our call from God. We evade the will of God by “looking” for the will of God and “praying” for the will of God, when His will for us is all around us. The Good Samaritan didn’t have to pray about whether or not to help the victim beside the road. In that man’s wounds he saw God’s will.

The Sins by Amos

1. INJUSTICE to the Poor (2:6–8; 8:5–6).

As the merchants and farmers grew wealthy they cared nothing about the poor, in fact, they mistreated them. He said they “sold into slavery the poor who cannot repay their debts; they trade him for a pair of shoes. They trample the poor in the dust …” (2:6–8, LB). The poor had no help from the courts because the rich easily bribed the judges at thee gate (5:12). With no fear of punishment the merchants with their false measures and incorrect scales cheated the poor (8:5–6). Money was their god. Money meant more to them than people.
Greed, however, is at its ugliest not when a vile creature pulls a knife to steal a purse, but then nice, moral, honest people refuse to share with the poor. Jesus said nothing about the men who beat and robbed the traveler on the Jericho Road. But He condemned the preacher (priest) and song leader (Levite) who passed by on the other side.
The Bible says,
Psalm 37:21–22 (KJV 1900)
21 ...But the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.22 For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth;
And they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
“… the righteous is generous and gives, for those blessed by the Lord will possess the land. But those cursed by Him will be cut off” (Ps. 37:21).
“It is well with the man who deals generously” (Ps. 112:5).
I know there are abuses in our welfare system. I know we encourage many to laziness. But I also know that because of our taxes many who cannot buy food, eat and many who cannot afford medical help are treated. I believe one reason God blesses America is because her government and her churches and her charities reach out to help the poor.

2. IMMORALITY in the Home. (2:7)

Amos mentions sexual immorality in only one verse but that verse speaks volumes. He said, “A man and his father go in to the same maiden” (2:7). Hosea said of this same generation, “They are all adulterers, they are like a heated oven” (7:4). Isaiah called his land Sodom (1:10) because they do not even hide their sins (3:9). One man said, “They lost the capacity to blush.”

3. INTEMPERANCE in the Use of Alcohol. (2:8, 12; 4:1; 6:6)

Amos pictured the idle rich lying on soft beds drinking wine by the bowlfuls (6:6). They drink in the house of God (2:8) and tried to persuade God’s prophets to drink with them (2:12). The women, called fat cows by Amos, joined in the drinking matches and cried to their husbands, “Bring that we may drink” (4:1).

4. INSINCERITY in the House of God (5:21–24).

Injustice, immorality and intemperance filled the land. Isaiah summed up their philosophy, “Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die” (22:13). But the amazing thing was that these people who had turned from the ways of God had not turned away from the worship of God. The churches were filled. The people flooded to the three worship centers in Israel (5:4), not because they had to do it but because they loved it (4:5). Many even went the second mile and worshiped at the national shrine in Gilgal (5:5) to the South.
If there is any way America is like Israel, it is that our churches are filled with empty people. The easiest organization to join and belong to is a church. Almost nothing is required and usually that is what is given.
Eric Fromm in his book Will Man Prevail says we believe in God but we are not concerned with God. We do not worry or lose sleep over spiritual problems. We listen to sermons on honesty, justice, love and morality but these ideas have little influence over us.
Vance Packard in The Status Seekers adds that worship with people “of our own kind” gives us a warm sense of security, soothes our conscience and advertises our respectability.
The way Israel felt about church is the way most Americans feel about church.
Listen to Amos in 8:4,
Amos 8:4–5 (MEV)
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy to make the poor of the land fail,
5 saying, “When will the New Moon be over, so that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath, that we may open the wheat sales, making the ephah too small, and the shekel too heavy, cheating with dishonest scales,
Vance Havner calls this “clock eyed Baptists.” God told Israel He HATED, He DESPISED their religious services (Amos 5:21–24). Isaiah said God “cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly” (1:13).

THE PROMISE OF CHRISTMAS

The Book of Amos point to the permanent restoration of Israel.
Israel’s complete restoration and recovery of the land will only be fulfilled during the second advent of Christ the Messiah.
Amos 9:11–12 (KJV 1900)
11 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, And close up the breaches thereof; And I will raise up his ruins, And I will build it as in the days of old:
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, Which are called by my name, Saith the Lord that doeth this.
In that day speaks of the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ.
A Day of

Physical (National) Blessing:

A Day of Reestablishment.

Amos 9:8 KJV 1900
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; Saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the Lord.
The throne (tent of David will be reestablished in Israel.

A Day of Renewal.

Amos 9:12 KJV 1900
12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, Which are called by my name, Saith the Lord that doeth this.
The Nation of Israel will be the seat of universal government.

A Day of Rebuilding.

Amos 9:13–14 KJV 1900
13 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; And the mountains shall drop sweet wine, And all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, And they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; And they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; They shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
The Economy of Israel and all other nations will be rebuilt.

A Day of Recovery.

Amos 9:15 KJV 1900
15 And I will plant them upon their land, And they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, Saith the Lord thy God.
The Inheritance will be a reality for the Israelites.
Amos, like every true prophet, was not there to SCOLD the people but to SAVE them to give them HOPE.
Amos 5:14 KJV 1900
14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: And so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
However, before there can be hope in the flesh, there must be spiritual renewal, and before there can be a 2nd coming, there has to be a first coming.
What the prophets of the Old Testament missed is what the Apostles of the New Testament declared.

Spiritual Blessing:

Peter proclaimed in
Acts 2:36 KJV 1900
36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Paul proclaimed in
1 Corinthians 1:23 KJV 1900
23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Romans 10:9 KJV 1900
9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

The PROCLAMATION of Christmas!

Luke 2:11 KJV 1900
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
See, before there can be physical blessing there has to be spiritual surrender and submission.
What the law of the Old Testament could not produce The Prophets Proclaimed.
What the Priests of the Old Testament could not mediate The Prophets Proclaimed.
What the Kings of the Old Testament could not Mandate, the Prophets Proclaimed.
The Prophets proclaimed the flesh and the physical could never appease or please a holy God.
What the Prophets Proclaimed, the Angels Announced and the Apostles Declared.
We need a Savior.
We need someone that is perfect to step in and do what are incapable of doing.
Philippians 2:5–11 KJV 1900
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Have you discovered the Hope of Christmas?
You will never experience the Peace of Christmas or the Joy of Christmas until you grasp the Hope of Christmas.
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