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God Speaks: Amos - Burdened Love

God Speaks  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  36:09
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Greeting
Today in our study of the Minor prophets in the OT, we look at Amos. Amos is one of those books that we read and we are left wondering how does that fit with Jesus? It’s a hard message Amos is given.
Amos is one of those books that we read and we are left wondering how does that fit with Jesus?
Here this from Amos 2
Amos 2:13–16 NIV
13 “Now then, I will crush you as a cart crushes when loaded with grain. 14 The swift will not escape, the strong will not muster their strength, and the warrior will not save his life. 15 The archer will not stand his ground, the fleet-footed soldier will not get away, and the horseman will not save his life. 16 Even the bravest warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the Lord.
And again from Amos 4
Amos 4:4–5 NIV
4 “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. 5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
There’s more.... but first, let’s pray.
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Pray
Amos 2:
Amos 4:1–5 NIV
1 Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” 2 The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness: “The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. 3 You will each go straight out through breaches in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon,” declares the Lord. 4 “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. 5 Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings— boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
Lord Jesus, as we study your scriptures, use your words today to encourage me or to challenge me; amen.
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Sometimes bad news comes as a total shock… My crashing into the 280Z
But those times are rare… usually you should have known...
Have you ever had to deliver bad news? Picture this, you are inside you apartment enjoying some time with friends. Actually you are pretty excited to have your boyfriend… a true dreamboat come over and hopefully take you out on the town. You hear some commotion outside, but can’t imagine it’s anything important....nothing exciting happens around here anyway
...Getting fired… late again then over sleeping...
When a loved one gets ill
...I remember when my dad told me he and my mom were separating.
It’s true sometimes bad news comes out of the blue… but usually, bad news can be predicted if we were paying attention.
And that’s what makes it so bad, you should have known… or you did know and just ignored the signs.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we had some warning lights? Some gauges on our dashboard that would indicate when bad news was coming?
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Amos
Minor Prophets play a significant role in God’s message to his people. These are short books in the Old Testament that contain warnings of coming judgement and salvation for God’s people.
These minor prophets were charged with a big message, God’s love. You could summarize God’s intent in these books, just like the whole of scripture as God saying… I LOVE YOU!
Today we look at Amos. We don’t know much about him. We do know he was from Tekoa, about 6 miles south of Jerusalem in the nation of Judah. We know Amos was one of the first of the prophets of God. Sometime around 760-755 BC. It’s believed his ministry was only about one year. We aren’t sure of the details, but it’s believed he was a rancher or farmer of some influence. He left Judah and went to Samaria, the capital of Israel.
Amos was one of the first of the prophets of God. It’s believe his ministry was only about one year. Sometime around 760-755 BC. We aren’t sure of the details, but it’s believed he was a rancher or farmer of some influence. He left Judah and went to Samaria, the capital of Israel.
I titled today’s message “Burdened Love” because that’s what his name means, “burden” or “to burden”.
You see at this time in Israel, things were going well. During the reign of Jeroboam, we know that Israel was blessed. Their enemies Egypt and Syria had internal problems keeping them focused on domestic affairs rather than causing problems for Israel. This followed the rule of Solomon.
The people were enjoying affluence, eating their meat and drinking their wines while listening to new music. The women are preoccupied with drink, putting demands on their husbands to keep their liquor cabinets stocked. New homes with expensive ivory decorations are being build, some people have additional summer and winter homes as well. Business is booming. Worship attendance is good. Sacrifices and offerings are rolling in.
The people feel secure in Samaria. They are proud of their city and their nation. They had an “Israel is number 1” mentality.
You might say it was a lot like the US today… at least in the sense that their material wealth was greater than the other nations at the time.
Into this, walks Amos, the rancher. Amos, the burden. His burden you might say is a message from God. what else would cause him to leave his country and travel to Israel. What would cause him to become a bearer of bad news?
He wrote in verse 2 that it was the voice of the Lord like the roar of a lion that sent him… Not a quiet whisper, not a quiet urging, not a dream, but the roar of a lion.
Don’t shoot the messenger.
Out of towner telling the truth
And at first his words are well received. He begins in Chapter 1 &2 with proclamations against the nations surrounding Israel.
Damascus - brutality
Gaza - sale of captives
Tyre - slave trading
Edom - hostile toward Israel (Jacob and Esau)
Ammon - Attack on Gilead
Moab - war w Edom
Amos even declares judgement against Judah saying that they had been deceived.
We can imagine that the people of Samaria would be in agreement here… yea you tell em. You are right!
Then he turns his focus to Israel for their willful disobedience.
Israel - willful disobedience
They knew what to do.... and refused to do it
and to Israel, God proclaims
Amos 3:1–2 NIV
1 Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the Lord has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: 2 “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.”
He goes on.
Amos 4:12 NIV
12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.”
Ever hear that? Go to your room, and wait for your father to get home.
Amos is declaring that the end is coming… not the “day of the lord” they are hoping for, but rather a “day of judgement”. In fact this would happen within the next 40 years through the hand of the Assyrians. The Israelites would be conquered and scattered never to be restored.
What is it that they have done that would bring about such judgement?
In the passages I read at the beginning, he said… go ahead… sin all you want… then come back and make your grand offerings.
They live one way and worship another… this is an offense to God.
*Worship of God is to be an extension of how we live.
What exactly did they do? Amos describes what he is seeing as he travels through the country side and the city.
Here’s one description:
Amos 5:11–13 NIV
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts. 13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.
Amos 5:11
There was a culture of taking advantage of the poor… In other passages Amos describes them as laying on the coats taken as security for loans to the poor.
When we think of poverty, we usually think of it as an object of charity. We are to be charitable toward the poor.
I’m not diminishing charity. One of the most significant ministries I’ve ever been a part of was focused on meeting the needs of the poor.
at the minimum you would say it was ignoring the needs of the people around them.
I remember one year taking my son on Christmas Eve to Baltimore. We were part of a ministry that distributed winter clothing and food on Christmas eve to the homeless in the city. I remember meeting a young dad who was in one of the emergency shelters while his wife and children were in a different shelter on the other side of town. I couldn’t imagine being away from my family on Christmas. I was glad to share that with my son.
Doing good things makes you feel good, there is no doubt about it, but to God helping those in need is about much more.
In Scripture, our treatment of the poor isn’t about being charitable. It’s a justice issue.
When I say justice, we think of a court of law right. People getting what they deserve. And that’s exactly right.
What is it that the poor deserve? What is it that they are owed? Love and compassion.
All throughout Scripture, we hear God’s heart towards the poor and those in need: “When you were in bondage in Egypt, I heard your cries.”
“But a new commandment I give you, Love one another”
“Blessed are the poor”, “The meek shall inherit the earth”,
Psalm 12:5 NIV
5 “Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
Psalm 12
The Israelites knew this. They knew that as the people of God they were to be about God’s business… but
It’s not the response of the people from Israel or Judah; look at what Amos observed:
at the minimum you would say it was ignoring the needs of the people around them.
In fact, chapter 6 goes on to paint a picture of the leaders of both Judah and Jerusalem in their wealth and comfort
Amos 6:4–6 NIV
4 You lie on beds adorned with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. 5 You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments. 6 You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
Amos 6:4-7
Not only did they take advantage of the poor, cheat them in the market, steal from them in taxes.... but they didn’t even have remorse for them.
The poor, those in need have always been near to the heart of God and the Israelites had been saved to be God's people… the object of his blessing, that they might be a blessing to the world. Yet here they were, ignoring those they were charged with blessing.
And because their lives were a injustice, their worship was unacceptable as well. Even more, it was offensive to God, therefore he was about to bring judgement on the land.
So you see, they weren’t tending to justice and because of that, judgement was coming.
Amos 8:11–12 NIV
11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “when I will send a famine through the land— not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. 12 People will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.
Amos 8
Amos wants the people to hear, and repent. To worship with honest hearts. He’s not a professional, but God’s message is clear. Judgement is coming if you don’t wake up to the call of God to live as his children.
In Chapter 7, God gives Amos a vision of ways God was preparing to bring final - ultimate judgement on Israel, every time he relents. He relents each time in the vision because Amos steps in as their advocate.
Amos 7:1–6 NIV
1 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up. 2 When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” 3 So the Lord relented. “This will not happen,” the Lord said. 4 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. 5 Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” 6 So the Lord relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign Lord said.
Then in verse 7 he explains why. That his destruction is because their lives, their worship is out of line with his design.
Then in verse 7 he explains why. That his destruction is because their lives, their worship is out of line with his design.
Amos… not a professional prophet… but he was burdened to go and preach, to call people back to God. To warn them of the coming destruction, and the way which it can be avoided.
Amos… not a professional prophet… felt a burden to go and preach, to call people back to God. To warn them of the coming destruction, and the way which it can be avoided.

God has a burden to Love.

Amos isn’t the only one with a burden. God has a burden as well, a burden for the poor, for the foreigner, for the outcast, for the downtrodden. God has a burden for the tired, the sick. God has a burden for the widow and the orphan. God has a burden for the lost.

God stirs up love and compassion

The Israelites only had the law to tell them to show love and compassion… what it revealed was that they didn’t love or have compassion.
Without God’s help, we are left to doing good for us or because we have to… both wrong reasons. God sent the the Holy Spirit to give us proper motivation.
I spoke earlier of needing some gauges on our spiritual dashboard. The Holy Spirit will do that.
I spoke earlier of needing some gauges on our spiritual dashboard. The Holy Spirit will do that.

The Holy Spirit calls and equips disciples to love and compassion

We think of the Holy Spirit equipping us to live the life of a Christian, and that’s right, and part of that equipping is stirring up our hearts to love and compassion. You may not feel it, but you can ask God to give it to you… the Holy Spirit will burden you.
Minister to kids, tutoring program.... help them break the cycle not understanding
Minister to a widow in our Ageless Wonders
Many kids in our community have pretty dysfunctional homes, parents not knowing how to be parents… kids who are orphaned right in their homes. Maybe God is stirring your heart to minister to them, come and eat with them on Wednesday night.
Maybe the Holy Spirit is stirring you up to stir others. Maybe God is telling you that people need to know this… someone has to tell them… is it me?
Come and join us today as a first responder as we build an evangelism team of people who feel God calling them to stir others up to love and good works.
Ask the Holy Spirit to show you today as we pray.
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THE GREAT THANKSGIVING

The Lord be with you.And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.It is right to give our thanks and praise.
L: It is right, and a good and joyful thing,
L:     Always and everywhere to give thanks to you,
L:     Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
L: And so,
L:     With your people on earth
L:     And all the company of heaven
L:     We praise your name and join their unending hymn:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,Heaven and earth are full of your glory.Hosanna in the highest.Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.Hosanna in the highest.
L: Holy are you, and blessed is your Son Jesus Christ.
L: By the baptism of his suffering, death, and resurrection
L:     You gave birth to your church,
L:     Delivered us from slavery to sin and death,
L:     And made with us a new covenant
L:     By water and the Spirit.
[Words appropriate to the day, season, or occasion may be added at these points].
L: On the night in which he gave himself up for us,
L:     He took bread, gave thanks to you, broke the bread,
L:     Gave it to his disciples, and said:
L: "Take, eat; this is my body which is given for you.
L: Do this is remembrance of me."
L: When the supper was over, he took the cup,
L:     Gave thanks to you, gave it to his disciples, and said:
L: "Drink from this, all of you;
L:     This is my blood of the new covenant,
L:     Poured out for you and for many
L:     For the forgiveness of sins.
L: Do this, as often as you drink it,
L:     In remembrance of me."
L: And so,
L: In remembrance of these your mighty acts in Jesus Christ,
L: We offer ourselves in praise and thanksgiving
L:     As a holy and living sacrifice,
L:     In union with Christ's offering for us,
L: As we proclaim the mystery of faith.
Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again.
L: Pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here,
L:     And on these gifts of bread and wine.
L: Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ,
L: That we may be for the world the body of Christ,
L:     Redeemed by his blood.
L: By your Spirit make us one with Christ,
L:     One with each other,
L:     And one in ministry to all the world,
L: Until Christ comes in final victory
L:     And we feast at his heavenly banquet.
L: Through your Son Jesus Christ,
L: With the Holy Spirit in your holy church,
L: All honor and glory is yours, almighty Father,
L: Now and for ever.
ALL:  Amen.
L: And now, with the confidence of children of God, let us pray:
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