28 May 2014Amos 3:1-15
"The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken; who can but prophesy?" (v. 8)
If you have read the earlier passages this week you will, by
now, be familiar with the tone of this lengthy passage from the
book of Amos. Once again it is addressed to Israel, the northern
kingdom centred on Mount Gerizim (here called Samaria) - "the
people of Israel who live in Samaria". And once again, though now
the tone is more urgent, the warning to Israel is of impending
doom. Israel will be "punished for all her iniquities". All the
signs pointed towards this inevitable consequence for those who "do
not know how to do right" and "who store up violence and robbery in
their strongholds". An additional reason for Israel's punishment
though is its unique status amongst "all the families of the
earth". As a people 'known by God' Israel should have known better
how to live.
Amos uses a whole array of metaphors linking sign and significance in verses 3 to 8. What was happening was all too obvious to those watching from Judea. God had spoken a warning through the events that had befallen Israel. And as things went wrong within, Israel's enemies were gathering on the borders, ready to exploit the nation's vulnerability. The might of Assyria was gathering, and those who knew Assyria's reputation knew that there would be little left of Israel to rescue - just "the corner of a couch and part of a bed". As useless as two legs and a scrap of a sheep's ear after a predator has feasted. The lion of Assyria was the servant of the Lion of Judah. Thus says the Lord.
- Corrupt nations tend to collapse (there are many examples from history) - but not always. How do you explain that?
- Do you think God's judgement is more severe for those 'who should have known better'? Why?
- Do you think that God uses the violence of others to do God's will?