Wednesday 30 June 2010

Bible Book:

who can but prophesy?" (v.8)

Amos 3:1-12 Wednesday 30 June 2010


If you have read the earlier passages this week you will, bynow, be familiar with the tone of this lengthy passage from thebook of Amos. Once again it is addressed to Israel, the northernkingdom centred on Mount Gerizim (here called Samaria) - "thepeople of Israel who live in Samaria". And once again, though nowthe tone is more urgent, the warning to Israel is of impendingdoom. Israel will be "punished for all her iniquities". All thesigns pointed towards this inevitable consequence for those who "donot know how to do right" and "who store up violence and robbery intheir strongholds". An additional reason for Israel's punishmentthough is its unique status amongst "all the families of theearth". As a people 'known by God' Israel should have known betterhow to live.

Amos uses a whole array of metaphors linking sign and significancein verses 3 to 8. What was happening was all too obvious to thosewatching from Judea. God had spoken a warning through the eventsthat had befallen Israel. And as things went wrong within, Israel'senemies were gathering on the borders, ready to exploit thenation's vulnerability. The might of Assyria was gathering, andthose who knew Assyria's reputation knew that there would be littleleft of Israel to rescue - just "the corner of a couch and part ofa bed". As useless as two legs and a scrap of a sheep's ear after apredator has feasted. The lion of Assyria was the servant of theLion of Judah. Thus says the Lord.

To Ponder

Corrupt nations tend to collapse (there are manyexamples from history) - but not always. How do you explainthat?

Do you think God's judgment is more severe forthose 'who should have known better'? Why?

Do you think that God uses the violence of othersto do God's will?

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