PODCAST: The Scripture & the Sense Podcast #399 (with Daniel Whyte III)

This is Daniel Whyte III with The Scripture & The Sense Podcast #399, where I read the Word of God and give the sense of it based on an authoritative commentary source such as the Bible Knowledge Commentary. This podcast is based upon Nehemiah 8:8 where it says Ezra and the Levites “read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” The aim of this podcast is that through the simple reading of the Word of God and the giving of the sense of it, the church would be revived and the world would be awakened.

Today we are reading Amos 1:2.

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.

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That was Amos 1:2. Now here is the sense of it.

The FaithLife Study Bible reads:

Amos was not a professional prophet and did not come from a prophetic background. He was a shepherd and likely was the owner of his flock, not merely a hired hand. He also tended sycamore figs. Little else is known about him.

The book of Amos can be divided into three sections. The first briefly introduces the prophet and conveys eight messages of judgment, each introduced with a phrase stating the words belong to Yahweh. The first six messages condemn foreign nations for injustice and oppression. The seventh tells of judgment against Judah for rejecting God’s law, while the eighth message—the longest—takes aim at Israel. The kingdom is judged for injustice, sexual immorality, and rejection of God’s guidance, including a rejection of his prophets.

The second section includes three messages of judgment introduced by a command to hear this word. These messages are all directed at the northern kingdom of Israel. Amos accuses them of oppressing the poor and worshiping improperly, especially at the wrong place—Bethel, rather than Yahweh’s ordained place of Jerusalem in Judah. King Jeroboam II of Israel, and most of the kings of Israel before him, encouraged worship of Yahweh at Bethel rather than Jerusalem—this politically motivated decision was tantamount to heresy. But despite the words of rebuke and discipline, Israel refused to turn back to God.

The third section of Amos presents three visions of the judgment that awaits Israel. Between the first and second visions, a brief narrative episode tells of a priest from Bethel who attempts to stop Amos from prophesying in Israel. Here, we see the pitiful effects of the disunity among God’s people, created from selfish ambition and spurred by the separation of worship sites. The third vision tells of what will come after judgment.

Amos focuses on God’s concern for justice. The nations surrounding Israel are judged and will suffer for their oppressive actions. However, contrary to what the Israelites might have expected, their position as God’s chosen people will not protect them from disaster. In fact, their relationship with God sets a higher standard for them. If they persist in their injustice, they will suffer just like the other nations.

Amos also critiques the people of Israel for improper worship. Their rituals are worthless if the worshipers do not also seek justice. In addition, Israel’s worship involves improper sacrifices (such as leavened bread) being offered at improper worship sites (such as Bethel and Gilgal). Amos’ warnings of judgment do not merely proclaim disaster; they also invite repentance.

The message of Amos is a call to reflect on our interactions with other people. Regardless of our place in the world, all of us enjoy some degree of privilege over others, and we need God to help us recognize how our attitudes and behaviors might be unfair, unjust, or even oppressive. Without committed action that advances God’s justice, anything we do to worship Him will amount to an empty ritual. But when we turn to God in repentance and seek His ways, we will encounter His transforming presence dwelling among us. This is the promise in the closing images of Amos: God will lift up His people and give them a beautiful and fruitful future.

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Thank you for listening to the Scripture & The Sense Podcast. Remember to read the Word of God each and every day and pray without ceasing to God for wisdom to understand it and apply it to your life. Most importantly, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. Please stay tuned for a complete presentation of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ so that you can get your soul saved from Hell to that wonderful place called Heaven when you die. May God bless you and keep you is my prayer.