PODCAST: The Scripture & the Sense Podcast #401 (with Daniel Whyte III)

This is Daniel Whyte III with The Scripture & The Sense Podcast #401, 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 Bible Knowledge Commentary reads:

Amos’ theme is that Israel and the other nations were about to be violently judged for their sins. He pictured the Lord as a lion who had roared and begun His attack. A lion’s terrifying roar paralyzes its victim with fear, making it helpless before the lion’s charge. Then the pounce, the tearing, and death are inevitable. God’s roar would have a similar paralyzing and withering effect. As the reverberating sound advanced from Zion, that is, Jerusalem against the nations, it would shrivel and scorch the earth. To the south, the pastures near Bethlehem would dry up as the terrifying roar passed through Judah and continued toward Gaza, Edom, and Moab. Northward, the fertile south and west slopes of Mount Carmel—some of Israel’s choicest farmland—would wither and die as the heat wave of God’s wrath moved on to engulf Damascus, Tyre, and Ammon. Everywhere the sound passed, moisture would evaporate, the land would turn brown, and drought would crack the earth. With pastures dried up, sheep would die and shepherds would suffer economic loss. And with crops withered farmers would face severe hardships.

The picture of drought suggests the reason for the Lord’s angry roar—the nations had violated their covenants with God. The treaty or covenant between a suzerain lord and a vassal people was common in Near Eastern societies. In exchange for the suzerain’s protection and provision, the vassal would pledge loyalty and obedience. The terms of the covenant, spelled out and mutually agreed on, were binding on both parties. Failure of the vassals to abide by the terms would cause the curses or punishments written in the treaty to descend on them. The curse of drought appears frequently as a punishment for covenant disobedience.

Those who heard Amos’ words would understand that the sovereign Lord of the universe was about to judge them for their covenant violations. The Northern tribes of Israel in particular would perceive this charge of covenant rebellion as they heard that the Lord’s roar was originating from Zion, that central holy abode from which they had revolted.

The Lord’s roar was first against seven nations surrounding Israel, then against Israel herself. A murmur of approval might have rippled among Amos’ hearers as they heard the denunciation of Aram and Philistia, Israel’s historic and bitter enemies. But when the focus shifted to Tyre, a sometime ally, then in turn to Edom, Ammon, and Moab, blood relatives of Israel, the encircling review might have seemed “a noose of judgment about to tighten round their throats”. With the mention finally of Judah (2:4–5), Israel’s own “brother,” the conclusion was inescapable—God’s judgment would be impartial. For the locations of these and other places in Amos see the map “Israel and Surrounding Nations in the Days of the Prophets,” between Song of Songs and Isaiah.

For each nation the pronouncement of doom follows the same pattern: (a) a general declaration of irrevocable judgment, (b) a naming of the specific violation which caused the judgment, and (c) a description of God’s direct and thorough punishment.

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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.