Thursday, December 15, 2011

Book of Amos, I will send a fire

Amos 1-9
Amos continues God's rant against everyone that has done him wrong.  Get it all out LORD, you don't want to have a stroke.

Amos does give us a theme to make the reading easier.

Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of <insert evil people here>, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because <fill in transgression here>...
But I will send a fire upon <insert transgressor here>...

This one line is the smoking gun I've been looking for.
3:2 You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.
Ever since the story of Noah, I've wondered why God seems to be stalking and terrorizing a very small, specific group of people.  After all the VAST majority of the world's population could care less about this god, most have never heard of him.  He only has power to hurt you if you believe he exists.
As people left to start out on their own, why didn't God smite the hell out of them as a lesson?
I truly would love to hear an answer.

Chapter 4 just highlights how clueless God is when he wonders why his people no longer worship him, even after he's starved them, killed their young men and brought drought and floods to the land.

Still, Amos/God continue spewing the same doom and gloom as the others have.

The last part of the book gives us Amos' origin story.  He is warned not to go into the prophet biz but God insists.

God uses props to help Amos understand.  A plumbline and basket of fruit.

He also will cause a famine of himself.
8:11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
8:12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

I'm guessing that if Israel doesn't care about him now, having him disappear isn't going to bother them much.  They'd probably enjoy a reprieve from the killing.

We end the book with God again promising to destroy all but a few of his special people.
He then makes a promise, that Israel "shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them". 
Only took him 2500 years to keep that promise and even now, Israel is under constant threat from it's neighbors.

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1 comment:

  1. A bit late but Amos is an interesting book and one that appeals to the social justice Christians.

    A few things to note, the three trangressions nay four starts out with Israel's enemies: Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah (which was a separate kingdom at that time). One can imagine his hearers liking what he is saying while all their enemies are doomed by God then he goes after Israel. Some of the sins of Israel sound very familiar:

    They sell the innocent for silver,
    and the needy for a pair of sandals.
    7 They trample on the heads of the poor
    as on the dust of the ground
    and deny justice to the oppressed.
    Father and son use the same girl
    and so profane my holy name.
    8 They lie down beside every altar
    on garments taken in pledge.
    In the house of their god
    they drink wine taken as fines.

    Other than the father and son having sex with the same woman, all are similar to things happening in the US today.