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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Amos 4

Verses 1-13

  1. Intro:
    1. Ferdinand & Imelda Marcos(P.I. in 80’s) used their power to amassprivate wealth, siphoning foreign aid, loans, and the profits of domestic companies into secret Swiss bank accounts(suspected $20 billion).
      1. Imelda Marcos liked shoes. She had a special section of the presidential palace, comprising five separate rooms, which housed over 1,220 pairs of shoes.
      2. Imelda also left behind 500 gowns and 300 bras…1 was even bullet-proof.
      3. Imelda Marcos put the “enjoyment of her feet” above the “empty bellies of the children of the country” that looked to her for leadership.
      4. And so we have the rebuke of the women of Israel.
  2. LIVING IN LUXARY! (1-3)
    1. ​​​​​​​(1) These overindulged women of Israel, whom he sarcastically links to a “pampered, sleek, well-fed, & obviously ‘well-watered’ cows!” (“let us drink” or, “Bring me another drink!”)
      1. They grazed in the rich uplands of Bashan. (In TransJordan, near Galilee)
      2. And so these women had constant demand for comfort & luxury…had kept food & clothing from the poor.
        1. It took courage for Amos to call the wealthy women of Israel “cows”!
      3. This was also a breed known for strength & stubbornness(Meyer).
      4. Usually women are the final guardians of morals & standards.
    2. Husbands – A rare word for husbands, meaning lord/master.
      1. Amos scorned those husbands who were supposed to be “masters” but who in reality meekly obeyed like servants.
    3. Oppress & crush – Describe threats & physical harassments used to squeeze $ from the helpless.
    4. The Lord has sworn by His holiness! – adds tremendous weight to the message that follows.
      1. If Israel continues in sin, certain consequences are inevitable.
  3. DEVOTED TO DUTY! (4,5)
    1. ​​​​​​​It wasn’t just the women, but the whole nation was involved w/religiosity!
    2. Here was their “token nod” to God for delivering them from Egypt.
      1. I wonder what part of our “devotion” to God is only a token nod?
    3. “Come” – This was a spoof of a priest’s summons to pilgrims.
      1. “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.” (Ps.94:6)
    4. Bethel & Gilgal – Gilgal was Israel’s 1st campground after entering the promise land.
      1. They crossed over, now what? Conquer the land? No, build a monument!
        1. To celebrate the end of the wanderings & the beginning of a new life!
      2. So, Joshua set up the 12 stones from the river Jordan, in Gilgal.
        1. Don’t forget God’s provisions & guidance!
        2. BUT...don’t make that stone of remembrance a place of idolatry/worship!
    5. Q: How can we keep our worship from becoming empty ritual?
      1. Fresh prayer, spiritual awareness, free from distractions, heart right, focus mentally, choose to worship!
  4. DEAF TO DISCIPLINE! (6-11)
    1. ​​​​​​​Q: Recall a time when you wandered from God. What brought you back? (ask)
    2. God sent his warnings but they would not listen!
    3. “Yet you have not returned to me” is the sad refrain of this chapter.
      1. God’s disciplines are to bring about restoration & true repentance.
      2. Q: If God uses the method of “repetition” in regards to discipline, how can we do the same as parents?
        1. Discipline consistently for the goal of restoration!
        2. Do whatever we can to help them turn from their errant ways
      3. Q: Have you ever had to have been disciplined repeatedly?
    4. God used several means of discipline: famine, drought, crop disease, locusts, plagues, war, & local catastrophes…& the people still didn’t get it.
    5. (6) Famine!
      1. “Cleanness of teeth” – i.e. Nothing to chew on.
      2. But even in this, they would not repent!
    6. (7,8) Drought!
      1. But even in this, they would not repent!
    7. (9) Crop Disease, Mildew & Locusts! (re: their crops)
      1. The hot blasting wind of the Arabian desert blew relentlessly causing blight/disease.
      2. Parasitic worms brought mildew, a yellowing of the tips of green grain.
      3. But even in this, they would not repent!
    8. (10) Plagues & War!
      1. God took their best young men to die in war.
      2. As populations were crowded into walled cities or assembled into camps, contagious disease broke out & spread.
      3. But even in this, they would not repent!
    9. (11) Local Catastrophes!
      1. Finally God totally overthrew some of their cities w/fire.
      2. American Indian story – Picked up a brown leaf & placed a worm in it & said, “I am that worm”.
      3. But even in this, they would not repent!
    10. Q: What words would you use to describe each of the judgments the Lord brought on Israel? (Gracious, purposeful)
      1. Also note: In Deut. 28 you’ll notice similarities between the judgments here & there.
      2. Point being God’s judgments aren’t arbitrary, but He has spelled out the curses for disobedience & the blessings for obedience.
      3. Thus Amos wasn’t announcing something new, but simply enforcing God’s existing covenant.
    11. They had met w/God’s disciplines…but now they were going to meet God Himself!
      1. No more natural calamities, now he would come Himself.
  5. MEET YOUR MAKER! (12-13)
    1. ​​​​​​​(12) There are no more joyous words; nor more awful words then this in scripture “Prepare to meet your maker”!
      1. Joyous – to those who long for the day! Awful – to those who dread it.
      2. Q: In light of this chapter, what kind of meeting could Israel expect?
      3. In 1741 Jonathon Edwards preached his famous sermon: “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”
        1. With the use of vivid imagery he concluded his message with “Therefore, let every one that is out of Christ now awake & fly from the wrath to come!”
        2. God used that sermon to bring a powerful awakening to the town of Enfield, in New England.
      4. Q: Are you prepared to meet your maker?
        1. (LXX) “call upon your God”
    2. (13) This chapter closes with a hymn describing the God Israel would meet.
      1. Q: What do we learn about God in this verse?
        1. He is creator, communicator, hater of idolatry, & “commander of all forces in heaven”.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Amos 4". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/amos-4.html. 2017.