Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Amos 2:1-5

1Thus says the LORD,
"For three transgressions of Moab and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because he burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime.
2"So I will send fire upon Moab
And it will consume the citadels of Kerioth;
And Moab will die amid tumult,
With war cries and the sound of a trumpet.
3"I will also cut off the judge from her midst
And slay all her princes with him," says the LORD.
4Thus says the LORD,
"For three transgressions of Judah and for four
I will not revoke its punishment,
Because they rejected the law of the LORD
And have not kept His statutes;
Their lies also have led them astray,
Those after which their fathers walked.
5"So I will send fire upon Judah
And it will consume the citadels of Jerusalem."

The last two enemies of Israel receiving judgment at this time through Amos are Moab and Judah.

We touched on Moab briefly last week, recalling that the nation formed as a result of the union between Lot and his oldest daughter. Moab is south of Israel, east of Judah and north of Edom, making the possibility for war amongst these nations a strong likelihood. II Kings 3 records an instance in which Moab--after years of paying tribute to the king of Israel--rebelled against the Northern Kingdom and its new king, Jehoram.

Jehoram decides to fight back, asking the king of Judah to join him. Because they chose to invade Moab via the southern route, the king of Edom was brought into the picture. It was the Lord's plan at that time that Moab suffer the loss at the hands of these armies, led by Israel. But Moab's attempt at "divine" intervention--with their king sacrificing his heir-to-the-throne son as a burnt offering to Moab's god Chemosh--did not succeed. The wrath of the nation against Israel burned and burned, bringing God's judgment upon them.

Kerioth, according to my study Bible, is either a capital city or a center of worship. As the Lord continues with His judgment, He will also subdue any figure of authority in Moab.

Amos then directs words to Judah. Unlike the nations mentioned thus far, Judah is not being condemned for its actions against other peoples.

"Because they rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept His statutes." (vs. 4)

Lest we think the aforementioned sins of the nations are somehow worse and more deserving of punishment, Judah's judgment reminds us that rejecting the law and statutes of the Lord is as rejecting the Lord Himself.

"The wise men are put to shame,
They are dismayed and caught;
Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD,
And what kind of wisdom do they have?"
--Jeremiah 8:9

Back in the day, by His grace, God appointed kings and judges to serve as earthly authority figures. In His heart of hearts, He truly wants all to see Him as the one and only authority. He gave us the law and commandments to follow because of our great human tendency for waywardness. But, these measures were time and again rejected, reworked for the peoples' pleasure or forgotten. His people turned to other gods, sought help from other misguided nations and, otherwise, forgot their first love.

"Also Judah did not keep the commandments of the LORD their God, but walked in the customs which Israel had introduced."
--II Kings 17:19

As Jeremiah asks, indeed, "what kind of wisdom do they have"? Given God's longterm promise of preserving a remnant of His people for Himself in Heaven, He could not stand by, letting His Name be disrespected. He sent fire upon Judah through His chosen executer of judgment, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon--some 175 years after Amos' words.

"'For I have set My face against this city for harm and not for good,' declares the LORD. 'It will be given into the hand of the king of Babylon and he will burn it with fire."'
--Jeremiah 21:10 (with the full story found in II Kings, chapters 24 and 25)

There is a lesson for us today, as well. Stiff-necked and prone to wandering, where do we stand in relationship to His law and statutes? Even though Jesus came to fulfill all the law and the prophets, are we bound to the Word of God? From where do we know wisdom?

"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction. ...For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding."
--Proverbs 1:7 & 2:6

Amos gets to his true calling. The judgment against Israel begins....'Til next Wednesday!


* * *

Next week: Amos 2:6-8

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).