This is our 2nd of 3 sermons on Amos, this week looking at Amos 3-6: We live in a media-saturated world and advertisers spend lots of money and effort to get the consumers attention. One way in which new businesses try and get attention is by hiring a sign spinner. This is a person who holds a sign with a company's name and logo emblazoned on it. But what makes them worthy of attention is that instead of just standing there, some spin the signs acrobatically. With sign spinners, people are attracted by what they see and it catches their eye.
In our passage today, Amos continues God's word of judgment against His people and shows how God has been trying to their attention.
Amos 3:1-2 declares the main reason that God sent Amos. "You only have I chosen of all the clans of the earth. Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities." Israel was God's chosen people! They weren't chosen because of how special they were but they were special because of God's grace. (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). But also because they were God's people, God expected more from them and it is in love that God disciplines (Hebrews 12:7-11). God wanted to them to be aware of their sin.
1) There are two main reasons why God was trying to get their attention:
a) social injustice and prideful self-centeredness - Amos not only accuses the people of oppressing the powerless, crushing the poor and turning justice into poison. (Amos 4:1, 5:7, 5:10, 5:12, 6:12) but they are also prideful and self-seeking (Amos 6:4-7, 6:8, 6:13)
b) false worship - the nation of Israel did not worship at the temple in Jerusalem (since that was in Judah) but instead had set up a place of worship in Bethel. Even though this was not the place where God had ordained worship, the people did it anyway and brought the ceremony and ritual of worship but not the obedience, respect or integrity it deserved. (Amos 4:4, Amos 5:21)
The people of Israel had wealth and power but did not bless others with it. Instead they used it to oppress others and dishonor God. Because God was angry about these things, He tried to get their attention.
2) How did God try to get Israel's attention?
a) God sent a prophet - (Amos 3:6) A prophet is a person specifically sent by God to proclaim His words and to call the people to return to God and His ways.
b) God sent natural disasters (Amos 4:6) God affirmed that He sent famine and drought, plague and locusts to try and get their attention.
c) God sent defeat and failure (Amos 5:3, 6:14) God declared that the nation would be defeated in battle.
3) What was the response God was looking for?
a) Return/repentance - even though God sent all of those things, they did not return to God (Amos 4:6-10).
b) Justice - Justice is the expected response of God's people to what God has done for them. (Amos 5:23) How can we be advocates for the poor and oppressed? How can we pray? How can we give? How can we help?
b) God wanted them to seek Him (Amos 5:4, 5:6, 5:14) - We seek God when we set aside time to hear His voice, to pray and listen. We seek God when we ask for the courage to follow His way and to take the action He is leading us towards.
Has God been trying to get your attention lately? Have you been facing obstacles and frustrations? Instead of being angry with God, maybe this is a hint that God is trying to get your attention. What may God be trying to tell you?
Take some time to get alone with God, meditate on Scripture and pray. Seek to hear His voice. As you examine your life, one of the things that God wants to remind you is that in Christ, you are loved and forgiven. In this hope and promise we are called to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness."