Amos 4 & Psalm 148-150

Amos

Chapter 3

    “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan,
        who are on the mountain of Samaria,
    who oppress the poor, who crush the needy,
        who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’
    The Lord GOD has sworn by his holiness
        that, behold, the days are coming upon you,
    when they shall take you away with hooks,
        even the last of you with fishhooks.
    And you shall go out through the breaches,
        each one straight ahead;
        and you shall be cast out into Harmon,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “Come to Bethel, and transgress;
        to Gilgal, and multiply transgression;
    bring your sacrifices every morning,
        your tithes every three days;
    offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened,
        and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them;
        for so you love to do, O people of Israel!”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the Lord GOD.
    
    
        “I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities,
        and lack of bread in all your places,
    yet you did not return to me,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “I also withheld the rain from you
        when there were yet three months to the harvest;
    I would send rain on one city,
        and send no rain on another city;
    one field would have rain,
        and the field on which it did not rain would wither;
    so two or three cities would wander to another city
        to drink water, and would not be satisfied;
    yet you did not return to me,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “I struck you with blight and mildew;
        your many gardens and your vineyards,
        your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured;
    yet you did not return to me,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt;
        I killed your young men with the sword,
    and carried away your horses,
        and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils;
    yet you did not return to me,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “I overthrew some of you,
        as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah,
        and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning;
    yet you did not return to me,”
                                                                                                                                                                    declares the LORD.
    
    
    “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel;
        because I will do this to you,
        prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”
    
    
    For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind,
        and declares to man what is his thought,
    who makes the morning darkness,
        and treads on the heights of the earth—
        the LORD, the God of hosts, is his name!

(Amos 4 ESV)


Psalm

Chapter 148

    Praise the LORD!
    Praise the LORD from the heavens;
        praise him in the heights!
    Praise him, all his angels;
        praise him, all his hosts!
    
    
    Praise him, sun and moon,
        praise him, all you shining stars!
    Praise him, you highest heavens,
        and you waters above the heavens!
    
    
    Let them praise the name of the LORD!
        For he commanded and they were created.
    And he established them forever and ever;
        he gave a decree, and it shall not pass away.
    
    
    Praise the LORD from the earth,
        you great sea creatures and all deeps,
    fire and hail, snow and mist,
        stormy wind fulfilling his word!
    
    
    Mountains and all hills,
        fruit trees and all cedars!
    Beasts and all livestock,
        creeping things and flying birds!
    
    
    Kings of the earth and all peoples,
        princes and all rulers of the earth!
    Young men and maidens together,
        old men and children!
    
    
    Let them praise the name of the LORD,
        for his name alone is exalted;
        his majesty is above earth and heaven.
    He has raised up a horn for his people,
        praise for all his saints,
        for the people of Israel who are near to him.
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 148 ESV)


Psalm

Chapter 149

    Praise the LORD!
    Sing to the LORD a new song,
        his praise in the assembly of the godly!
    Let Israel be glad in his Maker;
        let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!
    Let them praise his name with dancing,
        making melody to him with tambourine and lyre!
    For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
        he adorns the humble with salvation.
    Let the godly exult in glory;
        let them sing for joy on their beds.
    Let the high praises of God be in their throats
        and two-edged swords in their hands,
    to execute vengeance on the nations
        and punishments on the peoples,
    to bind their kings with chains
        and their nobles with fetters of iron,
    to execute on them the judgment written!
        This is honor for all his godly ones.
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 149 ESV)


Psalm

Chapter 150

    Praise the LORD!
    Praise God in his sanctuary;
        praise him in his mighty heavens!
    Praise him for his mighty deeds;
        praise him according to his excellent greatness!
    
    
    Praise him with trumpet sound;
        praise him with lute and harp!
    Praise him with tambourine and dance;
        praise him with strings and pipe!
    Praise him with sounding cymbals;
        praise him with loud clashing cymbals!
    Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 150 ESV)

For the Love of God

D.A. Carson

 

IN SOME WAYS AMOS 4 follows on very naturally from Amos 3. God has said that the warnings of the prophets are linked with real dangers (3:7-8). Now he highlights some of the sins that have evoked his warnings (4:1-5) and explains some of the warnings themselves and what they mean for the future if they are not taken to heart (4:6-13).

(1) The first warning is to the wealthy women of Israel (4:1-3), derogatorily described as “cows of Bashan” — proverbial for being well-fed, fat, and lazy, rather than lean and tough. These women have used their wealth and position to “oppress the poor and crush the needy” (4:1). The one-line vignette is devastating: they say to their husbands, “Bring us some drinks!” (4:1). This conjures up a picture of spoiled matrons, peremptory, decadent, interested only in being served and never in serving, lording it over their husbands, swilling down their boredoms in booze. So the Sovereign Lord swears “by his holiness” (4:2), which is akin to saying that he swears by himself, and thus by that which is immutable and than which there is nothing and no one greater. He swears that he will drag them away with hooks and chains into captivity, humiliated and degraded, in pain amid the rubble of their city (4:2-3).

(2) In the last half of the preceding chapter (3:9-15), God hammered away at three disgusting features of national life: social oppression, self-indulgence, and corrupt religion. The first two are enlarged upon in the first three verses of chapter 4, as we have just seen. The third, corrupt religion, is now treated with fine prophetic scorn (4:4-5). “Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more” — the equivalent of saying, “Go to Canterbury and sin; go to Baptist headquarters and sin yet more.” (Fill in your own denominational mecca!) The place where, historically, Israel faithfully offered stipulated sacrifices (before the temple took precedence) are still places of sacrifice, but are now characterized by fine aesthetics, religious enthusiasm, and lots of bragging. Where are contrition and the broken spirit (cf. Ps. 51:17)?

(3) In the following verses (4:6-13) God reviews some of the temporal judgments he has imposed on the people at various times as warnings of much greater judgment to come. These warnings proved ineffective: witness the dreadful refrain, “‘[Y]et you have not returned to me,’ declares the LORD” (4:8, 9, 10, 11). Therefore the God of Israel will meet them (4:12) — he will meet them, all right, not in the glory of theophany but in the terror of judgment.