Exhortation for 23/11/03 - Reading Amos 3 - Bro Neville C 2003年十一月三日讲道词 读经：阿摩司书第三章 纳维尔.克弟兄
预言被整齐地分为几部分： * 八个审判，从1：3开始 * 三个审判的信息，从3：1开始 * 两次哀号，从5：18开始 * 五个异象，从7：1开始
狮子若非抓食，会在林中咆哮吗？不，否则就会吓跑猎物！ 少壮狮子若无所得，会从洞中发声吗？不，它只在征服猎物以后吼叫！ 若没有机关，雀鸟会陷在网罗里吗？当然不会！ 网罗若无所得，会从地上翻起吗？不会！ 城中若吹角，百姓会不惊恐吗？不，那意味着战争！ 灾祸若临到一城，会不是耶和华所降的吗？不，灾祸是审判的表现（比邪恶更加严重）。神将施行审判！
在我们将注意力转移到当前的饼和酒时，我们想到了主耶稣基督的榜样。他为我们显出了自己的生命，从而我们得以脱离罪和死的束缚，出埃及。 像以色列人一样，他是被从埃及召出来的神的儿子（马太福音2：15）。 他的一生完美的顺服了神：“我与父原为一”（约翰福音10：30）。 在他的一生中，被邪恶和不虔敬的人审判，他们宣布“我查不出他有什么罪来”（约翰福音19：4）。 当他回来的时候，将会终止从一开始就搅乱世界的暴力，压迫，背教的行为和唯物主义。希望那天我们可以与他同在，成为听到预言的奥秘，以色列家剩余的敬虔的人。
Exhortation for 23/11/03 - Reading Amos 3 - Bro Neville Clark
Dear Brothers and Sisters
In the middle portion of our daily readings, we have just begun the section of Scripture known as the Minor Prophets. This section comprises the twelve minor prophecies, beginning with Hosea and concluding with Malachi at the end of the Old Testament. This morning, by way of exhortation, we shall consider a section of the prophecy of Amos, one of the lesser-known prophecies of the twelve. The reading for today is Amos chapter 3 and it is this chapter we will use as a stepping-stone to the emblems before us.
Amos prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel - not to the whole nation of Israel but to the kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes living north of Jerusalem. The name "Amos" means "burdensome" which is exactly what his words were going to be. His message would be a blunt, stern indictment. His object was to wake the kingdom up and to make them confront their unspiritual lives.
Chapter 1:1 tells us that Amos was a herdman. That means he was a shepherd. He was from Tekoa (1:1), a little country town about 10 miles south of Jerusalem - which is interesting because his prophetic work was to the northern kingdom of Israel. Tekoa was in the southern kingdom of Judah. So Amos would speak to the northern kingdom in a somewhat detached manner, not associated at all with the sins that were committed there, but bringing a distant judgement from God.
Chapter 1:1 also tells us that Amos began his ministry during "the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam, the son of Joash king of Israel". This was about the year 760BC. The Jeroboam mentioned here is actually Jeroboam II, the son of Joash, who is not the same Jeroboam who divided the nation in the days of Rehoboam, son of Solomon. At this time, both the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah were extremely prosperous. In the South 2 Chronicles 26 tells us that Uzziah warred against the Philistines, fortified Jerusalem, built border fortresses in the desert, farmed cattle and crops and was blessed by God. In the North, 2 Kings 14 tells us that Jeroboam extended his borders from Hamath in Syria to the Dead Sea. In both North and South, geographically, economically and militarily the kingdoms rose to the greatest heights they had ever done since the golden days of Solomon. The entire nation of Israel was overflowing with wealth and prosperity. But their religion was the opposite. In the South, it was half-hearted and in the North was blatantly apostate!
Despite the fact that God had blessed the northern kingdom so bountifully, the people did not respond to Him at all. The wealth of the kingdom was enjoyed by a small elite class of nobles who adorned their beds with fabric from Damascus (3:12), built luxurious holiday houses (3:15) and entertained each other with much eating, drinking and music (6:4-6). The common people were enslaved (2:6), oppressed (5:11) and treated unjustly (5:12). And in the midst of this there was emerging a powerful merchant class who traded with dishonest weights (8:5) and begrudged the keeping of religious feasts, which interfered with their trading activities.
The situation is summed up well in the words of chapter 5:13; "Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time." People didn't dare speak against the injustices of the day. There was no one reliable to complain to, and the complaint would only end in misery. Into that scene steps Amos.
The prophecy breaks neatly into a number of well-defined sections: - 8 judgements, beginning in ch 1:3 - 3 summons, beginning in ch 3:1 - 2 woes, beginning in ch 5:18, and - 5 visions, beginning in ch 7:1
Each of these judgements records the punishment that would come upon the northern kingdom if they failed to amend their ways. The first two chapters give a list of nations that God will judge for their conduct: Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel. The Jews must have been stunned by Amos' rebuke. They had historically believed that God favoured them above the worldly nations. This introduction proved to be a very rude awakening. The reasons for God's anger with Israel are revealed in detail in chapter 3.
Verse 1: God introduces the northern kingdom as part of the family that He brought up out of Egypt. These are personal works from a Father to His children. When Moses brought the nation out of Egypt, God told him that Israel was His firstborn son (Ex 4:22). If He hadn't personally delivered them from Egypt, they would never have been a nation. In a very real way, God has also acted in our lives, bringing us out of Egypt (the world). We are also part of the family of God.
Verse 2: And now, the relationship between Israel and their God grows even more personal. Not only did He deliver them from Egypt, He never delivered anyone else but them. Of all the families in the earth, they are the only family that was rescued from Egypt. In fact, as we find in 2:9, other families have even been sacrificed for their benefit: "Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them ...". In the same way, God has acted in our lives in a way He hasn't acted for other people - and, on our behalf, may even have acted against other people!
But this blessing brings responsibility. Because of the relationship Israel enjoyed with their Creator, certain things were expected of them that were not expected of the other families of the earth. Israel thought their relationship with God would exempt them from judgement. In fact, as Amos will explain to them, it will expose them to it. And the same applies to us. We have a special relationship with our Heavenly Father. Of all the families of the earth, we alone (as far as we know) have the Truth. Like Israel, in moments of weakness we also can sometimes believe that our relationship alone will save us from judgement. Sadly, it will not. The Lord Jesus Christ told his disciples: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required" (Luke 12:48).
Verse 3: Now Amos takes the nation back to their earliest days. This is an allusion to Lev 26:12 where God said He would walk among the nation and that they would be His people. Twice in Lev 26 (v13, 45), God refers to the fact that He brought them out of Egypt, so there is no mistaking the significance of Lev 26. But in the light of Israel's recent conduct, God now asks how two people can walk together except they be agreed. The answer is that they can't. The implication is that if Israel didn't change their behaviour, God would not continue to walk with them. To illustrate this point, Amos now shows how close the nation is to serious punishment.
Verse 4: These are the first of a number of rhetorical cause and effect questions, each of which has the same obvious answer. We might summarise the list from verse 4-6 like this:
Does a lion roar in the forest before he has overcome the prey? No, otherwise he would scare off the prey! Does a young lion roar before his victory? No, he only roars after the conquest! Will a bird be snared where no trap is laid? Of course not! Does a snare spring up from the ground when no animal has activated it? No! Is the warning-trumpet blown in the city and the people are not afraid? No, it may mean war! Is evil ever done in a city and it is not of Yahweh? No, evil is the effect of judgement (rather than an act of wickedness). God brings judgement!
Verse 7: Now the flow of questions is interrupted. Amos makes the statement that God reveals His purpose to His prophets before it comes to pass. Why is it necessary to say this? Because of the next verse:
Verse 8: The lion has roared! This means that the prey is within reach of the lion and has now got no chance of escape. Who is the lion? It is God Himself. In Hosea 11:10, God says He shall roar like a lion. In Amos 1:2 it tells us that "Yahweh will roar from Zion". We find in ch 3:8 that Yahweh has roared. The words of Amos to the northern kingdom are the warning of impending judgement. They are the lion's roar! There is no time left. They have been cornered. Unless urgent action is taken by the nation, they will be overcome. And as God spoke, the prophets couldn't do anything but prophesy.
Verse 9: And now, in a remarkable picture, Amos calls all the surrounding pagan nations to stand on the mountains which encircle Samaria, to look down into the bowl of Samaria and see all the wickedness that goes on there. Egypt and Ashdod ( the Philistines) are some of Israel's most ancient enemies. Israel considered herself morally superior to these nations in every respect. The Philistines were renowned for their godlessness. They were called "the uncircumcised Philistines" (1Sam 17:26). Egypt was renowned for its oppression because of the years Israel spent there in slavery before the Exodus.
Now think of this in a personal context. This is an invitation to the world to look into the lives of individual Christadelphians. There are many Philistines and Egyptians out there; people who live unholy and oppressive lives who we would feel outraged at if they were called upon to judge our behaviour. But if it did happen, how would we measure up? This is an interesting question to think upon, because if there was a war in which we were conscientious objectors, we may find ourselves in exactly this position, having our consistency tested by wicked and worldly people.
Verse 10: And here is the verdict! By all standards of international decency, Israel are a wicked, ungodly and immoral nation. They do not know how to do what is right. Violence and oppression are now so much a part of their nature that they heap up sins in their palaces like treasure. Even the pagan nations would be shocked at this conduct.
Verse 11: This is the judgement: "An adversary shall surround the land and bring down your defences and your fortresses shall be plundered." Amos does not say which nation it is that will punish Israel, but he does comment in ch 5:27 that they will be taken into captivity beyond Damascus. However, every Israelite knew that the dominant military power in the world at this time was Assyria, a great nation from beyond Damascus. In 2 Kings 17, Shalmaneser the Assyrian attacked and destroyed Samaria.
Verse 12: Only a small remnant would remain of a once powerful and prosperous northern kingdom. Amos represents this as "two legs" or "a piece of an ear". The lion would substantially devour Israel. Almost nothing would be left - everything between the ears and the legs would be devoured. Those sitting in luxury upon their costly Damascus quilts, without the least anxiety today will only be able to save their lives to the very smallest extent. Most will perish, and the surrounding nations will witness that judgement.
Verse 13: This is a summons to the same nations as in v9. As they had been gathered to observe the wickedness of Israel, now God invites them to hear the official punishment. God addresses Himself here as "the God of hosts (armies)", the militant title of Deity.
Verse 14: Israel would be punished for her transgressions. Bethel was the chief place of apostate worship in Israel. Amos appears to have delivered this prophecy at Bethel (ch 7:13). The horns of the altar spoke of mercy (1Kings 1:51). God had been very patient with the kingdom but He would not extend mercy any more. The destruction of the altar at Bethel was also important for another reason. In the days of Rehoboam, when Jeroboam the son of Nebat established the northern kingdom, he built an Egyptian golden calf at Bethel and called upon all Israel to worship it (1Kings 12). In verse 1, we began by considering the fact that God had called the nation of Israel out of Egypt that they might serve Him. The northern kingdom, from its inception, had consciously turned away from God and back to Egypt. This problem would be remedied.
Verse 15: All the riches, which had formed such a major part of the lives of the upper class, and had been the result of oppression of the common people would be destroyed. Material possessions, which form so much a part of life today, will be of no use to us in the day of judgement.
As we turn our attention to the emblems before us now, we are reminded of the example of our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave his life for us, that we might be saved from the bondage of sin and death, which is Egypt. Like Israel, he was a Son of God, called out of Egypt (Mt 2:15). Throughout his life, he walked with God in perfect agreement: "I and my father are one" (Jn 10:30) In his life, he was judged by wicked and ungodly men who declared "I find no fault in him" (Jn 19:4). And when he returns, he will bring an end to the violence, oppression, apostasy and materialism which have troubled the world from its beginning. May it be that we shall stand with him in that day, having hearkened to the secrets of the prophets, a faithful remnant of the family of Israel.