In Amos 7:1 the LORD showed Amos a swarm of locusts that would eat the harvest coming up; in verse 4 God showed him a great fire coming to consume everything. In both instances, Amos called to the LORD for mercy and He relented of the disasters. Then in verse 7 the LORD is standing with a plumb line in His hand and He says, “Behold, I am setting a plumb line In the midst of My people Israel; I will not pass by them anymore;” (He would not relent of the disaster). What is the “message” the LORD was speaking by holding a plumb line up to his people. A builder would use a plumb line while building to assure that what he is building is straight; if it is not, there is no sense to continue to build until things are made right. God wanted to be merciful to His people; He wanted to relent of the disaster, but their “crooked” ways were completely engrafted in them and their society. If things continued, one perverse generation would give way to another; the most merciful thing God could do was destroy them.
The term, “for three transgressions and for four” is a term denoting “overflowing” or “excess” transgressions.
In Amos chapter one and verses 1-3 of chapter two, Amos prophesies of the judgments that will come upon Israel’s enemies. I’m sure they were in full agreement until he got to the transgressions of Judah and Israel that would bring them judgment.
The LORD tells them why the judgments would be so severe if they did not repent in Amos 3:2: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth; Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities."
In Amos 5:19 the LORD tells Israel that there will be no where to turn or hide on the day of the LORD. He says, “It will be as though a man fled from a lion, And a bear met him! Or as though he went into the house, Leaned his hand on the wall, And a serpent bit him!” Those who have not made the LORD their refuge will be in trouble when the "refuges" of this world fall apart.
Read through the Bible with us in 2012! The reading plan can be downloaded below; we are reading in chronological order. Check back often to read the blog posts on the Bible readings and discuss things in the "comments" section.
2012 Bible Plan