Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:
2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet:
3 And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the Lord.
4 Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:
5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.
6 Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes;
7 That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name:
8 And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.
9 Yet destroyed I the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars, and he was strong as the oaks; yet I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath.
10 Also I brought you up from the land of Egypt, and led you forty years through the wilderness, to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up of your sons for prophets, and of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel? saith the Lord.
12 But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not.
13 Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
14 Therefore the flight shall perish from the swift, and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself:
15 Neither shall he stand that handleth the bow; and he that is swift of foot shall not deliver himself: neither shall he that rideth the horse deliver himself.
16 And he that is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day, saith the Lord.
As a shepherd, Amos knew that it was typical for a flock of sheep to hear their shepherd’s voice and respond. When he/she called out to them, they expected the flock to comply by either following or remaining in the shepherd’s presence. It was unheard of for a flock of sheep to follow a stranger. Yet in this chapter, God chastised Judah and Israel more harshly than the other nations, for they should have known His character and voice. Israel was redeemed out of Egypt and knew His commandments. They knew just how devastating injustice in any form could be, especially in light of their past enslavement.
Why then would Israel act as if they knew not the Chief Shepherd by their conduct? Why would they deny justice to the oppressed and sell the innocent for silver? Why would Judah spurn Yahweh’s commandments and be led by strange gods? These gods provided no benefits, yet God’s people worshiped them as if they were obligated. Both Judah and Israel’s behavior was alarming, to say the least, and reflected an abandonment of the true Shepherd’s principles.
May God help us today to hear the voice of our Shepherd and walk in the Way.
Pastor, Georgia-Cumberland Conference, USA