Amos 6

How Terrible for Those Who Feel Secure When They Shouldn’t

How terrible it will be for you men
    who are so contented on Mount Zion!
How terrible for you who feel secure
    on the hill of Samaria!
You are famous men from the greatest nation.
    The people of Israel come to you
    for help and advice.
Go and look at the city of Kalneh.
    Go from there to the great city of Hamath.
    Then go down to Gath in Philistia.
Are those places better off than your two kingdoms?
    Is their land larger than yours?
You are trying to avoid the time
    when trouble will come.
But you are only bringing closer
    the Assyrian rule of terror.
You lie down on beds
    that are decorated with ivory.
    You rest on your couches.
You eat the best lambs
    and the fattest calves.
You pluck away on your harps as David did.
    You play new songs on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful.
    You use the finest lotions.
But Joseph’s people will soon be destroyed.
    And you aren’t even sad about it.
So you will be among the first
    to be taken away as prisoners.
You won’t be able to enjoy good food.
    You won’t lie around on couches anymore.

The Lord Hates the Pride of Israel

The Lord and King has made a promise in his own name. He is the Lord God who rules over all. He announces,

“I hate the pride of Jacob’s people.
    I can’t stand their forts.
I will hand the city of Samaria
    and everything in it over to their enemies.”

Ten people might be left in one house. If they are, they will die there. Relatives might come to burn the dead bodies. If they do, they’ll have to carry them out of the house first. They might ask someone still hiding there, “Is anyone else here with you?” If the answer is no, the relatives will go on to say, “Be quiet! We must not pray in the Lord’s name.”

That’s because the Lord has already given an order.
    He will smash large houses to pieces.
    He will crush small houses to bits.

Horses don’t run on rocky ground.
    People don’t plow the sea with oxen.
But you have turned fair treatment into poison.
    You have turned the fruit of right living into bitterness.
You are happy because you captured the town of Lo Debar.
    You say, “We were strong enough to take Karnaim too.”

But the Lord God rules over all. He announces, “People of Israel,
    I will stir up a nation against you.
They will crush you from Lebo Hamath
    all the way down to the Arabah Valley.”

Read More of Amos 6

Amos 7

Amos Has Visions of Locusts, Fire and a Plumb Line

The Lord and King gave me a vision. He was bringing large numbers of locusts on the land. The king’s share had already been harvested. Now the later crops were coming up. The locusts stripped the land clean. Then I cried out, “Lord and King, forgive Israel! How can Jacob’s people continue? They are such a weak nation!”

So the Lord had pity on them.

“I will let them continue for now,” he said.

The Lord and King gave me a second vision. He was using fire to punish his people. It dried up the deep waters. It burned the land up. Then I cried out, “Lord and King, please stop! How can Jacob’s people continue? They are such a weak nation!”

So the Lord had pity on them.

“I will let them continue for now,” the Lord and King said.

Then the Lord gave me a third vision. He was standing by a wall. It had been built very straight, all the way up and down. He was holding a plumb line. The Lord asked me, “What do you see, Amos?”

“A plumb line,” I replied.

Then the Lord said, “Look at what I am doing. I am hanging a plumb line next to my people Israel. It will show how crooked they are. I will no longer spare them.

“The high places where Isaac’s people worship other gods will be destroyed.
    The other places of worship in Israel will also be torn down.
I will use my sword to attack Jeroboam’s royal family.”

Amaziah Tells Amos to Stop Prophesying

Amaziah was priest of Bethel. He sent a message to Jeroboam, the king of Israel. He said, “Amos is making evil plans against you right here in Israel. The people in the land can’t stand to listen to what he’s saying. Amos is telling them,

“ ‘Jeroboam will be killed by a sword.
    The people of Israel will be taken away as prisoners.
    They will be carried off from their own land.’ ”

Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out of Israel, you prophet! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your living there. Do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy here at Bethel anymore. This is where the king worships. The main temple in the kingdom is located here.”

Amos answered Amaziah, “I was not a prophet. I wasn’t even the son of a prophet. I was a shepherd. I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me away from taking care of the flock. He said to me, ‘Go. Prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now then, listen to the Lord’s message. You say,

“ ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel.
    Stop preaching against the people of Isaac.’

“But the Lord says,

“ ‘Your wife will become a prostitute
    in the city of Bethel.
    Your sons and daughters will be killed by swords.
Your land will be measured and divided up.
    And you yourself will die in another country.
The people of Israel will surely be taken away as prisoners.
    They will be carried off from their own land.’ ”

Read More of Amos 7