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Bible Commentaries

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Amos 4

Prepare to Meet Thy God Amos Four

Amos chapter four is filled with some very colorful, powerful and direct teaching from God. Amos compared the women to fat cows. The women are compared to fat cows or kine living in fertile Bashan. The husbands or masters of the women met their demands by oppressing the poor and needy. Much like our society today, Israel was worshipping at the shrine of materialism. Economic exploitation is always a problem when people serve the god of materialism.

The priest would call people to Bethel and Gilgal to worship. This was a mistake because Jerusalem was the true place of worship. Now Amos, speaking with sarcasm calls the people there to sin. God was sickened by their worship that had no heart or commitment in it. Their worship was only empty show! God had done everything He could to bring them to repentance. However five times He was forced to say, "yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD." God sent Famine ( Amo_4:6 ), Drought ( Amo_4:7-8 ), Locusts ( Amo_4:9 ), Plague ( Amo_4:10 ) and Conquest. ( Amo_4:10 ) God's efforts to save these people were continually rejected. He was merciful yet it availed nothing with these hard hearted people.

The entire book of Amos might well turn upon one simple statement, "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel." ( Amo_4:12 ) Even though the message of Amos for Israel was that they should prepare to meet God as His judgment was poured out against that wicked nation those same words are also God's message for every man! "Prepare to meet thy God."

Verses 1-3

Fat cows of Bashan -- Amo_4:1-3 : Amos dealt with the oppression and injustice by those that called themselves God's people. He called the women fat cows of Bashan. Bashan was on the east of Jordan, between Hermon and Gilead. Today it is known as the Golan Heights. These women were so selfish that they asked their husbands to bring them more wine that was paid for by oppressing the poor. God told them that their time was coming. Judgment was coming upon them. They would be taken away with sharp hooks. This was the Lord's promise and it was backed up by His holiness.

The idea of being taken away with a hook likely is that of the ring in the nose by which the animal is lead about. That action prompted the familiar statement that a person is "leading someone around by the nose." Israel would be lead into captivity and she would receive cruel punishment. They would be dragged through holes in the city walls. They would be cast out into the palace or into the enemy’s stronghold. This would happen because the Lord had declared it so.

Verses 4-5

Come to Bethel and Gilgal and sin -- Amo_4:4-5 : When God invited the people to come to Bethel and Gilgal He did not invite them to come there for worship. Bethel was one of the places where the calves were placed and worshipped. Gilgal was also a place where high places and altars were erected, and idols worshipped. The problem was that God had called upon Israel again and again to get out of sin. They had continually refused. Now God told them to just go on sinning or to continue on in their idolatrous worship. They transgressed the law of God and proved by the worship of idols that they had no respect for Jehovah.

Their continual rebellion now brought them to this point in history. It was too late for change and their hypocritical sacrifices and tithes meant nothing. In fact God told them to offer leaven with their sacrifice. In Lev_2:11 we learn that the use of such leaven was forbidden. Their lives were corrupt; their worship was corrupt and so what they offered would make no difference. The children of Israel were mixing idolatry with true worship. This led God to reject the entire process. They will now receive the deserved condemnation.

Verses 6-11

You have not returned to God -- Amo_4:6-11 : Five times the Lord described efforts He had made to rescue Israel from sin. But each time He said, "Yet you did not return to me," or "still you rejected me." God punished the people with a shortage of food. The expression "cleanness of teeth" is a figurative desig-nation of the result of famine. But still the people went on with their rejection of God. God said, "Three months before harvest, I kept back the rain. Sometimes I would let it fall on one town or field but not on another, and pastures dried up." The Creator has the ability to control the rain. People from two or three towns would go to a town that had water but it was still not enough to satisfy their need. In spite of all of this the people did not return to the Lord. God wanted to bring His people to repentance but His chastisements had no effect on them.

God had said, "But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of the LORD thy God, to observe to do all his commandments and his statutes which I command thee this day; that all these curses shall come upon thee, and overtake thee: Cursed shalt thou be in the city, and cursed shalt thou be in the field. Cursed shall be thy basket and thy store." ( Deu_28:15-17 ) They now know that God meant what He said. He dried up their grain fields, gardens and vineyards. He sent locusts that ate their fig trees and olive orchards, but even then they rejected the Lord.

God sent plagues upon them, their young men were killed in battle, their horses were stolen and their camp was made to stink with dead bodies. Yet, the Lord still had to declare, "They did not return unto Me." God overthrew some of them as He had done to Sodom and Gomorrah. Others were like a burning stick that God rescued from the fire. Even then they continued to reject Him. His people were unfaithful but God continued to love them. However, He could not overlook their sins.

Verses 12-13

Prepare to meet thy God -- Amo_4:12-13 : One of the most sobering statements in the Bible is "Prepare to meet thy God." After continual rejection God told Israel to "Get ready to face your God!" This is said in view of the judgment that God would soon bring on the 10-tribe kingdom of Israel. The children or Israel would meet God or encounter Him as He brought the Assyrians against them. Israel should prepare to fight it out with the Creator whom they had made to be their enemy. They had continually revolted against His law and now they must face the consequences.

The LORD, the God of hosts. He is the LORD God All-Powerful! He is the God of all creation. It was Jehovah that formed the mountains and created the wind. God is the absolute sovereign over man. He has declared to man His thoughts. In this case man rebelled and would not listen. God has power over nature as He made in the beginning and still makes today both darkness and light. He treads upon the high places of the earth or He rules above all. "The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name."

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Amos 4". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". 2014.