Amos Chapter Five part 5, A study of Amos 5:16 & 17, Amos 5:18 - 20, and Amos 5:21 - 23 with our Common Man's Commentary

Amos 5:16 & 17

"Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord God Almighty, says: 'There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail. There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst,' says the Lord." NIV translation

A failure to repent brings judgment and mourning. We see the extent of the judgment on Israel as everyone is mourning and wailing and not just those who were paid to do so. In those days, it was common to pay mourners to stand outside the home where someone has died and to wail and mourn. There were people that made their living doing this but, here, we see that even the farmers stop tending their fields to join in the mourning. The phrase "pass through your midst" was meant to remind the people of the time when God passed through Egypt and the first born boys were killed (see Exodus 12).

Amos 5:18 - 20

"Woe to you who long for the day of the Lord! Why do you long for the day of the Lord? That day will be darkness, not light. It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him. Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light - pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?" NIV translation 

This passage shows us the results of being religious. Amos gives them examples to demonstrate the fact that it is our relationship that saves and not what we "do for God". As it was in the example of the Passover in Egypt, only those who put their trust in the blood were preserved from death. It seems like Amos could be speaking to our world today as so many people are caught up in one religion or another and yet are missing the relationship that saves. Like Israel, many of these people are trusting in their religion and longing for the last day but, on that day, it will be as Amos described here.

Amos 5:21 - 23

"'I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.'" NIV translation

God gives a list of the religious activities that Israel was doing but says that He rejects them. We might ask ourselves why and the simple answer is that they did not have any basis for coming into worship. Worship was to be based on their relationship with God and it is the same for us today. There has been a misconception that has entered the church where inviting someone to worship is substituted for telling them about Jesus. That is not what the Great Commission says and, if people do not know Jesus, they have no basis for entering a worship service. As the saying goes, "just because you go into a garage it doesn't make you a car".

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