Amos Chapter Three

Cause & Effect

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In our study of Amos chapter three, we will look at the principle of cause & effect and apply it to our walk with Christ. We will look at seven common sense questions that God asked His people to get them to understand the error of their ways.

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Amos 3:1 & 2

Hear this word the Lord has spoken against you, O people of Israel - against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: 'You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.'

In chapter two, we saw that the prophet warned Israel of the coming judgment on them that was due to their idolatry. Now, God begins to explain a little more about the reason for the coming discipline. He reminds them that, out of all the people on the earth, they were chosen to be His people. That privilege created responsibility and they had failed in that responsibility to remain true to God.

Amos 3:3

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?

God gives Amos a series of seven questions to ask the people to get them to understand the principle of cause & effect and the answers to them are obvious. If two people are going to walk together they must agree on the direction that they are going to go. If they do not and one man goes one way while the other goes the opposite direction, they are no longer walking together. Israel had agreed to be led by God and to follow in His direction when He delivered them from slavery in Egypt but, now, they were walking in their own direction and it was not the direction of God. The same principle holds true in our daily walk with the Lord. When we come to faith in Christ, we agree that He knows the direction that we should be going and we agree to go in that direction with Him. We cannot say that we are walking with Him if we are going to go in another direction. That agreement to walk with Him in His direction is known as repentance. We must understand that God will not change directions and so we must decide to go His way.

Amos 3:4

'Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey? Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing?'

The second question deals with the adult lion and whether he walks around proud and roaring while he is hunting? The obvious answer is no because the lion hunts silently so that the prey cannot avoid him. He roars the victory after he has caught his prey to warn other animals to stay away. The third question deals with the young lion that is left in the den while the parent goes out to hunt. Obviously, the young lion is quiet so that he will not be discovered and harmed while the parent is gone. These two questions deal with pride and humility. The powerful (lions) in the northern kingdom had become full of pride and boasted in themselves (roared). This is the opposite of humility and leads to idolatry. The same type of thing is happening in our world today as many see what they have accumulated and become proud instead of giving God the praise for what he has done.

Amos 3:5

Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground where no snare has been set? Does a trap spring up from the earth when there is nothing to catch?

The answer to the fourth question is obviously no because the appropriate trap must be used to catch a bird. The fifth question asks God's people if the trapper will keep setting his trap where there is no game and no possibility of catching anything.

Amos 3:6

When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?

The sixth question is simply whether people hear an alarm and just ignore it as if nothing is happening. This question is asked of Israel to get them to see how ridiculous it is to ignore the warning that has been given. Normal people would not ignore a warning siren which is a warning given by men so it is even more crazy to ignore a warning that is directly given by God. The final question that is asked deals with accidents or natural disasters. When floods, tornadoes, typhoons, etc. happen, many say that it is just nature but this question reminds us that God is in control and He allows these things for His purposes. The effect of ignoring God's warnings through His prophet, will be judgment. Today, God is still sending His people with a call of repentance for all men. The effects of ignoring this call will not be an accident or an act of nature but direct judgment from God and it is eternal.

Amos 3:7 & 8

Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared - who will not fear? The Sovereign Lord has spoken - who can but prophesy?

Amos reminds the people that they had been warned about what God was going to do. At this point, they could choose to listen or act foolishly and disregard the signs. In the same way, we have been warned through the prophecy given to John in the Book of Revelation. We can choose to ignore the signs of the times as Israel did, or we can choose to believe the Word of God but, regardless of whether we believe it or not, judgment is coming.

Amos 3:9 & 10

Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod and to the fortresses of Egypt: 'Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria; see the great unrest within her and the oppression among her people. They do not know how to do right,' declares the Lord, 'who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses.'

God calls for the Philistines and the Egyptians to come forward and witness the condition of the kingdom of Israel. They had turned their back on the ways of God and so could not "know how to do right" as every kind of idolatry had become acceptable. This is the ultimate cause & effect as we see that, when a nation turns its back on God and His ways, every idea of man becomes acceptable in their eyes. This leads to everyone being out for all they can get and ultimately the oppression of the poor. (Does this sound like our world today?)

Amos 3:11

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: 'An enemy will overrun the land; he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses.'

God will punish sin and He will often use the ungodly as an instrument to do it. This verse was fulfilled when the Assyrians took Israel captive.

Amos 3:12

This is what the Lord says: 'As a shepherd saves from the lion's mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved, those who sit in Samaria on the edge of their beds and in Damascus on their couches.'

Just as the shepherd can save a part of the sheep from the lion, God is going to preserve a remnant of His people from this coming destruction. So, who will it be? We see that God saves those who are prepared (on the edge of their beds). So, how are they prepared? By faith, they believe the words that the prophet is sharing with them. This is a picture of salvation through Jesus Christ as all hear of Him and His sacrifice for all but only those who believe will be spared.

Amos 3:13-15

'Hear this and testify against the house of Jacob,' declares the Lord, the Lord God Almighty. 'On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,' declares the Lord.

God's judgment is total in that even the altar that they used was cast down and destroyed along with their fancy houses. We have to ask ourselves whether we have let idolatry creep into our lives or not. Today, many live for material things such as their ever bigger homes, their bank accounts, or even their children and so we see the effects of this in the world today. A world where the love of most has grown cold.