Judgment on Israel

6 Thus says the Lord:

“For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—
7 those who trample the head of the poor into the dust of the earth
and turn aside the way of the afflicted;
a man and his father go in to the same girl,
so that my holy name is profaned;
8 they lay themselves down beside every altar
on garments taken in pledge,
and in the house of their God they drink
the wine of those who have been fined.

9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them,
whose height was like the height of the cedars
and who was as strong as the oaks;
I destroyed his fruit above
and his roots beneath.
10 Also it was I who brought you up out of the land of Egypt
and led you forty years in the wilderness,
to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets,
and some of your young men for Nazirites.
Is it not indeed so, O people of Israel?”
declares the Lord.

12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine,
and commanded the prophets,
saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’

13 “Behold, I will press you down in your place,
as a cart full of sheaves presses down.
14 Flight shall perish from the swift,
and the strong shall not retain his strength,
nor shall the mighty save his life;
15 he who handles the bow shall not stand,
and he who is swift of foot shall not save himself,
nor shall he who rides the horse save his life;
16 and he who is stout of heart among the mighty
shall flee away naked in that day,”
declares the Lord.


If we thought God was upset with those other places…he is very upset with Israel. Do not forget, Amos is a prophet for Israel. That is most likely why this section concerning Israel is so much longer. Again, God is upset with Israel. And for what? Well, it is rather graphic.

THe first few lines clue us into the fact that Israel has been completely disregarding the Law of Moses. Remember the Leviticus reading from this last Sunday? The Israelites character was to be one of compassion and neighborliness. Apparently that is not happening at all, and worse. “A man and his father go into the same girl,” yikes. This is particularly scandalous. I really dislike Hebrew, but one thing about Hebrew is that for all its barbaric sounds it can be rather precise when it wants to be. There is no mistaking the word “girl” here. We are not talking about a prostitute who has been around for a while, we are talking about a young girl. Bad, really bad. And it does not get any better. The Israelites are also using the Temple as a Brew House! Drinking wine in the house of God, and it is wine that has been taken as a fine for some issue or trespass in accordance with the law. That wine was not to be consumed but offered up to God. They are taking the offerings that are to go to God and his priests AND GETTING DRUNK WITH THEM IN THE TEMPLE!

Needless to say, God is mad at his people for these and other issues. What God also does is remind his people who they are in relation to Him. This is where we get God recalling the mighty deeds he did for this people Israel to bring them to the place they are. He destroyed the Amorites. The Amorites were the main group of people who inhabited the Promised Land before Israel showed up. And before that God brought Israel out of Egypt with power and might and sustained them in the wilderness forty years. But, none of this apparently matters too much to Israel at this point. And because of that, God is getting ready to act. He will punish the nations surrounding Israel, and just as Judah got caught up in that punishment, we now see Israel will be caught up as well (vss. 13-16).

Do not put God to the test. He is loving, merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love. But, he has his limits apparently. He is jealous. He will not tolerate His name being profaned. This means that whatever his name is attached to he will not tolerate its defilement or any unholiness. You have His name attached to you. Your Body and Soul and Mind! What do you think Baptism did? You were/are baptized into the NAME of God. This is good news. It means life and salvation, as much as it meant to Israel coming out of Egypt and being sustained in the wilderness and being protected from the Amorites. It also means you need to guard yourselves, and be on watch. The Israelites did not go out looking to become an abomination in the eyes of God. They did not go out looking to profane his name. It happened as they cozied up to the things of the world, the activities of societies and kingdoms around them. It happened as they used pious platitudes to justify bad associations, lazy thinking, and unholy practice. We are caught up in much of the same today as I see it. You think you are not affected by communing with people who have bad Theological conclusions (Methodists, ELCA, Reformed)? You think you are not affected by keeping the associations of your rather crass, unholy, worldly friends from youth? You think you are not affected when the pious platitudes “Love the Sinner hate the Sin” drags your family deeper into its acceptance of pure rank evil as it permeates your children’s and grandchildren’s thoughts and practice because you are unable to put the evil one out of your midst (1 Corinthians 5!). You are in the same boat Israel was at one time. And look where all that has got them. Look where they have come. Is it any wonder, then, we are where we are?

Pastor Beltz

P.S. Here is 1 Corinthians 5–

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. 4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus, 5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.[a]

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. 8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church[b] whom you are to judge? 13 God judges[c] those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”