Consequences of Disobedience

Key Verse: “Thus saith the LORD ; for three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked.”
—Amos 2:4

Selected Scripture:
Amos 2:4-10

GOD SHOWED GREAT favor and blessings to Judah and Israel, but time and again they fell into idolatry and committed the sins of their neighboring nations. Amos was a prophet sent by Jehovah to rebuke them, hopefully to make them turn around. Amos served God during the reign of Uzziah, who reigned in Judah from 783 to 742 B.C., as well as during the reign of Jeroboam, whose reign in Israel (the northern kingdom) was from 786 to 746 B.C. Although God sent messages to Israel through Amos, he was particularly a prophet to Judah. In addition to idolatry, God singled out several other sins—slave trade, victimizing both the righteous and the poor, oppression, and lack of justice. These were violations of their Law. As Amos told them, ‘for three’ sins, even ‘for four,’ God would still have to punish them, but for their complete rejection of the Law, they faced destruction by fire.

Amos reminded them that they had been saved by God from slavery in Egypt. He had driven the Amorites out of the land for their benefit. Israel, however, was not following God’s Law, and was worse than the Amorites. For this disobedience they had to be punished. The fire prophesied by Amos would not come for about 150 years, when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, would come and literally destroy Jerusalem by fire.

Amos was used of the Lord to prophesy against Judah’s and Israel’s neighboring nations. In each case a judgment was pronounced upon them in the form of a destructive fire. The first example of transgressions was Syria. (Amos 1:3-5) Hazael was a wicked king who waged merciless warfare, and the judgment came upon Rezin when Damascus was burned and the Syrians were taken captive to Kir.—II Kings 16:9

Similar prophecies were pronounced against Gaza and the Philistines (Amos 1:6-8), Tyrus (vss. 9,10), Edom (vss. 11,12), Ammon (vss. 13-15), and Moab (Amos 2:1-3). These were all given as examples to Israel (the ten-tribe kingdom), which was condemned by the Lord as recorded in Amos third, fourth, and fifth chapters. They were more idolatrous than Judah, and had to be punished for disobedience. God demands such punishment up to the third and fourth generation, but his mercy is for a thousand generations, as recorded in Exodus 34:6,7, (Rotherham Translation), “Yahweh, Yahweh, A God of compassion and favour, Slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness and faithfulness: Keeping lovingkindness to a thousand generations, Forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, Though he leave not utterly unpunished, Visiting the iniquity of fathers Upon sons And upon sons’ sons, Unto a third and unto a fourth generation.” The mercy of God has become available through the ransom sacrifice of his Son, Jesus.—Rom. 5:19

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