<IMG src="file:///C:/Documents and Settings/由紀子/Application Data/IBM/HomePage Builder Version 7/tmp/logo2.gif" width="370" height="41" border="0" alt="The geneaology of prophets">
20 Amos(2)

Seek the Lord that you may live

Amos 5:1-17
Colossians 3:1-3
T A dirge of a prophet

 Sheepherder Amos; he was among the sheepherders from Tekoa but seemed to be a rich intellectual, and was spending calm days while bringing up a fig tree sycamine, but he was called as a prophet to tell a message of God and was sent to the North Israel kingdom and accused their crime. We have heard scathing words of Amos accusing their crime from 2:6-16, last week, but the extinction to continue is told in Chapter 3-8. In Amos including nine chapters, their extinction was told in Chapter 3-8, five chapters, but this will be the center of Amos. We must hear the judgment of God sometime soon, but it is a message to be able to receive as a warning to us of the present age, and I feel deep sorrow of God in there. In his intense tone that criticized the apostasy of Israel, the faintest hope was told calmly in 5:1-17; I want to hear the posture of his faith from there this morning.

 It begins with "Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge, O house of Israel."(1), and Chapter 5 is dirge of Amos. So that there is it in Verse 7, "Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,", this is a dirge of this prophet grieving by extinction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria. BC760, it was the times of the third delicate Ashur Dayan of Assyria, and there were still 40 years to the times of the third Tiglath-pileser who invaded the Northern Kingdom like angry waves. However, this prophet would be informed of the state that the armed forces of Assyria destroyed Samaria and made captives of them from God; "She has fallen, she will not rise again - the virgin Israel."(2). He still entrusted pity of God withdrawn the judgment with the faintest hope that "Perhaps the Lord God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant to Joseph."(15). It was prophet Amos who came to the Northern Kingdom with a message of judgment of God, but he did not expect that Israel fell.

U When we of the present age piles up it on one another

 The sorrow of Amos who wished that to want to avoid Israeli extinction somehow was sorrow of God Oneself. He clung to that pity and told words of the Lord. "For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel, 'Seek Me that you may live. But do not resort to Bethel, and do not come to Gilgal, nor cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal will certainly go into captivity, and Bethel will come to trouble.'" (4-5) Bethel and Gilgal, both backgrounds are what were said in 4:4, but, according to the commentary book, "resort to Bethel" and "come to Gilgal", these seem to be words of priest commanding to go to holy ground for a pilgrimage. "Transgress. Multiply transgression!"; it would be severe irony for that these were both holy grounds of the Northern Kingdom and they worshiped Baal of Cannan with the whole race and it caused anger of God. Beersheba was counted the holy place, too, it was in south of Jerusalem, and people of the Northern Kingdom seem to have gone there for a pilgrimage. While Amos was making a cynical remark with "Enter Bethel and transgress; in Gilgal multiply transgression!", but he said "do not resort to Bethel, and do not come to Gilgal, nor cross over to Beersheba;", and his feeling and thought of God came at the same time. When Assyria attacked and invaded, their racial holy place would be considered as their center, and it would be destroyed, and it was clear that an image assumed gods would move to Assyria.

 He has begun to tell an advice to Israel by his own words again.
 He repeated again with "Seek the Lord that you may live," (6), and it was the center of the message which he wanted to introduce. He continued "Lest He break forth like a fire, O house of Joseph, and it consume with none to quench it for Bethel, for those who turn justice into worm-wood and cast righteousness down to the earth.". While he was despairing of the Israeli obstinate posture, but he said that there is still particularly only hope to ask the Lord; this is a message of a prophet like vomiting blood. The reason why the words of "justice" or "righteousness" was used here would be the Israeli problem that he thought about appeared from the consciousness that himself is one of such people, it is that there was poor people suffered by injustice of a trial.

 In modern Japanese social conditions, there are many problems, young people who run to the crime with only simplistic feelings, some politicians who are going to judge things from only reason, mothers who murder their own kids because kids follow and are noisy, the people who live only for own greed.... And the essence of problem seems to be in the background that nobody can recognize a crime is a crime. It seems to fall on an Israeli problem, they ran on a way to Cannan earnestly and forgot important God above all.

V Seek the Lord that you may live

 Amos did not rebuke a problem of a crime of the Northern Kingdom like other people's affairs, and it is piled up in the present age. He told; "For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great, you who distress the righteous and accept bribes, and turn aside the poor in the gate. Therefore, at such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time."(12-13). However, he arrived near God as a prophet and told while grieving oneself who must accuse their crime; "If I was smart, I would have remained silent earnestly without accusing their crime. However, I cannot remain silent.". "I know it" is the words including contents of Israel inimitableness to say "I experience it"; but he might have fallen into the crime and lived in environment same as them, too. Even if it was not like the Northern Kingdom, the reason is because the same crime gradually went in south kingdom. Amos also told warning to south kingdom in this book, too.

 Amos was still a prophet called by God. He fixed his eyes on their future and continued telling it while controlling sorrow. He told extinction of the Northern Kingdom in Chapter 3-8 and the sorrow became a dirge in a part of this middle and would overflow. "Seek the Lord that you may live"; he told the central message. There is it in Verse 14, "Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, just as you have said!". Israeli people felt a menace of Assyria and insisted that "The Lord of hosts who helped us still many times till now should be surely with us.", but, Amos took the insistence of them in the inverted hand, and told that a premise to "ask God" was necessary for it. Amos appealed for it in this way; "Hate evil, love good, and establish justice in the gate! Perhaps the Lord God of hosts may be gracious to the remnant of Joseph." (15), but that suit sounds like a sorrowful cry.

 In old days, God who was gone along in front of houses in search of Egyptian life; but now, the same God was approaching to search (Passover) of Israeli life. "They also call the farmer to mourning" (16); it says that there were many funerals and professional females mourner were not enough, so farmers acted as substitutes. A crisis of such God intervention is approaching us of the present age. When I have become this years, I especially feel it, too, but death is imminent. However, we want to learn that there is more hope that Amos appealed for to us. Messiah Jesus of the cross will come to us soon, and we wish to be person aiming above with Paul who cried that "demand the Lord and grow" and "Keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God." (Colossians 3:1).