In search of words of the Lord
T "I will never forget"
@The judgment to Israel was told at from Chapter 3 to Chapter 8 and pointed out that this was the center of Amos. However, here, deep sorrow of God that was different from sorrow of Amos is felt, but I hesitated this problem of "judgment", and have wanted to put off this handling a little. However, since it can not be avoided that this is a central message of Amos, I will take up this judgment of God this morning.
@It is 8:4-14, but, Vόσ divides this point into 4 points like this; 4-6, 7-8, 9-11, 11-14, but V€―σ divides into 5 points; 4-7, 8, 9-10, 11-12, 13-14; and particularly, apart from each translation, I want to follow the latter division, because it seems there is persuasive power. At first, it is Verse 4-7; "Hear this,"; and Amos began with the place where he pointed out an Israeli crime keenly. Particularly, merchants regarded money-making more important than a festival and the Sabbath of the new moon, once in four weeks, and glossed over a measurement of shekel and bushel, and they made poor people a slave with only one pair of shoes. Amos accused their crime from a social thing to treason to them who threw away a pride as people of selection of God patiently, in Chapter 3; but, it is only one part raised here now. Though he pointed out many approaches and problems repeatedly, but, he would finally establish his mind when "The judgment is necessary, too", against their stubbornness that does not even try to repent it. There is it in Verse 7; "The Lord has shown by the pride of Jacob.". The pride of Jacob, it will be irony to their perversity that does not change. There is it; "Indeed, I will never forgot any of their deeds.". If we judge from consciousness of the Bible, "I forgive it" assumes "I forget it"; but it is said, "I will never forget", what strong condemnation of God is!
@This is not only against to the Northern Kingdom and all Israel; to the people who fell into arteriosclerosis of faith over the times, of course including us of the present age, it will sound severe warning.
U As a sentence of the judgment
@I want to pay attention to words of Verse 8. "Because of this will not the land quake and everyone who dwells in it mourn? Indeed, all of it will rise up like the Nile, and it will be tossed about, and subside like the Nile of Egypt." There is it in Verse 1:1, "two years before the earthquake"; it have been a mentioned very big earthquake in Zechariah. Perhaps Amos experienced this earthquake when he stayed in the Northern Kingdom, and would write this down while feeling that the judgment of God happened in this way. In Palestine, bottom of the earth plate flocks from east and west, and it crawls into inside of the earth in Jordan ravine. It is because Dead Sea is low in 600m from the Mediterranean Sea, and it is the land with many earthquakes same as Japan. Perhaps, at every big earthquake, soil would rise and sink like the Egyptian Nile. It was repeated in Verse 9:5 thus, "And the Lord God of hosts, the One who touches the land,". Amos declared that the big earthquake that he experienced depended on a way of God, and he did warning for Israeli crimes; unprecedented great disaster would be caused and it would be more big than that big earthquake. I think that people who has experienced that Great Hanshin Earthquake will be able to understand that fear, but, I want you to know that such a natural disaster becomes very important one side of the judgment of God.
@And next, the word of "in that day" comes out three places successively, Verse 9, 11, and 13. "Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,"(5:20); it is a leitmotif of the judgment of God in Chapter 3-8, but will not it be a thing which tells the end that puts in a field of vision the human, every nation and a race as a model of Israel? It is not warning anymore, and we must hear it as a sentence to us in the present age; we finished the selfish world, without knowing God who is a creator of life while saying that slightly scientific civilization developed.
@Declaration of God, it is Verse 9-10 at first, but it will say that Verse 8 which touched an earthquake was taken into his consideration. It says not only about an earthquake, but also says that "I shall make the sun go down at noon, and make the earth dark in broad daylight.". Right before He was hung on a cross, Jesus told to disciples about the end, all through the night. There is it with, "But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken," (Matthew 24), and Amos has told the same thing, too. I repeat it again, but this is not only a thing of ending in the judgment to the Northern Kingdom, but it is a thing of us of the present age.
V In search of words of the Lord
@The second declaration of "Day of the Lord", it is in Verse 11-12. "'Behold, days are coming,' declares the Lord God, 'When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord. And people will stagger from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east; they will go to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.'" In late years, it is pointed out that words of the Lord have been not demanded seriously even in a church. Even in Bible faith, it tends to lapse into fragmentary lection quotation to protect the faith form that oneself insist is right. Bible is not fragmentary words of God, but it should be read by checking context, and it will be clarified in the connection. I want to keep on keeping such Bible faith that we inherited from our predecessor. It is said that words of the Bible has lost power in this present age; but "hear words of the Lord", it is assuming the fact that Israel has lived by words of God, and it was said thus, "'And He humbled you and let you be hungry, and fed you with mannan which you did not know, nor did you fathers know, that He might make you under stand that man does not live bread alone, but man lives by everythig that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord.'"(Deuteronomy 8:3). We must not forget that we are living in the same principle. Therefore, "famine of hearing the word of the Lord"; it means that the principle to make alive us is taken away. The word of God is not ideological but has power in the present age, too. At the time of end, people will look for that authoritative words and run about in utter confusion. Religious cults, a lot of strange doubtful religion is sold now, and many people pass through that gate in search of words of authority, however, Amos would see they can not find words of the Lord.
@It is Verse 13-14, the third point of "Day of the Lord"; but, don't you think that it is told about young men and women of the present age living in selfishly; in the same way, here, how empty and collapses their ways of life were? "Beautiful" and "young"; it is a dependence place of modern people, and the consciousness that being not young and being not beautiful does not deserve a human being is increasing. There is it with "As your god lives, O Dan, and as the way of Beersheba lives,", but, both, Dan located in northern end of Israeli, and Beersheba located in the south of Judah, were centers of a heathenism, and there, there were the ways of life of pleasure of moment "beautiful" and "young". "From Dan to Beersheba", if we read it in modernness, will it be "from New York to Tokyo"? We are such modern people who long for such a city, and wish to want to be young, to be beautifully and to be momentary. However, a sentence of a prophet is severe thus; they fall down and can not get up twice. As for the person who can continue living before this sentence, there will be nobody. However, there is it "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words shall not pass away." (Matthew 24:35), and I want that you believe this words of Jesus, in other words, you believe Jesus Himself who died as a victim for our crime on the cross. I pray that you learn this promise, and only a person permitted a crime will be able to take upon that new life.