If men will not take a right course to obtain the favor of God,
God will take an effectual course to make them feel the weight of His displeasure.
Our transgressions do not pass Him unobserved,
and He knows all hypocrisy in worship,
and the punishment will be in proportion to the profession made.
1 Hear ye this word which I take up against you, even a lamentation, O house of Israel.
2 The virgin of Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise: she is forsaken upon her land; there is none to raise her up.
3 For thus saith the Lord GOD; The city that went out by a thousand shall leave an hundred, and that which went forth by an hundred shall leave ten, to the house of Israel.
4 ¶ For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live:
5 But seek not Beth-el, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beer-sheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought.
6 Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el.
7 Ye who turn judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,
8 Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:
9 That strengtheneth the spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the fortress.
10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.
11 Forasmuch therefore as your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat: ye have built houses of hewn stone, but ye shall not dwell in them; ye have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.
12 For I know your manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.
13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
15 Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord, saith thus; Wailing shall be in all streets; and they shall say in all the highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skilful of lamentation to wailing.
17 And in all vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the LORD.
18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
19 As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
20 Shall not the day of the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?
21 I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies.
22 Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace offerings of your fat beasts.
23 Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.
24 But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream.
25 Have ye offered unto me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
26 But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.
27 Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God of hosts.
Amos 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Amos 5:1-15 – “Prepare to Meet Thy God”
But great and holy though God is, we are invited to seek Him. He desires to bless, but He must be sought. Were we more diligent in seeking, as the miner for gold, or the scientific man for nature’s secrets, we should be marvelously repaid. “Eye hath not seen,” etc. (1 Corinthians 2:9). Amos speaks as nature’s child. Often as he had tended his flocks, he had watched the Pleiades with their gentle radiance, and Orion, the herald of storm. He had listened to God calling across the waters, and had drawn life from Him. “Seek… and… live” (v. 14)! O soul, what a God is thine! Thy springs and storms await His word of command. He can turn thy darkness into the morning. Be of good cheer! —Through the Bible Day by Day
Amos 5:8—Seek Him that maketh the seven stars and Orion.
This chapter resounds with invitations to seek God. He makes the seven stars (Pleiades), which usher in the spring: seek Him when life is full of radiant hope and promise, in days of love and joy. But He also makes Orion, the precursor of tempests; be sure, therefore, to seek Him when the sky is overcast and lowering, and when He presses you to enter the boat and face the storm.
He turns the shadow of death into the morning. Thank God for this. There is a turning of death-shadow into morning, when despair gives place to hope; when the dear one begins to revive from sore sickness; when circumstances begin to brighten; and when the perplexity and darkness of this mortal life, with its separations and misunderstandings, shall brighten with the eternal day. Weave thoughts of God into all these glad experiences; but not less so, when He makes the day dark with night. It may be that you will come closest to Him then; as the little child will sit on the far side of the railway carriage from her mother till they enter a tunnel, and then there will be a little startled cry and a rush to the mother’s knee.
Sometimes the waters of the sea pour in on the land, engulfing the works of men, and devastating their toils. But amid all such scenes of desolation, the righteous have a secure hiding-place, suggested by the reference to the name LORD, with which this verse closes. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe” (Proverbs 18:10)
“Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure;
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be;
Time’s wheel runs back or stops–
Potter and clay endure.” —Our Daily Homily
Amos 5:16-27 – A Dark Day for Hypocrites
Mighty sins had been committed, and mighty judgments were at hand. The oppression of the poor (v. 11); the erection of elegant dwellings from unrighteous exactions (v. 11); the acceptance of bribes to betray the needy (v. 12), all these must be reckoned with. But if the guilty nation would not seek God and establish judgment in the gate, where magistrates sat to dispense justice, the streets would be filled with wailing, and the husbandmen and vine-dressers would be equally affected by the widespread desolation as the dwellers in the cities.
Moreover, bad as Israel’s present condition was, it would become infinitely worse, as though a man fleeing from a lion rushed into the arms of a bear, or, taking refuge in a house, was stung by a serpent that lay hid in a cranny of the wall. Of what avail are religious rites, when the heart is alienated from God (v. 21, etc.)? Let us heed well the exhortation of vs. 23-24. The martyr Stephen quoted vs. 25-27, which accuse the people of carrying about little shrines and pocket-idols, to serve as amulets averting disaster (Acts 7:43). But they might as well have built a bank of sand to arrest an overflowing flood! The one thing which is going to help us is repentance toward God and faith in our Savior Jesus Christ. —Through the Bible Day by Day