Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 130

Amos 1–5, Psalm 25

Bible text(s)

1These are the words of Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa. Two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel, God revealed to Amos all these things about Israel.

2Amos said,

“The LORD roars from Mount Zion;

his voice thunders from Jerusalem.

The pastures dry up,

and the grass on Mount Carmel turns brown.”

God's Judgement on Israel's Neighbours

Syria

3The LORD says, “The people of Damascus have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They treated the people of Gilead with savage cruelty. 4So I will send fire upon the palace built by King Hazael and I will burn down the fortresses of King Benhadad. 5I will smash the city gates of Damascus and remove the inhabitants of the Valley of Aven and the ruler of Betheden. The people of Syria will be taken away as prisoners to the land of Kir.”

Philistia

6The LORD says, “The people of Gaza have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They carried off a whole nation and sold them as slaves to the people of Edom. 7So I will send fire upon the city walls of Gaza and burn down its fortresses. 8I will remove the rulers of the cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. I will punish the city of Ekron, and all the Philistines who are left will die.”

Tyre

9The LORD says, “The people of Tyre have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They carried off a whole nation into exile in the land of Edom, and did not keep the treaty of friendship they had made. 10So I will send fire upon the city walls of Tyre and burn down its fortresses.”

Edom

11The LORD says, “The people of Edom have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They hunted down their relatives, the Israelites, and showed them no mercy. Their anger had no limits, and they never let it die. 12So I will send fire upon the city of Teman and burn down the fortresses of Bozrah.”

Ammon

13The LORD says, “The people of Ammon have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. In their wars for more territory they even ripped open pregnant women in Gilead. 14So I will send fire upon the city walls of Rabbah and burn down its fortresses. Then there will be shouts on the day of battle, and the fighting will rage like a storm. 15Their king and his officers will go into exile.”

Moab

1The LORD says, “The people of Moab have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They dishonoured the bones of the king of Edom by burning them to ashes. 2I will send fire upon the land of Moab and burn down the fortresses of Kerioth. The people of Moab will die in the noise of battle while soldiers are shouting and trumpets are sounding. 3I will kill the ruler of Moab and all the leaders of the land.”

Judah

4The LORD says, “The people of Judah have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They have despised my teachings and have not kept my commands. They have been led astray by the same false gods that their ancestors served. 5So I will send fire upon Judah and burn down the fortresses of Jerusalem.”

God's Judgement on Israel

6The LORD says, “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and for this I will certainly punish them. They sell into slavery honest people who cannot pay their debts, the poor who cannot repay even the price of a pair of sandals. 7They trample down the weak and helpless and push the poor out of the way. A man and his father have intercourse with the same slave woman, and so profane my holy name. 8At every place of worship people sleep on clothing that they have taken from the poor as security for debts. In the temple of their God they drink wine which they have taken from those who owe them money.

9“And yet, my people, it was for your sake that I totally destroyed the Amorites, who were as tall as cedar trees and as strong as oaks. 10I brought you out of Egypt, led you through the desert for forty years, and gave you the land of the Amorites to be your own. 11I chose some of your sons to be prophets, and some of your young men to be Nazirites. Isn't this true, people of Israel? I, the LORD, have spoken. 12But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and ordered the prophets not to speak my message. 13And now I will crush you to the ground, and you will groan like a cart loaded with corn. 14Not even fast runners will escape; strong men will lose their strength, and soldiers will not be able to save their own lives. 15Bowmen will not stand their ground, fast runners will not get away, and men on horses will not escape with their lives. 16On that day even the bravest soldiers will drop their weapons and run.” The LORD has spoken.

1People of Israel, listen to this message which the LORD has spoken about you, the entire nation that he brought out of Egypt: 2“Of all the nations on earth, you are the only one I have known and cared for. That is what makes your sins so terrible, and that is why I must punish you for them.”

The Prophet's Task

3Do two people start travelling together without arranging to meet?

4Does a lion roar in the forest unless he has found a victim?

Does a young lion growl in his den unless he has caught something?

5Does a bird get caught in a trap if the trap has not been baited?

Does a trap spring unless something sets it off?

6Does the war trumpet sound in a city without making the people afraid?

Does disaster strike a city unless the LORD sends it?

7The Sovereign LORD never does anything without revealing his plan to his servants, the prophets.

8When a lion roars, who can avoid being afraid?

When the Sovereign LORD speaks, who can avoid proclaiming his message?

The Doom of Samaria

9Announce to those who live in the palaces of Egypt and Ashdod: “Gather together in the hills surrounding Samaria and see the great disorder and the crimes being committed there.”

10The LORD says, “These people fill their mansions with things taken by crime and violence. They don't even know how to be honest. 11And so an enemy will surround their land, destroy their defences, and plunder their mansions.”

12The LORD says, “As a shepherd recovers only two legs or an ear of a sheep that a lion has eaten, so only a few will survive of Samaria's people, who now recline on luxurious couches. 13Listen now, and warn the descendants of Jacob,” says the Sovereign LORD Almighty. 14“On the day when I punish the people of Israel for their sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel. The corners of every altar will be broken off and will fall to the ground. 15I will destroy winter houses and summer houses. The houses decorated with ivory will fall in ruins; every large house will be destroyed.”

1Listen to this, you women of Samaria, who grow fat like the well-fed cows of Bashan, who ill-treat the weak, oppress the poor, and demand that your husbands keep you supplied with liquor! 2As the Sovereign LORD is holy, he has promised, “The days will come when they will drag you away with hooks; every one of you will be like a fish on a hook. 3You will be dragged to the nearest break in the wall and thrown out.”

Israel's Failure to Learn

4The Sovereign LORD says, “People of Israel, go to the holy place in Bethel and sin, if you must! Go to Gilgal and sin with all your might! Go ahead and bring animals to be sacrificed morning after morning, and bring your tithes every third day. 5Go ahead and offer your bread in thanksgiving to God, and boast about the extra offerings you bring! This is the kind of thing you love to do.

6“I was the one who brought famine to all your cities, yet you did not come back to me. 7I held back the rain when your crops needed it most. I sent rain on one city, but not on another. Rain fell on one field, but another field dried up. 8Weak with thirst, the people of several cities went to a city where they hoped to find water, but there was not enough to drink. Still you did not come back to me.

9“I sent a scorching wind to dry up your crops. The locusts ate up all your gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees. Still you did not come back to me.

10“I sent a plague on you like the one I sent on Egypt. I killed your young men in battle and took your horses away. I filled your nostrils with the stink of dead bodies in your camps. Still you did not come back to me.

11“I destroyed some of you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like a burning stick saved from a fire. Still you did not come back to me,” says the LORD. 12“So then, people of Israel, I am going to punish you. And because I am going to do this, get ready to face my judgement!”

13God is the one who made the mountains

and created the winds.

He makes his thoughts known to people;

he changes day into night.

He walks on the heights of the earth.

This is his name: the LORD God Almighty!

A Call to Repentance

1Listen, people of Israel, to this funeral song which I sing over you:

2Virgin Israel has fallen,

Never to rise again!

She lies abandoned on the ground,

And no one helps her up.

3The Sovereign LORD says, “A city in Israel sends out a thousand soldiers, but only a hundred return; another city sends out a hundred, but only ten come back.”

4The LORD says to the people of Israel, “Come to me, and you will live. 5Do not go to Beersheba to worship. Do not try to find me at Bethel — Bethel will come to nothing. Do not go to Gilgal — her people are doomed to exile.”

6Go to the LORD, and you will live. If you do not go, he will sweep down like fire on the people of Israel. The fire will burn up the people of Bethel, and no one will be able to put it out. 7You are doomed, you that twist justice and cheat people out of their rights!

8The LORD made the stars,

the Pleiades and Orion.

He turns darkness into daylight,

and day into night.

He calls for the waters of the sea

and pours them out on the earth.

His name is the LORD.

9He brings destruction on the mighty and their strongholds.

10You people hate anyone who challenges injustice and speaks the whole truth in court. 11You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant. 12I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts. 13And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the clever thing to do!

14Make it your aim to do what is right, not what is evil, so that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty really will be with you, as you claim he is. 15Hate what is evil, love what is right, and see that justice prevails in the courts. Perhaps the LORD will be merciful to the people of this nation who are still left alive.

16And so the Sovereign LORD Almighty says, “There will be wailing and cries of sorrow in the city streets. Even farmers will be called to mourn the dead along with those who are paid to mourn. 17There will be wailing in all the vineyards. All this will take place because I am coming to punish you.” The LORD has spoken.

18How terrible it will be for you who long for the day of the LORD! What good will that day do you? For you it will be a day of darkness and not of light. 19It will be like someone who runs from a lion and meets a bear! Or like someone who comes home and puts his hand on the wall — only to be bitten by a snake! 20The day of the LORD will bring darkness and not light; it will be a day of gloom, without any brightness.

21The LORD says, “I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! 22When you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. 23Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. 24Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.

25“People of Israel, I did not demand sacrifices and offerings during those forty years that I led you through the desert. 26But now, because you have worshipped images of Sakkuth, your king god, and of Kaiwan, your star god, you will have to carry those images 27when I take you into exile in a land beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is Almighty God.

A Prayer for Guidance and Protection

1To you, O LORD, I offer my prayer;

2in you, my God, I trust.

Save me from the shame of defeat;

don't let my enemies gloat over me!

3Defeat does not come to those who trust in you,

but to those who are quick to rebel against you.

4Teach me your ways, O LORD;

make them known to me.

5Teach me to live according to your truth,

for you are my God, who saves me.

I always trust in you.

6Remember, O LORD, your kindness and constant love

which you have shown from long ago.

7Forgive the sins and errors of my youth.

In your constant love and goodness,

remember me, LORD!

8Because the LORD is righteous and good,

he teaches sinners the path they should follow.

9He leads the humble in the right way

and teaches them his will.

10With faithfulness and love he leads

all who keep his covenant and obey his commands.

11Keep your promise, LORD, and forgive my sins,

for they are many.

12Those who have reverence for the LORD

will learn from him the path they should follow.

13They will always be prosperous,

and their children will possess the land.

14The LORD is the friend of those who obey him

and he affirms his covenant with them.

15I look to the LORD for help at all times,

and he rescues me from danger.

16Turn to me, LORD, and be merciful to me,

because I am lonely and weak.

17Relieve me of my worries

and save me from all my troubles.

18Consider my distress and suffering

and forgive all my sins.

19See how many enemies I have;

see how much they hate me.

20Protect me and save me;

keep me from defeat.

I come to you for safety.

21May my goodness and honesty preserve me,

because I trust in you.

22From all their troubles, O God,

save your people Israel!

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