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Read Amos 4

Israel Has Not Returned to God

Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria,
    you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy
    and say to your husbands, “Bring us some drinks!”
The Sovereign Lord has sworn by his holiness:
    “The time will surely come
when you will be taken away with hooks,
    the last of you with fishhooks.
You will each go straight out
    through breaches in the wall,
    and you will be cast out toward Harmon,”
declares the Lord.
“Go to Bethel and sin;
    go to Gilgal and sin yet more.
Bring your sacrifices every morning,
    your tithes every three years.
Burn leavened bread as a thank offering
    and brag about your freewill offerings—
boast about them, you Israelites,
    for this is what you love to do,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city
    and lack of bread in every town,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“I also withheld rain from you
    when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
    but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
    another had none and dried up.
People staggered from town to town for water
    but did not get enough to drink,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
    destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

10 “I sent plagues among you
    as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
    along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

11 “I overthrew some of you
    as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
    and because I will do this to you, Israel,
    prepare to meet your God.”

13 He who forms the mountains,
    who creates the wind,
    and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
    and treads on the heights of the earth—
    the Lord God Almighty is his name.

Go Deeper

Amos doesn’t mince words as he continues to call out the injustices of Israel. Social and spiritual corruption had overtaken them, leaving their acts as a stench to God. Bashan was known for its fertile pasture land perfect for raising cattle. As the livestock flourished, the men spoiled their women with all kinds of luxury. The women suffered from an entitled mindset and demanded more and more, while they actively oppressed and crushed the poor. The women so valued their material possessions, they were willing to abuse others and most importantly deny God’s laws to get them. Through Amos, God condemns their blatant selfishness and promises they “will be thrown from their fortresses” (v. 3).

Amos mentions two places (Bethel and Gilgal) that were important sites in Israel’s history where God had visited His people. Bethel was the place where God renewed his covenant with Abraham to Jacob. Gilgal had been Israel’s first campground after entering the promised land (and later on would be the location of the Passover). These sacred places were now entrenched in idol worship instead of worshiping the one true God. Amos mentioned this was not just a casual act, but the kind of thing the Israelites loved to do. God was longing to visit His people again, only if they would recognize their deceitful hearts and turn back to Him.

A glance back in Israel’s past would reveal that God indeed would not be ignored but would bring judgment on sin. He had warned the people through famine, drought, blight, locusts, plagues and war, but the people blatantly refused to turn to Him. They soon would have to face God, who they had rejected over and over again. God used Amos as his mouthpiece to reveal his plan. The people had been warned, and so have we.

Before we cast too many stones at the Israelites, a close examination of our own hearts will reveal similar sins. We may try to “pick and choose” which of God’s commands we follow, instead of obeying the whole law of God. Stubbornness clouds our vision and blinds us to the deception lurking in our hearts. We are prone to live inauthentic lives avoiding repentance to protect our image and gratify the flesh. We forget that sovereign God will not be mocked. “He is here: The One who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, the One who makes dawn out of darkness and strides on the heights of earth. Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name”(v. 13).


  1. What sins do you indulge yourself in and need to confess and repent of?  Write them down and share your thoughts with a trusted person to hold you accountable.
  2. Most of us would never see ourselves as oppressing or crushing the poor. How are you actively seeking to serve the poor in your community and around the world? 
  3. One day each of us will meet God face to face to give an account of what we have done or refused to do.  Are you prepared to meet Him? Why or why not?

Listen Here

We often indulge our wants and desires, much like Israel did, as a way to attain comfort. Check out the sermon “Indulgence” from the series “The Seven Deadly Sins of Suburbia”.

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3 thoughts on “Amos 4”

  1. Israel has failed to learn from its past mistakes and continues to blunder into sins God finds detestable. As a result they have experienced hunger, famine, drought, ruined crops & vineyards, plagues, death of young men and horses, and destruction of cities. Still they remain aloof and unrepentant. God proves he is long suffering, willing that no one should perish. Amos delivers a message from God repeating these words 5 times, “But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the Lord. When sin hardens our hearts, its desire is to fully destroy us. God woos and warns us, the real question is what is the condition of OUR hearts? How are we like the pampered, luxury loving women of Bashan Amos calls out? The beautiful thing about the gospel is at anytime we can reject sin and find forgiveness in our Savior. May we be sensitive and train our ears to hear & obey His voice, “This is the way, walk in it.”( Isaiah 30:21) That’s how we prepare to meet our God.

  2. Spot on, Ella. Five times…”But still you wouldn’t return to me,” says the Lord. Read this passage more than once and that declaration should jump at you.
    Is this not so true on many levels? Look at our church attendance across the globe since our plague? This world has turned back to normalcy and we have quickly forgotten God. Hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and freezes come and go, and we haven’t returned to God.
    There are churches struggling not just financially, but struggling for individual involvement across our state.
    But not only is it the individual’s choice to turn from God, many are turning away from people and not having Godly relationships in every day life.
    How do we, as followers of Christ, reach those in need of returning back to God? Do you know of someone you see struggling with the stress of today’s world gone astray? Is there someone in your Sunday class that hasn’t been attending?
    (This is for me) Reach out. Get involved. Start a ministry in your church that leaves the 99 and finds the lost members. Do your part to help return people back to God.

    Thank you, Father for your relentless love for your people even though we repeatedly fail you. Help us to get out of our comfort, and reach those who are lost. Give us strength to be bold in declaring our faith to others and be the light in a fallen world. Thank you for this reminder today. In Jesus name

  3. We are all sin and fall short of the Glory of God. I had a young man who wad not a believer in Christ tell me he thought when you accept Christ then you have to become perfect and you cannot sin. I said oh my no we try to not sin but Jesus was the only perfect man and we can only endeavor to knowingly not do wrong things. I told him God so loves us that He wants us to be His kids and have a relationship with Him. We will not be perfect and He knows that but has made the way for us through Christ. He is still on the fence he says so y’all pray for him. BUT GOD I am so thankful that He shows us through Amos and His Word how and what is and has gone on so we can learn.

    God thank you for today this moment right now that I can do right things and make right choices to serve You and Your Kingdom!!! God I lift this young man to You that someone else waters Your seed. God Your wonder and majesty of this world amaze me. Thank You!!! In Jesus name amen

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