What Life Is (Amos #13)

Text: Amos 5:1-3

Amos’ preaching illustrates the northern tribes of Israel as a fallen young girl in a field.  He likens Israel to a body being found and there is nothing to do but lament and perform burial services.  She’s found out in the field because she’d sought after pleasure and prosperity to her own ruin. Notice verses 4, 6, 8, and 14 which we’ll cover in another sermon.  She had wandered far enough away from God there was no turning back. Now, that’s the illustration Amos uses in his preaching here.

Call to mourn (vs 1)

  • Hear ye this word which I take up against you… (vs 1)
    • This sermon, like the last two, begins with the word “hear.”  That means listen.  That means pay attention.  The interesting thing is the Lord is describing the death of Israel to Israel.
    • (Three men went hunting.  One was a preacher. They all saw this great big buck.  They all took aim at the same time. They all three shot at the same time and the buck fell down dead.  They all came up to the dead buck and began to argue about who shot it. Game Warden showed up. They told him their dilemma.  Game Warden said, Let me look at it. He inspected the buck. Saw the entry wound, saw the exit wound and concluded the preacher shot the buck.  The other two fellows protested and asked why. Game Warden said, Because the bullet went in one ear and out the other.)
  • …even a lamentation…
    • A lamentation is to regret someone’s life with grief expressed in complaints.  To look at someone who has ruined their own life after being warned time and time again, but there is nothing that can be done.
    • It’s like a mother clinging to her lifeless son who was shot by some rival gang member.  And under the veil of tears asking why, why, why?! Her “why” is not really a question as it is a statement of regret.
    • Israel’s body has been found in a field.  And God is speaking to the body of the deceased.  He’s lamenting the life that has gone out of her not because it had to, but because of the choices she made.

Collapse of Israel (vs 2)

  • The virgin of Israel is fallen…
  • Let’s consider the fall.
  • If a lifeless body is found in a field, the first question is are they alright? What happened?
  • Why did they fall?
    • Elisha has been dead for ten or twenty years.  The voice of the Lord has been gone from the nation for that time.  In the absence of preaching, people will live in their own world without input from the Lord.  The wicked king Jeroboam II has done some great things in Israel and made Israel much more prosperous.
    • 2 Kings 14:24, 27-28 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD: he departed not from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin. … 27 And the LORD said not that he would blot out the name of Israel from under heaven: but he saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash. 28 Now the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, and all that he did, and his might, how he warred, and how he recovered Damascus, and Hamath, which belonged to Judah, for Israel, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
    • Israel is enjoying luxurious living.  Seeking pleasure is to the exclusion of seeking God.  Party scene is exciting. Prosperity is flowing. Pleasure is intoxicating.  And the Spirit of God is gone.
    • The Lord equates the fall with the departure of His Spirit from the nation of Israel.
    • Spirit departed – Grandpa’s fall when I was 2 years old.  My first memory.
    • The virgin of Israel is fallen…
  • John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
  • Romans 8:10 And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
  • Galatians 6:8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
  • Revelation 11:11 And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.

Concluding diagnosis (vs 2)

  • …she shall no more rise…
  • She is pronounced dead.  There will be no recovery.  
    • He says Hear this word which I take up against you, so Amos is describing Israel’s death to Israel.  This is God’s perspective that shows life has left the body before the body stops moving.
    • Romans 7:5-6 For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, (The movements were not life, they were sin moving in the body.  And we mistake movement for life.) which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. 6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
    • Ephesians 2:1, 3 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; … fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind…

Castaway in her home (vs 2)

  • …she is forsaken upon her land…
  • Her body is found on her property
  • Forsaken by who?
    • She’s not forsaken by her enemies.  That’d be a great thing if her enemies left her alone.
    • Forsaken by the one she’s engaged to.
  • Isaiah 62:4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.
  • God is describing His abandonment of Israel.
  • John 3:29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Cursed by God (vs 2)

  • …there is none to raise her up.
  • She is under the curse of God.
  • Is there a doctor in the house?  No, she’s abandoned the Great Physician.  The only one able to treat her case is the one she will not see.

Consumed by the enemy (vs 3)

  • For thus saith the Lord… (vs 3)
  • As the body will be consumed by bugs and scavengers so Israel will be picked apart until a tenth of her is left.
  • Isaiah 6:11-13 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, 12 And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land. 13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof.
  • I don’t mean to be gross with this sermon, but I’m sure you’ve seen worse on TV.  You’ve probably been entertained by more grotesque pictures than this, but for some reason you have a problem with it coming from a sermon.

Conclusion of the matter

  • Here is the application to the nation of Israel.  God defines life as his presence. And if He’s not welcome, there is no life present in that nation or that body.
  • Lost say, Live life to the fullest.  You haven’t begun to live without the Lord Jesus Christ.  You’re just occupying yourself until the judgment.
  • He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
  • Jesus said I am the way the truth and the life.
  • In him was life the the life was the light of men.
  • John 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
  • 2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
  • Revelation 3:17, 20 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: … 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.