Amos 2:4-5 “Thus saith the Lord; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”
a. For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment: It hurts to see the same judgment formula applied against Judah – the people of God – as was applied against the previous six Gentile nations. It shows that Judah piled “sin upon sin upon sin” just like the other nations.
i. We find it easy – and comfortable – to expose and rebuke the sins of those who aren’t the followers of God. That is what Amos did with the first six pronouncements of judgment, but just as Amos went on to look at sin among God’s people, we should do the same.
b. Because they have despised the law of the Lord: Judah’s sin was that they despised and disobeyed the law of the Lord. This is a higher accountability than God required of any of the six Gentile nations previously mentioned in Amos. God blessed His people with His law and commandments, but He expected them to honor and obey His word.
c. Their lies lead them astray: Since the word of God brings us truth, when we despise and disobey God’s word we naturally embrace and follow lies. You can’t reject the truth without grabbing hold of a lie.
d. I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem: Because Judah sinned like the other nations, they will be judged as the other nations, with fire against them and their palaces (Amos 1:4, 1:7, 1:10, 1:12, 1:14, 2:2).
i. The repeated use of fire to express judgment is continued in the New Testament. Without doubt, Amos meant material fire coming against material walls and palaces, but the Bible also uses fire in a spiritual way, to describe the purifying work of God in the believer. The Bible says that God will test the works of each believer with fire, to burn away what is unworthy (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). The Bible says believers will be tested by fire (1 Peter 1:6-7).
ii. When we think of God’s purifying fire, we should think the way Peter expressed in 1 Peter 4:17: For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God. We should invite God to burn down whatever “walls” or “palaces” we build against Him, so His work can continue in us and through us without hindrance.
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission