Ignorance is no excuse Amos 1

Amos 3:8 The lion has roared- who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken- who can but prophesy?

Amos brought his message of judgement in the days of Uzziah King of Judah and Jeroboam King of Israel around the same time as Hosea and Jonah and just before Isaiah around 760 BC. Amos compares God to a roaring lion on the prowl which has cornered its prey and is about to pounce.
Amos 1:2 “The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.”

God was roaring then and is surely roaring now like a lion at all the evil and wickedness of men and nations. God will only put up with injustice for so long. The day of judgement is surely coming! In later chapters Amos’s message is directed at Israel, God’s chosen people. But he begins with messages of judgement against Israel’s neighbours. These are pagan nations. They are not part of God’s covenant people. But that is no excuse for their sins and wickedness. These nations are not being condemned for sins against Israel. Their offences were committed against other pagan nations. But even though they were ignorant of the Law God had revealed to Moses, the nations would still face God’s judgement.

God created men and women in His own image. We are spiritual beings. We have a conscience which enables us to know the difference between right and wrong. And God has revealed enough about Himself in Creation for people to know that some things are truly wrong. They don’t need another and specific revelation of what is right and wrong. Everybody knows that certain things are wrong, certain actions are evil, in modern words, certain offences are offences against “basic human rights”. And anybody who does such things will face the judgement of a Holy and just God.

Romans 1:18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 ¶ since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

The problem is that human beings have deliberately and knowingly rejected God. They have turned away from God to worship false gods – in earlier days idols, in these days materialism and wealth and possessions and success and fame.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.

Many, many people have rejected God – so God rejects them. They have chosen to live their lives without God. So God has let them get on with it by themselves!
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator- who is for ever praised. Amen. 26 Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts.

So the judgement of God will fall on the world which is running away from Him!


“For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath].

Amos’s God is not only the LORD, Yahweh, the God of Israel. He is Above all the Almighty God, the Sovereign Lord. He is the Lord of all the earth, the Judge of all the earth.
Judgement is well-deserved! “For three sins, even for four.” The same for each of these nations. For 3 sins – each of them alone demanding judgement, that would been enough. ample provocation!!! But God is patient, until the fourth sin – the final straw. I wonder how many of the nations of the world are on their final warning – 3 strikes already, one more sin and you’re out!

Judgement is certain! “I will not turn back my wrath.” God has spoken. No escape now!!

5 I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the sceptre in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the LORD.

Judgement especially on the leaders of nations. The leaders are especially guilty. The King. And the King of Ashdod. The king of Ammon will go into exile, he and his officials together, The ruler of Moab and his officials.

Yet also judgement on the people collectively. The whole nation is condemned for its sins. The whole nation will be punished.
The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir, I will turn my hand against Ekron, till the last of the Philistines is dead,”

All these fortresses and cities destroyed. And in every case the judgement will be by fire. Fire raging and consuming and destroying the whole nations.

So what were these SINS OF MEN AND NATIONS?

So many atrocities – so many offences against basic human rights –examples of “Man’s inhumanity to man!” We could as easily find the same sins in the world today.

3 ¶ This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, 4 I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-hadad.

Ancient Damascus – using sledges with iron teeth – ploughs – it’s as if the people of Gilead has been put through a combine harvester! Evil and cruelty against a whole nation! This passages shows us that God cares about how nations wage war, and how they fight terrorism. The tactics of so-called Islamic State in Syria and Iraq with suicide bombers and using innocent civilians as human shields. The kidnapping of children by Boko Haram in Nigeria are just two examples. And in war, as in every area of life, the ends DO NOT justify the means! NEVER!

6 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Gaza, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she took captive whole communities and sold them to Edom, 7 I will send fire upon the walls of Gaza that will consume her fortresses.

Ancient Gaza – dealing in slavery. Treating people as possessions, as commodities. God cares how nations make their money! Exploiting other nations or their populations or their resources earns God’s judgement. And slavery didn’t end a hundred years ago. It’s not even just a problem in the 3rd world. In our contacts with Bulgaria we were aware of the problem with an orphanage where the so-called “carers” are selling the children into prostitution. And a newspaper recently reported that very many of the hundreds of prostitutes in one London borough had been trafficked into the country by organised gangs from Eastern Europe.

9 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Tyre, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she sold whole communities of captives to Edom, disregarding a treaty of brotherhood, 10 I will send fire upon the walls of Tyre that will consume her fortresses.”

Ancient Tyre – Slave trading and also dishonesty. disregarding a treaty of brotherhood Breaking their promises. Treachery on an international scale. Stabbing other people in the back. God is as angry when nations betray one another as when individuals betray each other.

11 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Edom, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he pursued his brother with a sword, stifling all compassion, because his anger raged continually and his fury flamed unchecked, 12 I will send fire upon Teman that will consume the fortresses of Bozrah.”

The Edomites were the descendents of Isaac’s oldest son Esau, from whom Jacob stole his birthright of his inheritance, his Father’s blessing and God’s promises. The Edomites stood opposed the Israelites ever since. Their sin was vengeance and revenge. Nations today must be very careful to ensure that their “worldwide war on terrorism” is concerned with prevention and protection rather than mere revenge.

13 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Ammon, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to extend his borders, 14 I will set fire to the walls of Rabbah that will consume her fortresses
Ancient Ammon. Slaughtering innocent civilians, even pregnant women, but more than that in doing so wiping out the next generation. Genocide, all “to extend his borders”. Such sins bring God’s judgement.

2:1 ¶ This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Moab, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because he burned, as if to lime, the bones of Edom’s king, 2 I will send fire upon Moab that will consume the fortresses of Kerioth.

In all cultures there is a respect for the dead. For graveyards and burial places. Moab’s sin was desecrating the graves of their enemies. The sins of Auswitz and Belsen.


Brutality. Slavery. Treachery. Revenge. Genocide. Sacrilege. Sins against people, against innocents, against even the unborn and the dead. Man’s inhumanity to man. We can find examples of all these sins and so many more on the world stage today. Paul’s words in Romans 1 are as true today.

28 Furthermore, since they did not think it worth while to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

Inventing new ways of doing evil! And all these are not only sins against our fellow men. Even worse they are sins against Almighty God. sins which will bring judgement. The word of the Lord to Amos is as true for the world today.

Amos 1:2 “The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.”

History tells us that the judgements promised DID fall on Damascus and Gaza and Tyre and Edom and Ammon and Moab, as under God’s hand the mighty nation of Babylon invaded them all and one by one these nations were all wiped out. And judgement will come again. There is a limit to God’s patience. God WILL JUDGE all evildoers. The leaders of the nations. And their peoples. And if that judgement does not come in this world, it will certainly come in the next as every single person alive or dead will stand before the judgement throne of God! Ignorance is no excuse.

So-called Christian countries will not escape God’s judgment either. There is a quote from John Calvin which is doing the rounds at the moment. Some are applying it to Britain after the Referendum decision to leave the European Union. More are applying to the USA after their election of Donald Trump to be their next president. “When God wants to judge a nation, He gives them wicked rulers.” Many in the United States trust in their Christian heritage. Their national motto is “In God We Trust” and those words appears on all their coins and bank notes. But that motto does not mean that the United States will escape the judgment of the Holy and Righteous God. And similarly, many people in Britain like to think we are a Christian country but we know that is no longer the case, if ever it was. Our nation too will be called to account for the evil we have done, and the good we have left undone, through ignorance, through weakness and through our own deliberate fault.

We are going to spend some time in prayer now. And I am going to use a prayer written by Pastor Joe Wright of Central Christian Church, Wichita, Kansas 20 years ago for the opening of the Kansas Senate. It is even more relevant today than it was then.

Heavenly Father,
we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and seek your direction and guidance. We know your Word says, “Woe on those who call evil good” (Isaiah 5:20) but that’s exactly what we’ve done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

We confess that:
We have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it moral pluralism;
We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism;
We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle;

We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery;
We have neglected the needy and called it self-preservation;

We have killed our unborn and called it choice;
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable;

We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building esteem;
We have abused power and called it political savvy;
We have coveted our neighbour’s possessions and called it ambition;

We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression;
We have ridiculed the time-honoured values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free…

In the name of your son, the living Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

This entry was posted in Amos.

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