The Message of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa, that he received on behalf of Israel. It came to him in visions during the time that Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II son of Joash was king of Israel, two years before the big earthquake.

Swallowing the Same Old Lies

The Message:

God roars from Zion,
    shouts from Jerusalem!
The thunderclap voice withers the pastures tended by shepherds,
    shrivels Mount Carmel’s proud peak.

3-5 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Damascus
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She pounded Gilead to a pulp, pounded her senseless
    with iron hammers and mauls.
For that, I’m setting the palace of Hazael on fire.
    I’m torching Ben-hadad’s forts.
I’m going to smash the Damascus gates
    and banish the crime king who lives in Sin Valley,
    the vice boss who gives orders from Paradise Palace.
The people of the land will be sent back
    to where they came from—to Kir.”
        God’s Decree.

6-8 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Gaza
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She deported whole towns
    and then sold the people to Edom.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of Gaza,
    burning up all her forts.
I’ll banish the crime king from Ashdod,
    the vice boss from Ashkelon.
I’ll raise my fist against Ekron,
    and what’s left of the Philistines will die.”
        God’s Decree.

9-10 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Tyre
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She deported whole towns to Edom,
    breaking the treaty she had with her kin.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of Tyre,
    burning up all her forts.”

11-12 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Edom
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She hunts down her brother to murder him.
    She has no pity, she has no heart.
Her anger rampages day and night.
    Her meanness never takes a timeout.
For that, I’m burning down her capital, Teman,
    burning up the forts of Bozrah.”

13-15 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Ammon
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She ripped open pregnant women in Gilead
    to get more land for herself.
For that, I’m burning down the walls of her capital, Rabbah,
    burning up her forts.
Battle shouts! War whoops!
    with a tornado to finish things off!
The king has been carted off to exile,
    the king and his princes with him.”
        God’s Decree.

* * *

1-3 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Moab
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with her any longer.
She violated the corpse of Edom’s king,
    burning it to cinders.
For that, I’m burning down Moab,
    burning down the forts of Kerioth.
Moab will die in the shouting,
    go out in the blare of war trumpets.
I’ll remove the king from the center
    and kill all his princes with him.”
        God’s Decree.

4-5 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Judah
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with them any longer.
They rejected God’s revelation,
    refused to keep my commands.
But they swallowed the same old lies
    that got their ancestors onto dead-end roads.
For that, I’m burning down Judah,
    burning down all the forts of Jerusalem.”

Destroyed from the Roots Up

6-8 God’s Message:

“Because of the three great sins of Israel
    —make that four—I’m not putting up with them any longer.
They buy and sell upstanding people.
    People for them are only things—ways of making money.
They’d sell a poor man for a pair of shoes.
    They’d sell their own grandmother!
They grind the penniless into the dirt,
    shove the luckless into the ditch.
Everyone and his brother sleeps with the ‘sacred whore’—
    a sacrilege against my Holy Name.
Stuff they’ve extorted from the poor
    is piled up at the shrine of their god,
While they sit around drinking wine
    they’ve conned from their victims.

9-11 “In contrast, I was always on your side.
    I destroyed the Amorites who confronted you,
Amorites with the stature of great cedars,
    tough as thick oaks.
I destroyed them from the top branches down.
    I destroyed them from the roots up.
And yes, I’m the One who delivered you from Egypt,
    led you safely through the wilderness for forty years
And then handed you the country of the Amorites
    like a piece of cake on a platter.
I raised up some of your young men to be prophets,
    set aside your best youth for training in holiness.
Isn’t this so, Israel?”
    God’s Decree.

12-13 “But you made the youth-in-training break training,
    and you told the young prophets, ‘Don’t prophesy!’
You’re too much for me.
    I’m hard-pressed—to the breaking point.
I’m like a wagon piled high and overloaded,
    creaking and groaning.

14-16 “When I go into action, what will you do?
    There’s no place to run no matter how fast you run.
The strength of the strong won’t count.
    Fighters won’t make it.
Skilled archers won’t make it.
    Fast runners won’t make it.
Chariot drivers won’t make it.
    Even the bravest of all your warriors
Won’t make it.
    He’ll run off for dear life, stripped naked.”
        God’s Decree.

The Lion Has Roared

Listen to this, Israel. God is calling you to account—and I mean all of you, everyone connected with the family that he delivered out of Egypt. Listen!

“Out of all the families on earth,
    I picked you.
Therefore, because of your special calling,
    I’m holding you responsible for all your sins.”

3-7 Do two people walk hand in hand
    if they aren’t going to the same place?
Does a lion roar in the forest
    if there’s no carcass to devour?
Does a young lion growl with pleasure
    if he hasn’t caught his supper?
Does a bird fall to the ground
    if it hasn’t been hit with a stone?
Does a trap spring shut
    if nothing trips it?
When the alarm goes off in the city,
    aren’t people alarmed?
And when disaster strikes the city,
    doesn’t God stand behind it?
The fact is, God, the Master, does nothing
    without first telling his prophets the whole story.

The lion has roared—
    who isn’t frightened?
God has spoken—
    what prophet can keep quiet?

* * *

9-11 Announce to the forts of Assyria,
    announce to the forts of Egypt—
Tell them, “Gather on the Samaritan mountains, take a good, hard look:
    what a snake pit of brutality and terror!
They can’t—or won’t—do one thing right.” God said so.
    “They stockpile violence and blight.
Therefore”—this is God’s Word—“an enemy will surround the country.
    He’ll strip you of your power and plunder your forts.”

12 God’s Message:

“In the same way that a shepherd
    trying to save a lamb from a lion
Manages to recover
    just a pair of legs or the scrap of an ear,
So will little be saved of the Israelites
    who live in Samaria—
A couple of old chairs at most,
    the broken leg of a table.

13-15 “Listen and bring witness against Jacob’s family”—
    this is God’s Word, God-of-the-Angel-Armies!
“Note well! The day I make Israel pay for its sins,
    pay for the sin-altars of worship at Bethel,
The horned altars will all be dehorned
    and scattered around.
I’ll tear down the winter palace,
    smash the summer palace—all your fancy buildings.
The luxury homes will be demolished,
    all those pretentious houses.”
        God’s Decree.

You Never Got Hungry for God

“Listen to this, you cows of Bashan
    grazing on the slopes of Samaria.
You women! Mean to the poor,
    cruel to the down-and-out!
Indolent and pampered, you demand of your husbands,
    ‘Bring us a tall, cool drink!’

2-3 “This is serious—I, God, have sworn by my holiness!
    Be well warned: Judgment Day is coming!
They’re going to rope you up and haul you off,
    keep the stragglers in line with cattle prods.
They’ll drag you through the ruined city walls,
    forcing you out single file,
And kick you to kingdom come.”
    God’s Decree.

4-5 “Come along to Bethel and sin!
    And then to Gilgal and sin some more!
Bring your sacrifices for morning worship.
    Every third day bring your tithe.
Burn pure sacrifices—thank offerings.
    Speak up—announce freewill offerings!
That’s the sort of religious show
    you Israelites just love.”
        God’s Decree.

“You know, don’t you, that I’m the One
    who emptied your pantries and cleaned out your cupboards,
Who left you hungry and standing in bread lines?
    But you never got hungry for me. You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

7-8 “Yes, and I’m the One who stopped the rains
    three months short of harvest.
I’d make it rain on one village
    but not on another.
I’d make it rain on one field
    but not on another—and that one would dry up.
People would stagger from village to village
    crazed for water and never quenching their thirst.
But you never got thirsty for me.
    You ignored me.”
        God’s Decree.

“I hit your crops with disease
    and withered your orchards and gardens.
Locusts devoured your olive and fig trees,
    but you continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

10 “I revisited you with the old Egyptian plagues,
    killed your choice young men and prize horses.
The stink of rot in your camps was so strong
    that you held your noses—
But you didn’t notice me.
    You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

11 “I hit you with earthquake and fire,
    left you devastated like Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick
    snatched from the flames.
But you never looked my way.
    You continued to ignore me.”
        God’s Decree.

12 “All this I have done to you, Israel,
    and this is why I have done it.
Time’s up, O Israel!
    Prepare to meet your God!”

13 Look who’s here: Mountain-Shaper! Wind-Maker!
    He laid out the whole plot before Adam.
He brings everything out of nothing,
    like dawn out of darkness.
He strides across the alpine ridges.
    His name is God, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.

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