Amos 5:4-27 Exposition by C H Spurgeon
Amos 5:4. For thus saith
the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live.
And that it just the message of God
to professing Christians now: Seek ye me. Get away from your mere
ceremonies, from trusting in your outward performances, and get really
to God himself. Get beyond your fellow-worshippers and your ministers,
beyond your sanctuaries and your supposed holy places, and get in
spirit and in truth to God himself: Seek ye me, and ye shall live.
5:5. But seek not Beth-el,
nor enter into Gilgal and pass not to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall
surely go into captivity, and Beth-el shall come to nought.
These were the places where the
calves and other idols were set up for the worship of God by means of
visible symbols. That was the Romanism of that day. Pure spiritual
worship was ordained by God, but that was not enough for the
idolatrous Israelites. They must needs set up the image of an ox, the
emblem of power, not that they would worship the ox, they said, but
that they might worship the God of power through that symbol. And that
is the plea of Papists to-day: We do not worship that cross; we do
not worship that image; but these things help us. They are emblems.
But they are absolutely forbidden by God: Thou shalt not make unto
thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven
above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under
the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.
The first commandment forbids us to have any other God than Jehovah;
the second forbids us to worship him through any emblem or symbol
5:6, 7. Seek the LORD, and
ye shall live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and
devour it, and there be none to quench it in Beth-el. Ye who turn
judgment to wormwood, and leave off righteousness in the earth,
Here you have another great truth,
that, in order to seek God aright, we must turn away from sin. All
the Ritualism in the world will not save us, or be acceptable to God;
there must be purity of life, and holiness of character; justice must
be done between man and man, and we must seek to be right before the
righteous and holy God.
5:8. Seek him that maketh the
seven stars and Orion,
The Creator of the spring-bringing
Pleiades, and of the winter-bringing Orion,
5:8, 9. And turneth the
shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night:
that calleth for the wafers of the sea, and poureth them out upon the
face of the earth: The LORD is his name: that strengtheneth the
spoiled against the strong, so that the spoiled shall come against the
The God of the weak, the Defender
of the oppressed. Ye that oppress the poor, and tread down the people,
seek ye him, and wash your hands from the steins of your past
5:10. They hate him that
rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.
There is still a generation that
cannot bear to be told of its faults, and that shows its venom against
everything that is right.
5:11. Forasmuch therefore as
your treading is upon the poor, and ye take from him burdens of wheat:
ye have built houses of hewn stone but ye shall not dwell in them; ye
have planted pleasant vineyards, but ye shall not drink wine of them.
God has often shown how be can
overthrow those who oppress the poor.
5:12-17. For I know your
manifold transgressions and your mighty sins: they afflict the just,
they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their
right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time, for it
is an evil time. Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the
LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the
evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be
that the LORD God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of
Joseph. Therefore the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord saith thus,
Wailing shall be in all streets, and they shall say in all the
highways, Alas! alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning,
and such as are skillful of lamentation to wailing. And in all
vineyards shall be wailing: for I will pass through thee, saith the
National sins bring down national
judgments; and when God grows angry against the people, he makes the
places of their feasting, the vineyards where grow their choicest
vines, to become the places of their sorrow, so that wailing and
distress are heard on all sides. Oh, that nations knew the day of
their visitation, and would do justly! Then would such judgments be
5:18. Woe unto you that
desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the
LORD is darkness, and not light.
The day of the Lord is darkness,
and not light, for such as you, impenitent, unjust, graceless
sinners. The day of the Lord will not bring blessings to you; but
it will be
5:19. As if a man did flee
from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned
his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.
From bad to worse do they go who
think to escape from present misery by plunging into the presence of
God. The suicide is, of all fools, the greatest, for he goes before
God with his own indictments, nay, with his own sentence in his hand.
He needs no trial; he has condemned himself.
5:20-22. Shall not the day of
the LORD be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness
in it. I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your
solemn assemblies. Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat
offerings, I will not accept these: neither will I regard the peace
offerings of your fat beasts.
See how Gods speaks about public
worship and formal sacrifices when the heart is not right with him.
When the moral conduct of the offerer is wrong, the Lord will not
accept his offering.
5:23, 24. Take thou away
from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy
viols. But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a
This is what God asks for,
righteousness, not sweet music. Have they not, at this very day,
turned what were once houses of prayer into music-halls, set up their
idols in our parish churches, and adorned their priests with every
kind of Babylonian garment which they could find at Rome, the mystical
Babylon? Are they not turning this nation back again to that accursed
Popery, the yoke of which our fathers could not bear? Therefore, the
Lord is wroth with this land; there are storm-clouds gathering over
it, because it is not sufficiently stirred with indignation against
those idolatrous men who are again seeking to come to the front among
5:25. Have ye offered unto me
sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of
Did you worship me? Did you offer
sacrifices to me? No, said God, ye did not.
5:26, 27. But ye have borne
the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chiun your images, the star of your
god, which ye made to yourselves. Therefore will I cause you to go
into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the LORD, whose name is The God
Oh, for pure worship! Oh, for pure
living! Oh, for hearts that spiritually worship the Lord, for Jesus
said, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in
spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my
statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?
HYMNS FROM OUR OWN HYMN BOOK
364, 529; AND FROM SACRED SONGS AND SOLOS 39.
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