-A serious warning to take heed is given to the entire clan of the sons of Israel as chapter 3 begins. “Hear” (Shema in the Hebrew) is certainly an attention getter for the prophet as he speaks the LORD’s word to the people (Amos 3:1). God is telling them that they are special, His only chosen ones among all the families of the earth for His salvation plan and purpose. Therefore, He will not tolerate any iniquity and will punish it severely in order to straighten them out for the glory of His Holy Name (Amos 3:2). *Application* This warning has extreme significance for us as well who are called by the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ most Holy. God disciplines those whom He loves (Hebrews 12:6), so we had better pay attention when He speaks and obey. Here the call is to repentance and cleansing. Are we in the place in our lives where God is warning about impure living and trying to straighten us out before things get really worse and worse? Take heed and turn!
-The prophet Amos list several rhetorical questions from the LORD designed to make the people of Israel think. First, He wants them to realize that they have made a covenant agreement with Him who chose them in the first place (Exodus 24:7). An appointment had been made and they were expected to hold up their end of the bargain walking together in obedience to God’s plans and purposes (Amos 3:3). Second, the lion roaring refers back to Amos 1:2 and denotes the LORD’s fierce anger for a good and just reason (Amos 3:4, 8). Thirdly, the bird represents the children of Israel who have fallen for the lure of the enemy (the bait) and fallen headlong into sinful debauchery (Amos 3:5). Fourthly, the trap is God’s wrath poured out on them because of their sin (Amos 3:5). God will not miss His opportunity to teach and to train His people in the ways of the LORD. He will “capture” their attention through His discipline. Fifthly, the trumpet is a warning tool in Scripture. It is a wakeup call to those who are negligent and aloof of the pressing danger that is about to pounce on them (Amos 3:6). Lastly, there is no doubt from which calamity comes (Amos 3:6). *Application* This may give you some consternation as you meditate on the actions of our Almighty Sovereign in His vengeance and wrath and the allowance of calamity coming from Him ultimately. In this lies the theology of theodicy. Definition please? Theodicy is the defense of God’s goodness despite the existence of evil. Alvin Plantinga, an analytic philosopher from Notre Dame, has given what I believe to be the best argument for God’s goodness despite the evil we see in the world (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Plantinga's_free_will_defense for a start on this study if interested). The issue lies with freedom to choose, and when we as human beings choose evil, as every single one of us have, God must bring in corrective measures in His benevolence to straighten out the situation. He knows of the calamity, but gives every warning and way to avoid through His mercy and grace.
-Therefore, we have a great verse of Scripture in Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord God does nothing unless He reveals His secret counsel to His servants the prophets.” (Revelation 10:7) God makes known His plans so that the human adjustment to His will can be made and without excuse. He gave Pharaoh (Exodus 3:19; 4:21) and Saul (1 Samuel 15:26; 16:14) the same opportunities to turn to Him as anyone else. He does know the end from the beginning and can make exact prophecy from that, but the LORD is not deterministic in His nature (John 3:16, 1 Timothy 2:4, James 1:13-15, 2 Peter 3:9). His actions are always corrective and for the greater-ultimate good.
-God is calling the surrounding nations to the Samarian hills to observe the oppression and tumult within the Promised Land to His people (Amos 3:9). Again, we see that it is because they have rejected their LORD and “do not know how to do what is right (Amos 3:10).” They had stored up violence and devastation in their strong towers rather than doing the things God had required; therefore, the enemy had full authority and strength pillage and destroy (Amos 3:11). Their greatness would be cut down and even their homes were in deep and desperate trouble (Amos 3:15). *Application* Disobedience will eventually bring some very undesirable results in our lives. God will not be dishonored among His people and is jealous for us (Exodus 20:5-6).
Verses to Memorize: Amos 3:3, 7