“Where are the offerers?”
Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.
Read Amos 4
Today we would like to look at a different aspect of the offerings brought by Israel. When we read the detailed information concerning the various offerings, we get the impression that the Lord was only interested in the offering itself. It seems that the redemption of sin by the offering was a matter of course, even a direct answer given from heaven.
However, from Amos 4 we see that this is not the case at all; grace is not bought cheaply. Amos addresses those who are quite satisfied with themselves. They may seem to be doing rather well momentarily, but in the near future they will have to flee for their lives from their enemies.
But the Israelites did not understand Amos’ message. Did they not offer sacrifices continually at Gilgal and Bethel? Spiritually speaking, everything seemed to be going smoothly; offerings were being brought freely. Why did the Lord then pronounce heavy judgments against them? Why was the gloomy verdict stated repeatedly: “yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD” (v.9)?
When we read verses 4 and 5 we are confronted with the following alarming facts: Bethel and Gilgal were important cities, historically speaking, but the offerings were not being brought to Jerusalem as they should have been. And so we do not read of any derision in response to verse 12 where Amos threateningly states, “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”
Where do we discern God’s patience in Amos 4?