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Book of Amos: Chapter 1 (Part 2)

In verse 11 of chapter 1, the focus moves away from the judgment of cities to that of nations. Amos draws the circle closer in towards the children of Abraham. The nation of Edom was descended from Esau, brother of Jacob, a.k.a. Israel. God calls them out for their persistent and constant hostility in warfare with Israel while having no compassion regarding their brother. For this, God would tear down their high places and humble them. Teman in the south and Bozrah in the north indicates God’s total judgment of that land. The Assyrians of the 8th century BC saw to their destruction while Arabian tribes inherited the land in the fourth century BC.

Ammon is the last of the cousins to receive judgment. They were descendants of Lot – Abraham’s nephew. Their sin amounted to genocide because they mutilated pregnant Israelite women of Gilead, and murdered their unborn children in order to decrease Gilead’s population. Their plan was to reclaim the territory of Gilead from the Israelites once they knew they had outnumbered them. For their acts God would burn the walls and monuments of their capital and send their royal family into exile. King Nebuchadnezzar would lead that charge in the great Babylonian exile of 586 BC but the Maccabeans under Judas Maccabeus would complete their judgment in the 2nd century BC.

In reference to God, Amos’s text utilizes God’s name ‘Yahweh’ – the God of covenant. God’s judgment throughout focuses on covenants, i.e. relationships. The first is His covenant with humankind; the second, mankind with each other; and lastly, as we will see in chapter 2, His covenant with His select people group: Abraham’s children.

In order to carry out these deeds, the Edomites had to stifle their inner compassion, i.e., fight their conscience. They therefore willfully violated God’s unwritten Law in order to carry out these acts. They knew it was wrong and did it anyway. The list of judgments is also proof that God does not leave sin unpunished but is a God of covenant who always keeps His word even if it’s centuries later.

Key Verse:
“Because he pursued his brother with a sword and slaughtered the women of the land…” ~ Amos 1:11b

Questions to ponder:

  • What unwritten laws of God are you violating in order to have your own way?
  • What citadels and walls in your life does God need to burn to save you from violating Him?
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