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Ambassador Baptist Church
1926 Babcock Blvd
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
(412)822-7255
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Pastor's Pen - September 23, 2007
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September 23, 2007

Amos 6-9
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Amos
Chapter 6
  1. Woe to them that are at ease in Zion, and trust in the mountain of Samaria, which are named chief of the nations, to whom the house of Israel came!
  2. Pass ye unto Calneh, and see; and from thence go ye to Hamath the great: then go down to Gath of the Philistines: be they better than these kingdoms? or their border greater than your border?
  3. Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near;
  4. That lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the midst of the stall;
  5. That chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of musick, like David;
  6. That drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments: but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph.
  7. Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.
  8. The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.
  9. And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.
  10. And a man's uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that is by the sides of the house, Is there yet any with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.
  11. For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.
  12. Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:
  13. Ye which rejoice in a thing of nought, which say, Have we not taken to us horns by our own strength?
  14. But, behold, I will raise up against you a nation, O house of Israel, saith the LORD the God of hosts; and they shall afflict you from the entering in of Hemath unto the river of the wilderness.


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Amos
Chapter 7
  1. Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.
  2. And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
  3. The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.
  4. Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
  5. Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
  6. The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
  7. Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
  8. And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
  9. And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
  10. Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
  11. For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
  12. Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
  13. But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king's chapel, and it is the king's court.
  14. Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
  15. And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
  16. Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
  17. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.


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Amos
Chapter 8
  1. Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.
  2. And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
  3. And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.
  4. Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
  5. Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?
  6. That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?
  7. The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
  8. Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
  9. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:
  10. And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.
  11. Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
  12. And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.
  13. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
  14. They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beer-sheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.


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Amos
Chapter 9
  1. I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered.
  2. Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:
  3. And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them:
  4. And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good.
  5. And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.
  6. It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name.
  7. Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?
  8. Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD.
  9. For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.
  10. All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us.
  11. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old:
  12. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.
  13. Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
  14. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
  15. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.


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Thought for the day:
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 Amos 6 opens with a passage that is very relevant to the churches of today. The prophet pronounces a woe upon those who are

"at ease in Zion".
These people are characterized in verses 4-6 as those who are lounging around in bed or on the couch eating good meals, listening to beautiful music, and pampering their bodies while paying almost no attention to the spiritual destruction that is going on around them. When they are confronted with the danger that awaits, they simply
"trust in the mountain of Samaria",
which means that they assume that everything will be fine because of their position and prestige. Amos pronounces that these will be the first to go captive when the judgment falls.

 It has been my observation that many churches today are filled with people who fall into this pattern. These are not wicked people: they aren't involved in immorality; they aren't heretics; they aren't in danger of going to jail. If they had these problems they would probably be subject to church discipline. Instead, they have a more subtle, yet perhaps more deadly problem: they just don't care about spiritual things. They are in church, for the condemnation is against those who are

"in Zion".
 They apparently seem to be just like all the other believers as far as attendance and appearance are concerned. They probably can sing the hymns, pray if called upon, and have an intelligent discussion about Biblical passages. Yet when it comes right down to it, they have little interest in what they can do to promote the cause of Christ. They usually enjoy what they can get from the Lord, but they do little to give anything back to the Lord. They expect the pastor and others in the church to pay attention to them, but they don't go out of their way to assist another brother. They want to have a full church building, and they are glad that others go out and bring people in, but you can be sure that they aren't going to give the effort required to bring anyone in themselves. They enjoy sitting in a comfortable pew in an air-conditioned auditorium listening to music played on an expensive organ and grand piano, but they don't want to make the sacrifices necessary to give any money towards helping to purchase and maintain these things. They like their pastor's preaching, and they don't mind the services themselves, but if they get a better offer on any given Sunday you can be sure that they will take it. For them Christianity is a religion of convenience: when it is convenient, they will actively practice their faith, and when it isn't convenient, then they'll be found doing something else.

 This type of church member is not only failing to help his church, but he is also in danger of receiving judgment from the Lord. When a crisis comes in his life, he will be totally unprepared spiritually to handle it because he has not been maturing in his faith. Just as a man who lives a life of ease and convenience never develops himself physically and mentally, so a believer who lives a life of spiritual ease never develops into mature Christian. Stop spending your Christian life lounging around, and get busy serving the Lord.

 I believe the story at the end of Amos 7 is also relevant for us today. Amos had been preaching the Word of God, and Amaziah the priest didn't like it. Of course, he was involved in leading the calf worship, so he was one of the targets of Amos' messages! Notice how he treats Amos in verses 12-13. He makes fun of him by calling him a "seer". He accuses him of being a coward (flee away). He reminds Amos of his humble beginnings, and informs him that he isn't "good enough" to preach in the king's chapel at the king's court. As a pastor, this is something that I see happen on a regular basis.

 If a pastor went to a small Bible college or a Bible Institute, then he is considered by some others to be lower on the spiritual totem pole than they are. Those who went to accredited schools often look down their noses at those who did not. Those with seminary degrees from prestigious schools have little time for the man who has only a four year degree, or less. Yet often these men from smaller schools are more doctrinally sound than the others. Often they have higher standards as well because they have not been influenced by the neo-evangelicalism that has become so prevalent in many of our colleges and seminaries - particularly the ones that have sought accreditation. The truth of the matter is that there are good men who have been to seminary and good men that haven't. The bottom line is whether or not the man is preaching and practicing the Word of God. May we not be guilty of discounting a Biblical message based upon the preacher's pedigree. Amaziah did that, and it cost him dearly.

Pastor Mark J Montgomery

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(412)822-7255
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