Sovereign Grace Fellowship

Prepare To Meet Your God by Pastor Rick Hogaboam

Amos 4 “Prepare to Meet Your God”

Pastor Rick Hogaboam, Preached 3.14.2010 @ Sovereign Grace Fellowship, Nampa, ID

Dead Meat” (1-3)

1 “Hear this word, you cows of Bashan, who are on the mountain of Samaria, who oppress the poor, who crush the needy, who say to your husbands, ‘Bring, that we may drink!’ 2 The Lord God has sworn by his holiness that, behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. 3 And you shall go out through the breaches, each one straight ahead; and you shall be cast out into Harmon,” declares the Lord.

  • We have already seen that the fathers were chasing after idols (Amos 2:4) and here we see the ladies in the land not faring much better

    • The women are called “cows”, not even dignified as humans

    • Bashan, luscious area where cattle were of good size

    • They are oppressive towards the poor and needy, crushing them

    • The Godly women is the opposite:

      • Proverbs 31:20 (ESV)

      • 20 She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy.

    • These women are lazy and demanding of their husbands for luxury. “Bring that we may drink”

    • The Godly women is opposite:

      • Proverbs 31:10–19 (ESV)

      • 10 An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. 11 The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. 12 She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She seeks wool and flax, and works with willing hands. 14 She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar. 15 She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens. 16 She considers a field and buys it; with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard. 17 She dresses herself with strength and makes her arms strong. 18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable. Her lamp does not go out at night. 19 She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

  • God has sworn by his holiness”

    • God can swear by nothing higher than His own character.

  • behold, the days are coming upon you, when they shall take you away with hooks, even the last of you with fishhooks. 3 And you shall go out through the breaches, each one straight ahead; and you shall be cast out into Harmon,” declares the Lord.

    • These women, who have been called cows, are now compared to fish in the way in which they will be disposed of. Basically gathered like meat, like animals

    • “Harmon”

      • “Toward the Harmon” is the reading of the Hebrew text. The problem is that no such place is known. Alternative readings in the earlier versions, such as Remman, Mount Hermon, and Armenia, appear to be guesses. Hayes assumes the original reading was a rare word meaning “the dung-pit,” or “the garbage heap” (the word appears in Isa 25:10).1581

  • This base depravity robs us of our God-given humanity. We become worse than animals and are treated as such. This is what idolatry does to us. We think that everything which defines the worth of our humanity—power, riches, laziness; when wrongly pursued, actually disintegrates the image of God in us. The chief end of man is to worship and glorify our creator.

  • God’s common grace is at work in every human heart restraining sin, but when we are insistent in our pursuits, God gives us over to what we want.

Vain Worship” (4-5)

4 “Come to Bethel, and transgress; to Gilgal, and multiply transgression; bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three days; 5 offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving of that which is leavened, and proclaim freewill offerings, publish them; for so you love to do, O people of Israel!” declares the Lord God.

  • Bethel and Gilgal were prominent sites for Israel’s worship, they also happened to be sites of false worship. A strong case can be made for either of the following options:

    • God is sarcastically telling them to continue their extravagant worship of their idols, or

    • God is saying that they are sinning in their extravagant worship of Yahweh because they are not doing it to seek God, but as a means to gain attention and pad themselves on the back

      • If option 1, then they are being denounced because they are more zealous for idols than God.

      • If option 2, then they are being denounced for extravagant worship where God is absent.

        • Both options are warnings to us, are they not?

          • We are bored with God, but excited about a million other things. I admit it for myself at times. Sometimes we think going to Church is a drag, but we are up and excited if some friends invite us to a movie. We say that Church isn’t relevant enough to our lives, when the real problem is NOT God, but us. When our lives become irrelevant to God, then we will find Him irrelevant to us.

          • The other application fits as well, we might actually like to gather and put on a show, but God is absent. We just go through the emotions, but we really can’t wait to get back to our normally scheduled program of our own lives.

      • Got hates lukewarmness, rather that we are hot or cold, yes or no.

Treating God Like Spam” (6-11)

6 “I gave you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and lack of bread in all your places, yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

  • God sent famines, and yet His people just ignored Him.

7 “I also withheld the rain from you when there were yet three months to the harvest; I would send rain on one city, and send no rain on another city; one field would have rain, and the field on which it did not rain would wither; 8 so two or three cities would wander to another city to drink water, and would not be satisfied; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

  • God sent droughts, and yet His people just ignored Him.

9 “I struck you with blight and mildew; your many gardens and your vineyards, your fig trees and your olive trees the locust devoured; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

  • God ruined their harvest, and yet His people ignored Him.

10 “I sent among you a pestilence after the manner of Egypt; I killed your young men with the sword, and carried away your horses, and I made the stench of your camp go up into your nostrils; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

  • God gave His people defeat in war, and subjected their young men to death, and yet His people ignored Him.

11 “I overthrew some of you, as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and you were as a brand plucked out of the burning; yet you did not return to me,” declares the Lord.

  • God sent judgment through certain calamities, like the serpents, the 15,000 who perished in the midst of Korah’s rebellion. Sons of Levi killed about 3000 folks when Moses received the law and found the people worshipping a golden calf. Even with these acts of cataclysm and a sparing of some, it still didn’t invoke the proper response and lasting lesson that should have been learned.

  • Deuteronomy 29:22–29 (ESV)

    • 22 And the next generation, your children who rise up after you, and the foreigner who comes from a far land, will say, when they see the afflictions of that land and the sicknesses with which the Lord has made it sick— 23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the Lord overthrew in his anger and wrath— 24 all the nations will say, ‘Why has the Lord done thus to this land? What caused the heat of this great anger?’ 25 Then people will say, ‘It is because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their fathers, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, 26 and went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods whom they had not known and whom he had not allotted to them. 27 Therefore the anger of the Lord was kindled against this land, bringing upon it all the curses written in this book, 28 and the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger and fury and great wrath, and cast them into another land, as they are this day.’ 29 “The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

  • Big Ben Roethlisberger: hope these stories aren’t true, but minimally he is hanging with college kids, drinking it up, wearing t-shirts that say “Drink Like a Champion Today”, shown serving shots to college girls. He had a near death experience in a motorcycle accident not too long ago. Sometimes such near death experiences humble you and awaken you to the more important things in life OR they instill a sense of invincibility and recklessness, emboldening ever more irresponsible behavior. How can it not when even police officers that responded to the call were just earlier taking photos with Ben.

  • For Israel, as God was seeking to get their attention time and time again, instead of humbling them, it instead instilled in them a sense of invincibility and emboldened them into even worse behavior, presuming that God would never get them if He spared them time and time again before.

A Terrifying Therefore…Prepare to Meet Your God (12)

12 “Therefore thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel!”

  • Some therefore’s bring good news and some bad news. This is a terrifying “therefore”. The following construction is somewhat awkward, “this I will do to you…because I will do this to you”.

  • The pronoun “this” is qualifying the previous proclamation of judgment earlier in the chapter or is actually qualifying the imperative “Prepare to meet your God”.

  • “prepare to meet your God” is not a summons to repentance, but a declaration of a theophany and visitation that is sure to bring devastating judgment.

    • But having said that, based on the grammatical construction, it does NOT nix the opportunity for one to repent. While it is unlikely after a hardening of the heart in perpetual rejections of God’s attempts to reach them, miracles are always possible.

    • After all, each and every single one of our own salvation is a miracle owing to grace.


Our God is Too Awesome to Be Mocked!!! (13)

13 For behold, he who forms the mountains and creates the wind, and declares to man what is his thought, who makes the morning darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth— the Lord, the God of hosts, is his name!

  • Our Lord upholds His name even in judgment. His glory is displayed. This mountain making, mountain moving, wind making, wind moving God knows all things, even the secret thoughts of man are known to Him.

If you have life and breath this morning, it is but by the grace of God. If you haven’t repented and turned to Him, it’s not too late.

Some think God is harsh and unjust in His actions towards man. God is perfectly just in all such actions. What is unjust is what man has done to Christ. The cross will forever be an infinite injustice from the hands of man, however God was Sovereignly working through such events to place upon Him the wrath that is due us. We have peace with God this morning if we have come to Him.

Hebrews 3:12–4:2 (ESV)

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.” 16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief. 1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Matthew 11:28–30 (ESV)

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

1 Smith, B. K., & Page, F. S. (2001). Vol. 19B: Amos, Obadiah, Jonah (electronic ed.). Logos Library System; The New American Commentary (86). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.


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sgf Admin

This was a great message! I was fortunate to be in attendance to hear it. I hope you enjoy it and are edified by it as much as I was.

Matt Masiewicz