PATHS In Bible Chapters

Amos 3
Theme: The Supreme Court
Key Text: Verse 10

            The trial and judgment of the nation of Israel is now set in motion. In the previous chapter, preparatory charges were made against their sins of injustice, immorality, and idolatry by their righteous God. Now, in a more formal way, the offended One presents His case. In the court of His holiness, He stands with an unblemished record. Like His word, He is “true and righteous altogether” (Psa. 19:9). However, His people have done wrong so long, He complains that “they know not to do right” (3:10). For sure, this is “The Supreme Court,” and justice will prevail!

1. The Single Accusation

            Throughout the prophecy, the many sins of this people are recorded. But, the primary indictment God brings “against” (3:1) them here relates to how they have treated Him. He had particularly chosen them, and graciously brought them “up from the land of Egypt” (3:1), yet, they had ignored His kindness. Although He had personally and affectionately revealed Himself to them, and could say, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth” (3:2), they had rejected Him and spurned His wonderful love. Finally, after all the manifestations of His mercy, He has to say, “Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities” (3:2).

2. The Simple Arguments

            Having made His clear accusation, the Lord continues by arguing His case. He asks a series of questions which really don’t seem like questions, for they actually answer themselves. But, these questions, or parables, as some have called them, employ what we know as “the law of cause and effect.” He asks, “Will a lion roar in the forest, when he hath no prey?” (3:4), and, “Can a bird fall in a snare upon the earth, where no gin is for him?” (3:5). By using this approach, the righteous God argues that He has a reason for judging Israel. The alarms His prophets sound are legitimate (see 3:6), for they know the validity of His actions (see 3:7, 8).

3. The Solemn Announcement

            With the case and its arguments presented, the courtroom is silent as the degrading sentence is given.  “An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled” (3:11). Although the “adversary” is unnamed, the prophet must be referring to Assyria, which later overcame the northern kingdom (see 2 Kgs. 18:11, 12). Like a slain lamb, “the children of Israel” would be “taken out” of the land (3:12), their idolatrous “altars” destroyed (3:14), and their houses of luxury would perish (see 3:15).


            Whether or not television cameras should continue to be allowed in our courtrooms has become a big issue. In fact, it seems that many are more interested in the public viewing of some cases than they are in justice, itself. Well, there are no televisions in God’s courtroom. Neither are there jury personnel, crooked lawyers, or prolonged trials. And, since His court is “The Supreme Court,” there is no higher court of appeal. However, we can be sure that justice is not missing in the divine scene! Oh, may we live in the light of this solemn truth!