PATHS In Bible Chapters

Amos 5
Theme: Believe It Or Not
Key Text: Verse 1


            In this division, we are privileged to hear the third sermon of the prophet. Like the others, this sermon begins with the statement: “Hear . . . this word” (3:1; 4:1; 5:1).  This sermon is most unique, however, in that Amos calls it “a lamentation,” or, as the word signifies, “a funeral dirge.” The chosen people would never believe that judgment was coming. But, “Believe It Or Not,” the prophet boldly declares, “There is a time of sadness and sorrow on the horizon.” In fact, as Amos explains the happenings, he views them as having already taken place.


1. Life Will Be Swallowed By Death

            The lamentation of the prophet is over the death of the Northern Kingdom. Not only has the former virtuous nation “fallen,” but “she shall no more rise” (5:2).  Had the people sought after the Immortal One, they would have continued to enjoy His blessings. He said, “Seek ye Me, and ye shall live” (5:4). However, they looked to the shrines and altars at “Gilgal” and “Bethel” (5:6) instead of Him that “turneth the shadow of death into the morning” (5:8). They had “built houses of hewn stone,” but they would never “dwell in them” (5:11). Unknowingly, by failing to “seek good” (5:14), they were actually seeking death and judgment (see 5:14, 15).


2. Light Will Be Suppressed By Darkness

            When the Assyrian army would ravage the land and take the people captive, days of rejoicing would become nights of “mourning” and “wailing” (5:16). But, don’t blame it all on the enemy! It is the Lord Who “will pass through” in judgment (5:17). Those who thought “the day of the Lord” would be their salvation find it to be “darkness, and not light” (5:18). Bad will turn to worse!  Like a man who gets away from “a lion” and then runs into “a bear;” or like a man who finds refuge in a “house” only to be bitten by “a serpent” (5:19), so the future would be “very dark” with “no brightness in it” (5:20).


3. Love Will Be Substituted By Detestation

            We know that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Yet, in this scene, the God Who loves says to His people, “I hate, I despise your feast days, and I will not smell in your solemn assemblies” (5:21). In other words, “I detest your religious hypocrisy!” Perhaps, the people had meant to worship Jehovah as they had previously worshipped Him in Jerusalem. But, after a while, all kinds of perversions were added to their practices, and their so-called worship became a mockery of His holiness. He refused to “accept” their offerings (5:22), and their songs became only a “noise” in His ears (5:23). His holiness demanded “righteousness” (5:24), and their sins demanded judgment (see 5:25-27).



            Robert Leroy Ripley was an American cartoonist who became internationally famous through a cartoon panel he called “Believe It Or Not.” He used unusual facts, occurrences, and oddities from around the world to magnetize his readers. It is estimated that at the peak of popularity of his cartoon, 80 million read his panels. Today, some of his incredible displays can be seen in “Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Museum.” Perhaps, God’s judgment is an oddity and a strange truth in our day, but “Believe It Or Not,” it is real and certain.