Amos 6-9 The Message Bible

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The Destruction of Israel

6 1  Woe to you who think you live on easy street in Zion, who think Mount Samaria is the good life. You assume you're at the top of the heap, voted the number-one best place to live. 2  Well, wake up and look around. Get off your pedestal. Take a look at Calneh. Go and visit Great Hamath. Look in on Gath of the Philistines. Doesn't that take you off your high horse? Compared to them, you're not much, are you? 3  Woe to you who are rushing headlong to disaster! Catastrophe is just around the corner! 4  Woe to those who live in luxury and expect everyone else to serve them! 5  Woe to those who live only for today, indifferent to the fate of others! Woe to the playboys, the playgirls, who think life is a party held just for them! 6  Woe to those addicted to feeling good - life without pain! those obsessed with looking good - life without wrinkles! They could not care less about their country going to ruin. 7  But here's what's really coming: a forced march into exile. They'll leave the country whining, a rag-tag bunch of good-for-nothings. You've Made a Shambles of Justice

8  God, the Master, has sworn, and solemnly stands by his Word. The God-of-the-Angel-Armies speaks: "I hate the arrogance of Jacob. I have nothing but contempt for his forts. I'm about to hand over the city and everyone in it." 9  Ten men are in a house, all dead. 10  A relative comes and gets the bodies to prepare them for a decent burial. He discovers a survivor huddled in a closet and asks, "Are there any more?" The answer: "Not a soul. But hush! God must not be mentioned in this desecrated place." 11  Note well: God issues the orders. He'll knock large houses to smithereens. He'll smash little houses to bits. 12  Do you hold a horse race in a field of rocks? Do you plow the sea with oxen? You'd cripple the horses and drown the oxen. And yet you've made a shambles of justice, a bloated corpse of righteousness, 13  Bragging of your trivial pursuits, beating up on the weak and crowing, "Look what I've done!" 14  "Enjoy it while you can, you Israelites. I've got a pagan army on the move against you" - this is your God speaking, God-of-the-Angel-Armies - "And they'll make hash of you, from one end of the country to the other."

Three Visions of Destruction

7 1  God, my Master, showed me this vision: He was preparing a locust swarm. The first cutting, which went to the king, was complete, and the second crop was just sprouting. 2  The locusts ate everything green. Not even a blade of grass was left. I called out, "God, my Master! Excuse me, but what's going to come of Jacob? He's so small." 3  God gave in. "It won't happen," he said. 4  God showed me this vision: Oh! God, my Master God was calling up a firestorm. It burned up the ocean. Then it burned up the Promised Land. 5  I said, "God, my Master! Hold it - please! What's going to come of Jacob? He's so small." 6  God gave in. "All right, this won't happen either," God, my Master, said. 7  God showed me this vision: My Master was standing beside a wall. In his hand he held a plumb line. 8  God said to me, "What do you see, Amos?" I said, "A plumb line." Then my Master said, "Look what I've done. I've hung a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel. I've spared them for the last time. This is it! 9  Isaac's sex-and-religion shrines will be smashed, Israel's unholy shrines will be knocked to pieces. I'm raising my sword against the royal family of Jeroboam.

Amos and Amaziah

10  Amaziah, priest at the shrine at Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: "Amos is plotting to get rid of you; and he's doing it as an insider, working from within Israel. His talk will destroy the country. He's got to be silenced. Do you know what Amos is saying? 11  Jeroboam will be killed. Israel is headed for exile." 12  Then Amaziah confronted Amos: "Seer, be on your way! Get out of here and go back to Judah where you came from! 13  Hang out there. Do your preaching there. But no more preaching at Bethel! Don't show your face here again. This is the king's chapel. This is a royal shrine." 14  But Amos stood up to Amaziah: "I never set up to be a preacher, never had plans to be a preacher. I raised cattle and I pruned trees. 15  Then God took me off the farm and said, 'Go preach to my people Israel.' 16  "So listen to God's Word. You tell me, 'Don't preach to Israel. Don't say anything against the family of Isaac.' 17  But here's what God is telling you: Your wife will become a whore in town. Your children will get killed. Your land will be auctioned off. You will die homeless and friendless. And Israel will be hauled off to exile, far from home."

The Basket of Summer Fruit

8 1  My Master God showed me this vision: A bowl of fresh fruit. 2  He said, "What do you see, Amos?" I said, "A bowl of fresh, ripe fruit." God said, "Right. So, I'm calling it quits with my people Israel. I'm no longer acting as if everything is just fine." 3  "The royal singers will wail when it happens." My Master God said so. "Corpses will be strewn here, there, and everywhere. Hush!"

Israel's Doom at Hand

4  Listen to this, you who walk all over the weak, you who treat poor people as less than nothing, 5  Who say, "When's my next paycheck coming so I can go out and live it up? How long till the weekend when I can go out and have a good time?" Who give little and take much, and never do an honest day's work. 6  You exploit the poor, using them - and then, when they're used up, you discard them. 7  God swears against the arrogance of Jacob: "I'm keeping track of their every last sin." 8  God's oath will shake earth's foundations, dissolve the whole world into tears. God's oath will sweep in like a river that rises, flooding houses and lands, And then recedes, leaving behind a sea of mud. 9  "On Judgment Day, watch out!" These are the words of God, my Master. "I'll turn off the sun at noon. In the middle of the day the earth will go black. 10  I'll turn your parties into funerals and make every song you sing a dirge. Everyone will walk around in rags, with sunken eyes and bald heads. Think of the worst that could happen - your only son, say, murdered. That's a hint of Judgment Day - that and much more.

11  "Oh yes, Judgment Day is coming!" These are the words of my Master God. "I'll send a famine through the whole country. It won't be food or water that's lacking, but my Word. 12  People will drift from one end of the country to the other, roam to the north, wander to the east. They'll go anywhere, listen to anyone, hoping to hear God's Word - but they won't hear it. 13  "On Judgment Day, lovely young girls will faint of Word-thirst, robust young men will faint of God-thirst, 14  Along with those who take oaths at the Samaria Sin-and-Sex Center, saying, 'As the lord god of Dan is my witness!' and 'The lady goddess of Beer-sheba bless you!' Their lives will fall to pieces. They'll never put it together again."

The LORD's Judgments Inescapable

9 1  I saw my Master standing beside the altar at the shrine. He said: "Hit the tops of the shrine's pillars, make the floor shake. The roof's about to fall on the heads of the people, and whoever's still alive, I'll kill. No one will get away, no runaways will make it. 2  If they dig their way down into the underworld, I'll find them and bring them up. If they climb to the stars, I'll find them and bring them down. 3  If they hide out at the top of Mount Carmel, I'll find them and bring them back. If they dive to the bottom of the ocean, I'll send Dragon to swallow them up. 4  If they're captured alive by their enemies, I'll send Sword to kill them. I've made up my mind to hurt them, not help them." 5  My Master, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, touches the earth, a mere touch, and it trembles. The whole world goes into mourning. Earth swells like the Nile at flood stage; then the water subsides, like the great Nile of Egypt. 6  God builds his palace - towers soaring high in the skies, foundations set on the rock-firm earth. He calls ocean waters and they come, then he ladles them out on the earth. God, your God, does all this. 7  "Do you Israelites think you're any better than the far-off Cushites?" God's Decree. 8  But you can be sure that I, God, the Master, have my eye on the Kingdom of Sin. I'm going to wipe it off the face of the earth. Still, I won't totally destroy the family of Jacob." God's Decree. 9  "I'm still giving the orders around here. I'm throwing Israel into a sieve among all the nations and shaking them good, shaking out all the sin, all the sinners. No real grain will be lost, 10  but all the sinners will be sifted out and thrown away, the people who say, 'Nothing bad will ever happen in our lifetime. It won't even come close.' Blessings Like Wine Pouring off the Mountains

The Future Restoration of Israel

11  "But also on that Judgment Day I will restore David's house that has fallen to pieces. I'll repair the holes in the roof, replace the broken windows, fix it up like new. David's people will be strong again 12  and seize what's left of enemy Edom, plus everyone else under my sovereign judgment." God's Decree. He will do this. 13  "Yes indeed, it won't be long now." God's Decree. 14  I'll make everything right again for my people Israel: "They'll rebuild their ruined cities. They'll plant vineyards and drink good wine. They'll work their gardens and eat fresh vegetables. 15  And I'll plant them, plant them on their own land. They'll never again be uprooted from the land I've given them." God, your God, says so.

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