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After King Jehoash the arrow-tapper died, his son, Jeroboam II, became king. This is a different Jeroboam than the one who had started his own false religion 130 years before with the golden cows and false priests.
Sadly, Jeroboam II followed the same evil ways as the first Jeroboam. God had watched 13 different kings of Israel and the people follow just-pretend-gods.
After 130 years of this, God was about to put a stop to it. God sent His prophet named Amos to warn them. Amos was a guy who usually took care of sheep and fig trees. But God called him to step up, and he was ready to pound, pound, pound, pound, pound.
Amos went right to the place where the false religion had started — the city in the northern kingdom of Israel with the golden cows and false priests.
Amos declared to the people, “The Lord roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem. Yahweh says, ‘I will not skip your punishment. My judgment is coming. All the nations around you will be punished for their sin, and you will be punished for your sin.
‘I sent you My prophets, but you told them to be quiet. I tried to get your attention again and again, but you have not returned to Me.
‘I let you be hungry for bread and thirsty for water. I let locusts eat your gardens. I let enemies overtake you, but you still have not returned to Me.’”
Amos continued, “So, get ready to face your God! The One who made the stars and the mountains and the wind. The One who can turn darkness into morning, and morning into night. The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is His Name!
“God says, ‘Seek Me and you can live! Don’t try to go somewhere or do something — SEEK ME!
‘I see all the hating and hurting going on in your city. You sell My People as slaves just so you can have money for a new pair of sandals. You hurt the poor and push away those who need help. You love your idols and break My covenant I made when I brought you out of Egypt. I hate your false religion.
‘You who are looking forward to the day when the Lord comes to judge — what good is the day of the Lord for YOU!? It will be trouble for you. It won’t be a time of sunshine. It will be darkness.
‘It will be like a man ran away from a lion and bumped into a bear!
‘I hate your parties to Me. Though you offer Me gifts, I won’t accept them. And don’t sing your noisy songs to Me. I don’t want to hear them.
‘Oh instead, let My Justice roll, roll, roll on like a river, and righteousness flow like a stream that never dries up.
‘Trouble is coming to you who are so comfy on your beds and couches, eating and drinking the tastiest foods and drinks and singing thoughtlessly. You put on the best perfumes and lotions, but you do not cry for the pain My Children are in.
‘Here is what I’m going to have to do. I’m going to send an enemy who will take the people of the kingdom of Israel away to a far away land.
‘The days are coming when I will cause there to be a famine in the land, a hunger. But it won’t be a hunger for bread or a thirst for water. It will be a hunger to Hear Me Speak — hunger for divine revelation. People will wander from sea to sea from north to east, running back and forth trying to hear from Me, but they won’t.’”
After Amos told everyone what God said, the false priests were pretty mad. But Amos had told them the truth. God had rescued Israel from enemies many times, and He had tried everything to get them to listen. But they were not listening. If they wouldn’t change fast like Nineveh did, He was going to have to scatter them among the other nations. He couldn’t let them keep acting like this and still call themselves His People.
What happens to you when you don’t listen to your parents? Yeah, you get disciplined. That’s what a loving God has to do, too, huh?
So, I know some of these stories can sound a little “scary” when God is upset. But, never forget that God is a loving Father. And if you keep Looking Up to Him and crawling into His lap, and loving Him with all your heart, then you will even begin to be happy when you hear things like: His Justice rolls on like a river, and righteousness flows like a stream that never dries up. You’ll shout, “Yes, Amen. Yes! Yes! Yes! I love that about You, Daddy!”
Do you want to hear one more thing that God showed Amos that will make you shout, “Yes! Yes! Yes”?
God showed Amos something that would happen much farther in the future. God told him, “Even after I send Israel away, there will come a day when I will rebuild David’s temporary hut that’s been toppling over. It’s collapsing, but I will rebuild it! I will fill in the gaps and fix the ruins and make it as glorious as it was before.”
Israel, and later Judah, are going to go down some even bumpier roads in the next part of our big story. But again and again, you’ll hear God tell them that it won’t be this way forever. He gives them a place to hope and to know that better things will come... But you’re gonna have to wait and see WHAT those better things will be.