Special Note: This article is included in Jim’s book “An Attitude of Thankfulness” along with 19 other articles and is available for purchase in Paperback and eBook formats at this link: Jim’s Books
There are consequences for ignoring the commands of God. God is forgiving, but at the same time, God is righteous. He cannot and will not ignore man’s sin. Sin has eternal consequences. Additionally, man, both individually and collectively, often suffers here on earth as a result of sin. This has been true since the beginning of time. Consider the consequences of the sin of Adam and Eve and the guilt placed on all future generations.
The same is true of nations. Even the highly favored and blessed nation of Israel formed by God through the descendants of Jacob suffered earthly consequences for their sin and for continuing to turn their back on Jehovah God. Having possessed the promised land through God’s mighty power, they shamelessly ignored His commands and even worshiped other gods. Among others, God hand-picked Amos and Hosea, often referred to as minor prophets, to deliver His message of the impending doom for the northern kingdom of Israel. The consequences of their sinful ways and their worship of foreign gods would lead them to a massive slaughter and a centuries long captivity. Ultimately, the southern kingdom of Judah would also fall to the Babylonians as foretold by the prophet Jeremiah. Judah too would be torn away from their homes only to live in exile for several generations at a later date.
Scripture: All scripture references are taken from “The Chronological Study Bible” (TCSB), copyright 1997 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. unless otherwise noted.
Amos 2:4 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away its punishment, because they have despised the law of the Lord, and have not kept His commandments. Their lies lead them astray, lies which their fathers followed.”
Amos 2:6 – Thus says the Lord: “For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away punishment … “
Amos 7:11 – For thus Amos has said: Jeroboam shall die by the sword, And Israel shall surely be led away captive from their own land.”
Hosea 1: 2-4 – When the Lord began to speak to Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea: “Go take yourself a wife of harlotry, for the land has committed great harlotry by departing from the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Then the Lord said to him: “Call his name Jezreel, for in a little while I will avenge the bloodshed of Jezreel on the house of Jehu, and bring an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel.”
Amos was one of the minor prophets and not the only one to severely chide Israel for their complacency regarding God’s commands. Amos was from Judah, but he primarily spoke to Israel. He foretold of God’s judgement that would surely come. The ministry of Amos occurred before 753 B.C. He was a sheep herder from Tekoa in Judah during the reign of king Uzziah. At the same time Jeroboam II, the son of Joash, was the king of Israel. Amos, chapters 1-2, records that God sent a vision to Amos regarding the transgressions and impending judgment for the surrounding nations of Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom and Ammon. This would have been music to the ears of Judah and Israel.
But God and Amos did not stop there. God also pronounced to Amos harsh judgment for His chosen people, both Israel and Judah. In particular, Israel’s pride had swelled during Amos’ time because of their relatively minor military victories over Judah’s Lo Debar and Karnaim by their “own strength” (Amos 6:13). Worst of all, Israel had continued to worship false gods. Israel had been called to be God’s special people and to worship Yahweh alone. God pronounced the destruction, slaughter and exile of Israel in Amos 9:8 – “Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are on the sinful kingdom, And I will destroy it from the face of the earth…”
Hosea was native to the northern kingdom of Israel. Hosea spoke against the worship of false gods such as Baal and Asherah. These were religions that promoted the worst kind of sexual behavior in their worship including prostitution, or as referred to by Hosea, harlotry. Hosea had first-hand experience with that in his own family (see chapter one of Hosea). He passionately pleaded with the unfaithful bride of God, Israel, to return from their harlotry or face the consequences. Hosea foresees the fall, but he also sees and predicts Israel’s restoration when they ultimately return to God.
Just as God had so easily brought His children into the Promised Land, He removed them from that land and scattered them throughout the world.
God will not be mocked. There are consequences to sin, both here and now and for eternity. God’s righteousness demands it. Could the same consequences God allowed to fall on Israel and Judah be true for America? Could we be at the point in our history “when God has had enough?” I for one believe that we are wearing God’s patience very, very thin. When one, or a nation, continues to live in sin, never accepting God’s plan for forgiveness of sin, the eternal consequences are sad and dire. But God does provide a way out of our dilemma. He has provided His Son Jesus Christ as the deliverer from the consequences of our sin. Americans need to turn to Jesus for salvation. America must stand for what is right in the sight of God. I pray that it is not too late for us.
God has promised us that He will heal our land. But there are requirements. God said “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” (2 Chronicles 7:14 – NKJV)
Christian, it is time that we take action and stand up to the world around us. There is a price that the nations will pay for willful disobedience of God’s commands and the sinful worship of other gods. Together we can make a difference. Be bold in your witness and make His message known.
Oh, Heavenly Father, may I never be ashamed of my faith in You and have the courage to stand up and speak up for what is right in the sight of God!