Hear this word that the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel, against the whole family that I brought up out of the land of Egypt:
“You only have I known
of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
for all your iniquities. Amos 3:1-2
In this book, the prophet Amos rebukes and warns the people of Israel to look inward and repent of their godlessness. By doing so, Israel could be aware of God’s coming judgment. However, the message of Amos was widely ignored and scorned by the Israelites. The world generally hates God’s Word as well as the messengers of the Word. But worse yet, Amos prophesied during Jeroboam’s reign, when thekingdomofIsraelwas at its peak and everything was going well. Though godless, Jeroboam was a famous and brave king who won many military victories. Through these victories, “he was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Sea of the Arabah” (2 Kings14:25). As a result, he became deluded by the prosperity of his kingdom.
When things are going well, godless people tend to become foolish and end up destroying themselves (Proverbs1:32). They don’t think they need God, and in their blindness, they continue to behave in an ungodly way. They keep on doing this until they face God’s judgment and perish. The Word is proclaimed to them uselessly, which is what we see happening in the book of Amos. So Amos prophesied at an unfortunate time, but also at a very appropriate time.
We can learn a lot from this. When times are bad, we should remind ourselves of God’s goodness and mercy. In good times, however, we should remember to fear God.
In the late afternoon of April 18, 1521, in the city of Worms, Germany, Martin Luther, a 37 year-old Catholic monk was called to defend himself before Charles the Fifth, the Holy Roman Emperor. The speech he delivered that day, Here I Stand, marked the beginning of the Reformation, a critical turning point in Christian history that decisively altered the spiritual map of the world. In this recording, Max McLean introduces the events leading up to the Diet of Worms; Martin Luther’s prayer the night before he delivered his speech; Luther’s stirring defense; the Catholic church’s rebuttal; and, Luther’s final heartfelt response.