Amos 5:18-24 “If 2020 Were a Bible Verse”

A lion, a bear, and a snake go into a bar…

Alas for you who desire the day of the Lord! Why do you want the day of the Lord? It is darkness, not light; as if someone fled from a lion, and was met by a bear; or went into the house and rested a hand against the wall, and was bitten by a snake. Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. [NRSA: Amos 5:18-24]

The prophet Amos served God’s people as an obnoxious alarm clock, giving the people a much-needed wake-up call from God through Amos’s words to the people. And he was faithful to his job, but he was not known for being a a fun guy at the party.

This chapter starts with Lamentation. To lament is to be passionate about expressing grief or sorrow. In the biblical culture, there were even people who had the job of being in charge of lamenting at a funeral, a team of people who would weep, wail, and lament. We usually settle for a team that will prepare a ham luncheon after the graveside. For the most part we see lamenting as a negative. People will say, “Don’t cry our I will give you something to cry about.”
Amos is one who is passionate about reminding God’s people that they are going to have something to cry about if they don’t change their ways.

The message is about a nation being corrupted from within. The people had forgotten God’s ways and expectations and Amos was reminding that we pay a price for NOT living in a relationship with God individually and collectively.

Amos probably had billboard all over town and ads on social media that read:

  • “All if lost, we will be forsaken, with no one to raise her up.”
  • The city of many will become only a few.”
  • “Justice has been turned to wormwood [or bitterness.]”

At other times he had Meme and commercials that said:

  • Trust God! Not King or the neighboring Kings.
  • Seek the Lord and live.

His marketing plan didn’t win any awards, but he got some people’s attention and God touched some people’s hearts.

But most ended up in exile, enslaved, and far from home, even though they were warned repeatedly.
Amos made an important case that is worth remembering:
God who made the universe, the sun, the earth, the season, day and night, has given us all things for God’s purpose and not our own purpose. All life is the Lord’s and is intended for the Lord’s glory and praise.

Amos reminds the people that God see the evil of those who sin

  • Those who profane justice will receive none.
  • Those who speak evil will be consumed by evil.
  • Those who trust lies, will not recognize the truth.
  • Those who use the weak and oppressed will become weak and oppressed.
  • Those who think they have built strong buildings, incomes, portfolios, and see the fruit of God’s work as their own, will end up with nothing.
  • Those who have taken bribes will be pushed aside for those who love integrity.
  • The destruction will come to those who seek, trust, and do what is evil

The People would ask then, as we would now:
What can we do? How do we make things right?

  • Be prudent
  • keep silent
  • Seek and love what is good, Godly
  • Avoid evil and all sin.
  • Protect life,
  • Establish justice at the gate,
  • Trust the Lord, The God of all creation, God will be gracious to those who remain faithful.

Amos reminds the people that God hears the oppressed

  • God hears the cries of the cities
  • God knows the fear in the streets,
  • God sees our failure to trust God instead of trusting our goods, services, and worldly wealth…
  • God promises I will pass through the midst of you….

God’s Answer: The Day of the Lord?

Have you heard people say, “It would be good if Jesus would just come on and return and take us home. We are tired of all this crazy.” I know I’ve said that myself

But Amos asks us are we sure about that?

The Day of the Lord’s return will be darkness for the majority and light only to a few.

The title of my sermon is “If 2020 were a bible verse” It will be like 2020, as if you were running from a lion and met a bear, you run into the house and a bitten by a snake lying in wait.

Amos reminds: Is not the day of the Lord darkness, not light, and gloom with no brightness in it?

Amos tells the people that God has no interest in our festivals, celebrations, world series, super bowls, and championships, tailgates, parties, and showers.

  • I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
  • God is not impressed by our being polite and forsaking what is Godly.
  • God doesn’t need our burnt offerings,
  • God doesn’t need our holidays and decorations.
  • God doesn’t need to be entertained or soothed.

God is about justice… God is about loving and hoping for love in return and when we use God’s good gifts and we see our very lives our successes, our wealth, our victories, our trophies, our rewards, our power, our accomplishments, our wealth, our life… we are unjust before God.

God does not need kings and false gods and graven images, — those of our creation for our pleasure.


The Day of the Lord is about Justice rolling down like the crimson tide, and God’s Goodness and What God has determined is righteousness flows like an ever-flowing mighty river.
The day of the Lord for Amos is God’s accounting for God’s Righteousness being reflected through us, those who seek, teach, practice, promote, sell-out, or trade for God’s righteousness will find them selves in exile.

Exile is being outside the garden, not at home, not free to live, worship, work, and thrive, but to be captive of others who don’t love us, but see our conquest, property, victims, etc. [NRSV: Amos 5:13-27, Key 18-24]

So is Amos speaking to us, or just to those old testament people?

Here is the measure. When Christ returns, he is wanting to see the fruit of our faithfulness and not the fruit of our ledgers.

  • God is wanting to see that we speak the truth and expect the truth from others.
  • God is anticipating finding people singing God’s praise that they learned from our witness at worship, and at home, at work, at school, everywhere.
  • God is expecting to see how we have learn to love our enemies
  • God is returning to find the investment bearing interest in grace God has extended to us, through us.

Amos is sounding harsh, but he is showing Grace.

Do you want Christ to return this moment or do you need a little more time to get your spiritual room cleaned up, your witness sharpened and honed.

Do you want Christ to come save us from the crazy 2020, but what God finds is us worried about politics, stock markets, building, worldly values and selfishness, pride, greed, being non-offensive and protected from germs.

  • Oh for the day that we were as committed to wearing the Gospel as some wear a mask.
  • Oh for the day that we were is eager to chastise someone speaking in hate or hiding in fear, as if we might for not wearing a mask
  • Oh for the day that we hear the words of Amos, not just for Israel long ago, but for my very own life and for your very lives.

And claim the grace that Christ has not yet come and repent,

  • Be prudent about God’s goodness and rightiousness
  • keep silent, about our opinions and acheivments
  • Seek and love what is good, Godly
  • Avoid evil and all sin.
  • Protect all life, all who are forgotten, pushed aside, rejected and aborted
  • Establish justice at the gate for all people and not just a few.
  • Trust the Lord, The God of all creation, God will be gracious to those who remain faithful.

If Jesus is coming today, I hope its this afternoon so I can begin to make these changes right now!

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