By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
From Amos 3:9-15
3:9 Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressed in her midst.” 10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the Lord, “those who store up violence and robbery in their strongholds.”
11 Therefore thus says the Lord God: “An adversary shall surround the land and bring down your defenses from you, and your strongholds shall be plundered.”
12 Thus says the Lord: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.
13 “Hear, and testify against the house of Jacob,” declares the Lord God, the God of hosts, 14 “that on the day I punish Israel for his transgressions, I will punish the altars of Bethel, and the horns of the altar shall be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end,” declares the Lord.
Amos 3:12 “Thus says the Lord: “As the shepherd rescues from the mouth of the lion two legs, or a piece of an ear, so shall the people of Israel who dwell in Samaria be rescued, with the corner of a couch and part of a bed.”
Some Christians are saved by God from the enemy, like a shepherd rescues a lamb from the mouth of a lion, with only two legs or half of an ear. How miserable. Do you see such people? They say they are Christians, but they are a pitiable sight – like a lamb with only two legs or half an ear left. Yet the bigger problem with such Christians is that they are unaware of their predicament. They lie on the corner of the bed or on the couch covered with embroidered blankets; they live in winter houses, in summer houses, in ivory houses, and in their great houses, oblivious of the crisis they’re in. They had become too comfortable because during the time of Jeroboam II, the nation Israel was at its most powerful.
Therefore, in verse 9, the Lord summoned two nations to visit Israel, Philistia, and Egypt. “Proclaim to the strongholds in Ashdod and to the strongholds in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great tumults within her, and the oppressed in her midst.” What did the Lord want these two nations to see? Not the strength of the country, but its moral corruption. The nation was built upon the Lord and had God’s law, yet it was morally corrupt. What kind of faith is this?
In the same way, the Lord allows those who do not know Him to look at us, His church. When they look at our lives, what kind of Christian will they see? They may say, “Are you really a Christian? Why do you do such things? Do you really believe in the Lord?” Christian, your life must reflect the Lord! I dare not say that you are not saved, but maybe you are saved with only two legs or half an ear.
The Lord wanted the prophet to rouse Israel. Amos 3:15: ‘I will strike the winter house along with the summer house, and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall come to an end,’ declares the Lord. These ‘strikes’ will force people to stop relying on these things. The Lord wants to humble us and break our self-reliance, that we may turn and seek His presence. Let us cease being Christians with two legs or half an ear and repent now.
兩條羊腿或半個耳朵的得救 | 阿摩司書
3:9 要在亞實突的宮殿中, 和埃及地的宮殿裡傳揚說,你們要聚集在撒瑪利亞的山上, 就看見城中有何等大的擾亂與欺壓的事。10 那些以強暴搶奪財物, 積蓄在自己家中的人不知道行正直的事, 這是耶和華說的。11 所以主耶和華如此說, 敵人必來圍攻這地, 使你的勢力衰微, 搶掠你的家宅。12 耶和華如此說, 牧人怎樣從獅子口中搶回兩條羊腿或半個耳朵, 住撒瑪利亞的以色列人躺臥在床角上或鋪繡花毯的榻上, 他們得救也不過如此。13 主耶和華萬軍之神說,當聽這話, 警戒雅各家。3:14 我討以色列罪的日子, 也要討伯特利祭壇的罪; 壇角必被砍下, 墜落於地。3:15 我要拆毀過冬和過夏的房屋, 象牙的房屋也必毀滅, 高大的房屋都歸無有, 這是耶和華說的。
3:12 耶和華如此說, 牧人怎樣從獅子口中搶回兩條羊腿或半個耳朵, 住撒瑪利亞的以色列人躺臥在床角上或鋪繡花毯的榻上, 他們得救也不過如此。有些基督徒, 他們是神從仇敵裡救出來, 正如牧羊人從獅子的口中搶回來, 但卻只剩下兩條羊腿或半個耳朵的得救, 這是何得可憐的得救。
你看見那些好像兩條羊腿或半個耳朵的得救的基督徒嗎? 他們說自己是基督徒, 但他們的生命真是不堪入目, 好像只剩下兩條羊腿或半個耳朵的羊一樣。但更大的問題, 這樣的基督徒, 他們完全不知道自己的光境, 因為他們躺臥在床角上或鋪繡花毯的榻上, 他們住在過冬和過夏的房屋, 象牙的房屋和高大的房屋裡, 他們根本沒有任何的危機意識, 他們太安逸, 因為在耶羅婆安二世的時候, 正是以色列最強盛的時候啊！
所以，在第九節神邀請二個國家來看以色列, 就是非利士與埃及, 「要在亞實突的宮殿中, 和埃及地的宮殿裡傳揚說, 你們要聚集在撒瑪利亞的山上, 就看見城中有何等大的擾亂與欺壓的事。」神要這二個國家看什麼呢? 不是看國家的強大, 乃是看國家在道德上的敗壞, 一個以神立國的國家, 一個有神律法的國家, 竟然充滿了道德上的敗壞, 這是怎樣的信仰？
教會, 神也要讓沒有信主的人來看我們, 他們要看我們的生命, 你是一個怎樣的基督徒, 當他們向你說, 你真是基督徒, 為什麼你作這樣的事？你是真的信主的嗎? 你要反省啊！我不敢說你沒有得救, 但你可能只一個兩條羊腿或半個耳朵得救的基督徒。
神為要以色列醒悟過來，3:15 我要拆毀過冬和過夏的房屋, 象牙的房屋也必毀滅, 高大的房屋都歸無有, 這是耶和華說的。目的使他們沒有任何的倚靠, 神也要拆毀我們那些自以爲可靠的, 使我們謙卑來到祂面前。不要再作兩條羊腿或半個耳朵的基督徒了, 今天就悔改吧!