Amos 3:14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.
By Richard Lodwick
As we have said, Bethel was a special place to God. He sent Elijah there, as one of the places he would go before he was taken up in the chariot of fire (2Ki. 2:2 & 2Ki. 2). There was a school of prophets there (2Ki. 2:3). Elisha went up there (2Ki. 2:23). A priest came there to teach the people how they should “fear the LORD” (2Ki. 17:28). But we are also told about the golden calves that were there (2Ki. 10:29). O, how they had profaned Bethel and the altar there that WAS holiness (Jer. 2:3), and Bethel WAS holiness, but wicked, ungodly leadership took them far down a path of wickedness and destruction. May we learn about voting for such leaders! But I want us to discuss this awful fall before we move on. Read Amos 3:14 above, again. Transgressions, plural! Pagan altars, plural, there now!
God is telling Israel, in Amos, that He is going to judge the nations, and He will then judge them. The horns of an altar were where blood was applied. Read Ex. 27:2 & 29:12. Brass symbolizes judgment. With the blood on it it shows that Israel obeyed God and blood was applied as an atonement for judgment. Bethel now would have those horns removed by God. NO MORE atoning for judgment. NOW judgment would come unabated, unchecked. Idolatry would be judged. God would tear down the altar Jeroboam built, and all the little ones like it! But now go to Am. 4:4.
In Amos 4 God is judging the women of Israel who had a part in this debauched filthy idol worship, O, how we need faithful, Godly, holy, pure women in this nation. Moms that are teaching their children about God and Jesus. O, how a nation falls when women fall into a sinful wicked lifestyle. God is telling them, Keep coming (notice he says “come” indicating He is there), and keep sinning now, judgment is inevitable! You are incorrigible! O, how Bethel has fallen! Do you see it? Notice the detail of the pagan worship there. He didn’t say come and worship me, but come and transgress, and watch what I will now do! Now see Am. 5:5-10. Judgment on Bethel and the people, who turned away the prophets telling them to stop! Go AHEAD and MULTIPLY your transgressions. What a statement! Get worse, for that is what you want, God says. O, the fall! Now see Am. 7:13. Here is where Amaziah, a pagan priest tells Amos not to speak there anymore. A dangerous thing to silence God’s preachers! O, how far Israel had fallen and how far Bethel had been taken down. Do you see it? Is it possible even so with us, tho? Yes, it is. But may we learn from these last mini series and keep the teaching in our hearts, and KEEP OUR Bethel holy to the LORD always! I close by pointing you to Hos. 10:12-14. KEEP your Bethel holy and pure! LET IT NEVER fall like this, for it surely can!
All CBBI Mini-series are authored by Richard Lodwick.