And Then There Were None

by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

Text: Amos 6:3-11


I.         One of my favorite mystery writers was Agatha Christie. She would write books where you tried to figure out who did it before the end of the book, but in the process you were distracted by so many possibilities.

            A.        One of my favorites was based on the old children’s nursery rhyme: Ten Little Indians, but that was too politically incorrect, so the title became “And Then There Were None.”

            B.        The story has ten people on an isolated island and they die off, one by one.

                        1.         By the end of the book, everyone is dead. Then the question was who was the murderer when no one survived.

                        2.         I won’t tell you the ending, but I was reminded of it by a passage in Amos 6 that we had for our Bible reading.

II.        Israel and Judah had become complacent and arrogant in their glory days

            A.        Amos was written during the reigns of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel, about 30-40 years before Assyria destroyed Israel.

                        1.         God had warned that in the days when everything appeared to be going well, that was the time people would become careless - Deuteronomy 32:15

                        2.         These were times when the economy was booming and the borders were expanding.

            B.        People had a hard time imaging that disaster was looming on the horizon - Amos 6:1-3

                        1.         Even when neighboring kingdoms were falling to the Assyrians, Israel could not believe such would happen to her.

            C.        The upper crust in society lived in large and luxurious homes, filled with soft couches.

                        1.         Food was plentiful and banquets abounded

                        2.         Indulgence in wine, fine music, and high culture were enjoyed by many.

                        3.         People felt secure as they anointed themselves with fine perfumes.

            D.        God was treated as just another idol - II Kings 17:7-17

                        1.         The core problem was that they did not fear God - II Kings 17:34-40

                                    a.         If anything, they treated God as a good-luck charm

                        2.         God warned them that would learn to fear Him- Amos 5:25-27

III.       Even with the warnings of the prophets, the people thought they would be able to escape - Amos 5:18-20

            A.        They did not take God seriously

            B.        But God said they would learn to fear Him - Amos 4:10-13

            C.        When the destruction started, people tried to hide - Amos 6:8-9

                        1.         But they could not hide. All was destroyed.

            D.        When the undertaker comes to remove the bodies, he asks the one who hid the best if anyone else is left - but there were none - Amos 6:10a

                        1.         Consider how this reflects what God had said - II Kings 17:18

                        2.         All the nations, including Israel were gone. They could not escape, but somehow Judah was left ... Judah alone

IV.      But then the undertaker says something strange - Amos 6:10b

            A.        Don’t even mention God’s name! Why?

            B.        For decades they treated God as a good-luck charm, an idol that blessed them no matter what.

                        1.         Now that disaster struck, they blamed God for the ruin

                        2.         Don’t attract God’s attention. We don’t want any more of this “idol’s” blessings.

                        3.         In other words, the people did not get it. They feared God, but they would still treat Him as an idol, though now as a bad-luck piece - II Kings 17:29-33

            C.        In truth, they still did not fear God - II Kings 17:34-41

            D.        Jeremiah confronted one group of idolaters

                        1.         After three waves of destruction, people were still worshiping “the Queen of Heaven” - Jeremiah 44:1-6

                        2.         God tells them, their continued idolatry will provoke another response - Jeremiah 44:7-14

                        3.         But notice the response! - Jeremiah 44:15-19

                                    a.         They were convinced that Jerusalem’s destruction was due to them pausing their idol worship

                                    b.         So they were determine to go back to it

                        4.         God would not endure this any more - Jeremiah 44:20-28

            E.        There just was no remedy - II Chronicles 36:15-17

V.        It is easy look down on these people and condemn their stupidity

            A.        But we are to learn - I Corinthians 10:6,11-12

            B.        We live in a time when people call themselves Christians, but they are not even trying to live the life of a Christian

                        1.         They treat God as a way to gain their every wish and desire

                        2.         The name of God is not treated seriously. It is just a profanity to say when you are shocked or mad.

            C.        I don’t know when God will decide that He has had enough of this, but I’m absolutely certain we are not immune from God’s wrath

            D.        One day this world will end - II Peter 3:3-10

            E.        What will you do? Go deeper into worldliness, or turn to holiness? - II Peter 3:11-14

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