By Elizabeth Prata
I finished reading through Amos. A hard book, but a majestic one. God is at the center of it. His wrath, righteousness, and holiness. It ends with a promise, as do most of the prophetic books-
I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,
says the LORD your God.
Earlier in Amos 5 we read of yet some more false gods the people were worshiping. It never ends, this parade of false gods. We’re familiar with Artemis, Dagon, Molech, Neshutan, and Asherah. Here are two more:
You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves (Amos 5:26)
All the commentaries to which I’d referred explain that little is known of the two gods mentioned in Amos. The Lexham Bible Dictionary says,
SAKKUTH. A Mesopotamian star god (Amos 5:26). The prophet Amos refers to “Sikkuth” and “Kiyyun,” but the identification of both is difficult. The names are vocalized in Hebrew according to words for idols (shiqquts; shiqquts, “detestable thing”; gilwl; gillul, “idol”), which may have been intended distortions of the Mesopotamian names Sakkuth and Kaiwan. However, not all scholars agree with this assessment. The Septuagint interpreted the Hebrew as the “tabernacle (or booth) of Molech,” reading (sukkath molekh), sukkat molech, and some English versions follow this in part (e.g., NIV).
The Mesopotamians worshipped Kaiwan, or Saturn, so the pairing of Sakkuth with Kaiwan makes it likely that Sakkuth is the name of another god that was associated with the planet. There is a reference to an obscure Babylonian god named Sag-kud, and although it appears to have been a planet or a star, no evidence links it directly to the planet Saturn.
The Israelites’ adoption of this god for worship may have resulted from their association with the Assyrians after the fall of the northern kingdom.
Sakkuth. In The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
I hear people talking of our supposed “free will.” Our sin nature makes it impossible for us to have a free will to do anything honoring God, knowing God, repenting to God, believing on God…until or unless He grants it. (Hebrews 11:6).
Our free will consists of a free will to sin. Look at the number of creative endeavors in the Bible related to worshipping Satan. The devastating cycle of sin and judgment in Judges shows this. The Garden…sin occurred in perfect circumstances and afterward, the two humans sinned more right away and ran from God.
We are endlessly creative in making up false gods. Anyone who is not saved is a slave of satan and it is he that’s endlessly creative with thinking up evil. Even the bronze statue of the snake twisted around the pole that God instructed Moses to form and lift up, so the Israelites would not be bitten if they looked upon it, was later installed as an idol and named Neshutan. Originally the bronze item was a help to the Israelites when used correctly, but it didn’t take long for our sin nature to corrupt it and make it something abhorrent to God. Joshua destroyed it later. (2 Kings 18:4).
So whoever Sikkuth and Kiyyun were, they were yet two more false gods in the endless parade of false gods that we create in order to worship satan and by proxy, our own fallen natures. It is easy to drift away from God, it is easy to form false gods and allow false idols into our lives. It is hard to resist sin and temptation. It is hard to stay vigilant in our spiritual disciplines.
The Lord gave us the Spirit to aid us. Here is a long list of ways the Spirit helps us, created by West Hills Community Church in Salem OR. The Lord is gracious to shepherd us at every turn, hovering over us and wanting to gather us under His wing. (Psalm 91:4). Rely on Him, appeal to Him, serve Him.