Lesson 3

Hear This Word

(Amos 3, Galatians 6)
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Introduction: When I was a kid I would point out to my Dad that other kids got to do things I didn't get to do. (Like wear tight jeans - I had to wear the baggy ones. Guess times have changed!) My Dad would answer me by saying, "They aren't Don Cameron's sons." Was that was an adequate answer from my father? Yes. Because I was my Father's son I had "special obligations" to him that others did not have. Does God place special responsibilities upon His people that are not placed on the rest of the world? Let's jump into our continued study of Amos and find out!

  1. Out of Egypt


    1. Read Amos 3:1-2. God often mentions to His people that He rescued them from Egypt. Was this just "old news" to the people? Or, do you see that God has some special point in this? If God has a special point, what is it? (God is saying that He rescued them and chose them alone to have a special relationship with Him.)


      1. Why would the fact that they are specially chosen mean that God should specially punish them? (Being chosen by God does not mean that you only get blessings. You also carry a responsibility to God. 1 Corinthians 4:2 says that those who have been given a trust much prove faithful. Having God's special blessing is a trust - and Israel had let God down.)


  2. Today's Trust?


    1. There is a lot of discussion among Christians in the United States about whether the recent terrorist attacks on the U.S. are the result of God withdrawing His protection from the U.S. because of our sins. Others say the U.S. is not like Israel. What makes us think that God ever gave us special blessings?


      1. What do you think about this? Has God chosen the U.S. for special blessings?


      2. Has God placed a "trust" in the U.S. and we have let Him down?


      3. I am sensitive to the fact that this lesson goes out world-wide. (I've gotten in trouble in the past for not being sensitive enough about this!) Let me ask readers of all countries, how do you think the U.S. come to be the world-power that it is today?


        1. Is it because it is older than other countries?


        2. Is it because its people are smarter or harder working?


        3. Is it because it has more natural resources than others?


        4. Is it because it has better harbors than others?


        5. Is it because it has a bigger population than others? More land mass? (Isn't the answer, "no" to each of these questions? Other countries can lay claim to the title in each of these areas. The only conclusion I draw is that the Lord decided to bless the U.S.. Not only are its founding documents overtly Christian, but its system of laws has long been based on the Ten Commandments. At the same time the U.S. has had a generally excellent record of religious and civil freedom. See Psalms 75:6-7.)


    2. What about you personally? Has God blessed you? Do you have special obligations to God other than just accepting His blessings? (This is a very tricky area. If you are going to stand up and say "God blessed me" then, if Amos has lessons for us today, you need to be careful to obey God.)


    3. Read Deuteronomy 4:5-9. Why do these verses suggest that God blesses a nation or a person? (God says that a nation which prospers can have a positive influence on others. The other nations will look and say, "How can I be like that?")


      1. How does the U.S. score on that issue? (Terribly - at least in part. Our "Hollywood" and music cultures has long polluted the world.)


      2. How about you? What is your influence at work? What is your influence among your neighbors?


  3. The Aharit


    1. Read Galatians 6:7-8. Our lesson (Wednesday) highlights the Hebrew word "aharit" and its meaning "that which comes after; final consequences; ends." Do we get our "final consequences" here in life? What does the text in Galatians suggest? (It suggests that we get our "final consequences" at the judgment. Either we get destruction or we get eternal life.)


      1. Why, then, did God punish Israel during Amos' time?


        1. Read Amos 3:9. Does this suggest an answer? (God was punishing Israel as an example to her enemies! Just as Israel's blessings were a positive influence upon other countries when it followed God, so when it turned away from God its punishment was to be an influence on other nations.)


        2. Is this principle also true among individuals? (Most of the time our "reward" (for either good or evil) is at least partially in this life. But, we have all seen situations where it seems clear the "reward" will await the final judgment.)


    2. Two weeks ago we studied in some detail Amos 3:4-10. We will not repeat that study except to say that in these verses God takes illustrations from every day life to teach that the trouble that is about to befall Israel is the result of them turning away from Him. Let's pick up a point we didn't discuss. Let's look back at Amos 3:9 again. God summarizes two areas of evil: unrest and oppression. Is there "unrest" in your church?


      1. Are you part of the cause of it?


      2. How serious a problem is "unrest" within the body of believers?


    3. Let's move down and read Amos 3:11-12. How is Israel "saved?"


      1. Parents, is this your worst nightmare?


      2. What lesson for your life and the lives of your children do you draw from this definition of being "saved?" (Sin does not generally kill us in the short term. What sin does is wound us. It cripples our future. Sometimes it does this by removing our spiritual "authority" (as in the case of David and Bathsheba), sometimes it destroys our reputation, and sometimes it physically harms us.)


      3. Why does verse 12 refer to those sitting on the edge of the bed and on the couch as being part of the injured? (The Adam Clarke Commentary on this verse says that a couch in a corner was a very distinguished place to be. This judgment is not going to skip over the rich, honored or distinguished people. Wealth and honor will not be a buffer to the coming events.)


    4. Read Amos 3:13-15. In the coming destruction, why does God specifically mention places of worship? Why does He mention the altar?


      1. Is there a message in this for us today?(We need to be very careful about what we "worship" in life. The reference to Bethel is a reference to idol worship. The "horns of the altar" means that no place is safe for us when God comes to punish. In 1 Kings 1:50 and 1 Kings 2:28 we read of men who fled to the "horns of the altar" and held on to be saved from the fury of the king. This was apparently considered a place of refuge. The place of refuge will be gone when God comes to punish.)


  4. Our Picture of God


    1. Our lesson (Thursday)has a point we must ask ourselves: how do we reconcile the God of Amos with the loving Jesus?


      1. Do we have two different Gods: the God of thunder, lightning, earthquake and judgment in the Old Testament and the God of healing, help, kindness and suffering in the New Testament? (They are one God. Jesus shows us the infinite love that our Father in Heaven has for us. However, part of love is judgment on sin. Amos shows us the terrible nature of sin and that God will ultimately destroy sin and sinners. He will not however ( Amos 3:7) do it without first revealing His intentions to us.)


    2. Friend, how is your life? How is your walk with God? Are you faithful in your worship? Are you faithful in your witness to others? If not, God calls on us to take a long look at His view of our sins and to turn away from them.


  5. Next Week: Prepare to Meet Thy God

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Lessons on Amos

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