Lesson 4

Prepare to Meet Thy God

(Amos 4)
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Introduction: How many of you have seen or heard of the stereotype of a fat, unshaven American male sitting in front of the television watching football and calling out to his wife, "Bring me another beer from the refrigerator!" Ladies, somehow you have let things get away from you. Amos writes about fat women sitting around yelling at their husbands, "Bring us some drinks!" Yes, that's in the Bible. Let's dive into our lesson and learn more!

  1. "Bring Us Some Drinks!"


    1. **Read Amos 4:1. How many women like to be called a "cow?"


      1. Don't you expect God's messenger to be polite?


      2. How about your pastor, minister or priest?


      3. Does God always tell His people what they want to hear?


    2. Is there any reason to be insulting? Is there anything wrong with asking your husband to bring you a drink?


      1. If not, why does Amos bring this up?(Vines suggests that the word "shatah," translated "drinks," may give the connotation of being drunk. This is like the stereotype mentioned in the introduction. These drunken wives call out for their husbands to bring them another one.)


    3. What is mentioned that is clearly wrong with these women? (They oppress the poor.)


    4. Husbands, can you see any link between oppressing the poor and making you get drinks?


    5. Let me give you a little more background. The people of Bashan were known for raising fat cattle. (See Ezekiel 39:18) What happens to fat cows on a cattle ranch? (They get slaughtered. This helps to bring this into focus. These lazy, indulgent, perhaps drunken, "women" (see note below) show no respect for their spouse or for the poor. Before you ladies get too distressed about this, Jamieson, Fausett and Brown's Commentary notes that the feminine word "cow" is intermixed with masculine references to people. This could mean that both men and women are included or that Amos is insulting the men by calling them "girls.")


      1. It seems clear that Amos is intending an insult, although which one is not completely clear. Why do you think Amos uses this kind of language? (If someone insults you, does it get your attention? I'm not sure preachers should routinely start out their sermons this way, however!)


  2. No Security, No Peace


    1. **Read Amos 4:2-3. Does verse 2 make more sense to you when you understand the reference to slaughtering cattle? (In a slaughterhouse the meat is hung on hooks.)


      1. What picture do you see in your mind when you read about "fish hooks?" (The people are pulled violently and unexpectedly out of their lifestyle.)


    2. What is meant (v.3) by "breaks in the wall?" (The outer wall protected the city. This pictures their wall of security being broken through and the people pulled out. When I was very young I saw a television program about lions in Africa breaking a hole in the wall of the hut and pulling out (and eating) small children. That program really worried me because I did not know how far lions could swim! Amos is not painting a pretty picture about their future.)


    3. **Read Amos 4:4-5. Bethel and Gilgal were centers in which idol worship was practiced. Is it sin to bring offerings? How about "leavened" offerings? (Leavened bread has yeast and this was specifically prohibited. See Leviticus 2:11)


      1. Is it "OK" to tell others about your offerings? (There are at least three problems here. One is that they are giving money to false gods. Second, they are giving unacceptable offerings. Last, they are telling others about the offering: the sin of pride.)


      2. Do you let others know about your large contributions to the church? If so, is that sin?


        1. How about letting your pastor know? (Many years ago we had a member who would give a "year end" check to the church by handing it to the Pastor. The Pastor certainly appreciated the contributions of this member.)


        2. What about having your name on a plaque on the wall of the church or the school from which you graduated? (In all of this we need to be concerned about the sin of pride.)


    4. Let's stop and analyze the situation for a moment here. The "cows" say to their husbands to bring drinks, they give offerings and tithes, they let others know about their generosity, they worship idols and they oppress the poor. Do they seem all bad? (Yes. This is all about self. They crush the poor to benefit themselves, they prefer themselves over their husbands, they worship however they please, they give offerings (a generally unselfish act) to make themselves look good. These are people who live for themselves.)


      1. How about you? Do you see yourself in this picture of the cows?


    1. **Read Amos 4:6-8. The next two verses (9-10) are much the same. What would be the modern equivalent of these problems? (They are hungry because their farming businesses are in trouble: these are economic problems.)


      1. What is God's goal in sending these problems? (God repeats "yet you have not returned to me." God's goal was to have the people who lived for self to turn back to Him. He did it by attacking the root of their selfishness.)


        1. Why would economic failures cause the people to return to God? (It is in the unique nature of their problems. God is in charge of nature -- not their false gods. When nature did not cooperate with their farming, the first question they should have asked themselves "Is (the true) God unhappy with us?")


    2. Are you troubled by this picture of a threatening, punishing God? (J.A. Motyer's book on Amos (IVP) cites several supporting texts for us to consider. Amos 3:6 - "When disaster comes to a city, has not the Lord caused it?"; Isaiah 45:7 - "I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the Lord do all these things."; Matthew 10:29 - "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father."; Romans 11:36 - "For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen." Like the "cows" we want a religion and a God that fits our view of what He should be like. We want a convenient, comfortable, completely understandable, non-threatening God. But He is the Creator and we are the creation and He does not have to "fit" into our view of things. Rather, we need to "fit" into His view of what is required of us!)


  1. A Burning Stick Snatched From the Fire

    1. **Read Amos 4:11-12. God compares His listeners to a stick snatched from the fire. Why did God snatch them from the fire? (He gave them a second chance. He gave them a warning and they did not return to Him.)


      1. Did everyone get a second chance? (No. God apparently did not "snatch" all of them because they were "overthrown" like Sodom and Gomorrah.)


      2. Could the stick have saved itself? (No. It would have burned if God had not intervened.)


        1. Is that us? (Yes. God calls on us to turn to Him. Even when we do not and find ourselves in the middle of "fire," God still shows a willingness to save us.)


    2. God says in verse 12, "Prepare to meet your God." Is this simply a warning of doom? (When Amos says "your God" I think he is giving the people hope. This phrase occurs again in Amos 9:15 where God is comforting the people. Balanced against all of these "hard nosed" warnings and disasters is a God who is taking His time to persuade us to return. A God who wants us to come to Him.)


      1. Friend, are you prepared to meet God? God warns all of us to turn away from our sins and return to Him. He does that because He cares about us. Every one of us will some day (and maybe today) "meet our God." We need to be prepared. The warning and the invitation goes out to you today.


  1. Next week: "Seek the Lord."

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Lessons on Amos

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