Lesson 7

"At Ease in Zion"

(Amos 6)
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Introduction: What do you want for your future? The future of your children? You want respect, health, enough money to live "comfortably" (financial security), your own home and secure and loving family relationships. Anyone have something to add to this list? They had that in Israel and Judah, but Amos is complaining about it. Let's jump into our study and discover whether we should modify our dreams!

  1. Complacent in Zion


    1. Read Amos 6:1,4-6. Are these people respected? (Yes, they are "notable" and people come to them for advice.)


      1. How is their food situation? (They are well fed and they drink wine by the bowl.)


      2. How is their financial situation? (They have expensive furniture and they use the finest lotions. They sound like they have money.)


      3. How are their family relationships? (They seem to be playing music together - spending time with each other.)


      4. So, what is the problem? (Amos says they are (v.1) "complacent" and they "do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.")


    2. A number of years ago I read an article attacking "celebration" worship. The thesis of the article was that we should not be celebrating, we should be sad and serious about our sins. I dismissed the article as obvious nonsense because it failed to cite a single Bible text. Could the verses we just read have been cited in this article?


      1. Should we be sad and grieving over sin?


      2. The real focus of the complaint in these verses seems to involve this term "the ruin of Joseph." It is obviously important, what do you think this means? (Read 1 Chronicles 5:1. The sons of Joseph are spoken of as being given the birthright. Thereafter, the Bible sometimes refers to God's people as "Joseph." These people are complacent about the fact that their nation is being ruined.)


      3. What obligation does that suggest for us today? ( Romans 5:1-2 tells to rejoice in the hope that Jesus has given to us. We are not called upon to be sad. In fact, if you look up the word "rejoice," in a concordance, you will be amazed at how often it appears in the Bible. On the other hand, we are to take seriously the sin problem in our life, our family, our church and our society. Comfort and success in our life can desensitize us to the sin problem.)


  2. Learning Lessons


    1. We skipped over Amos 6:2-3. Let's read these verses. When you see someone you know get in trouble, do you worry about that happening to you?


      1. This week a friend of mine died of a heart attack. I've known him for about 20 years and I spoke with him at church hours before he died. He was in his 40's and a bit younger than I am. Do you think I thought of all of the reasons why I might have died instead of him? (No. Aside from having to admit he was younger than I am, I tried to think of all of the reasons why this should NOT happen to me.)


      2. Do you do that - try to think bad things will not happen to you? Have you ever considered the ages at which your parents died and compared their situation to yours? (Sons often think of the age when their fathers died, and then compare their life. My father was several years older than I am when he had a massive heart attack. I tell myself that I am thinner, eat a better diet, exercise more, etc. than Dad did. Why? Because I want to convince myself of all the reasons why the same thing should not happen to me at his age.)


      3. What is God's point in Amos 6:2-3? Why does putting things off bring terror? (Remember back to when we started studying Amos. In chapter 1 Amos was talking about the sins of all of the neighboring countries and how God was going to punish them? God now says in verse 2 "Look what happened to these neighbors. Do you think you are better than they are?")


        1. Did the people think what happened to their neighbors could not happen to them? (Yes. As a result, God says in verse 3, terror is heading your way. God gives His people a reality check. Instead of telling ourselves all the reasons why our sins are not as bad as those of others, we need to learn a lesson from what sin does in the lives of those around us.)


    2. Consider the picture Amos paints. The people are living well. They are complacent. When they look over at the disaster hitting other people they say, "Hey, glad that's not us!


  3. What God Hates


    1. Read Amos 6:7-8. "Abhor" and "detest" are pretty strong words. Brown-Driver-Brigg's definition for the word translated "abhor" is "loath." Is there anything about you that God should loath and detest? What is it that God loathed about His people? (Their pride and their fortresses.)


      1. I'm short on fortresses these days. What do you think God means? (Strong's tells us that the word translated "fortresses" means "to be elevated" and applies it to a castle, palace, or citadel.)


      2. What attitude do you think God is describing? (The picture I see here is someone who thinks he does not need God. He gives himself credit for his success. He thinks he is "elevated" above others so that he depends upon himself.)


        1. Does God hate fancy homes? Didn't we start out saying we wanted wealth and comfort for ourselves and our children? Is that a problem? (Maybe. It depends on our motives and our attitudes. This gets back to the "adornment" issue ( 1 Peter 3:3-4). If we wear fancy rings, expensive jewelry and cloths, drive fancy cars and build great homes to show off that we are better than others, then we have a problem.)


        2. Is the sin in the money spent on these things or in the attitude they reveal?


        3. I am a "car guy." I love cars. But, for years I drove old vehicles that I thought God led me to "find" for bargain prices. (For example, a $200 Honda Accord, a $1,000 Isuzu truck.)I thought God was working on my pride by having me drive these vehicles. At the same time, I was worried that people would conclude I was not a very good lawyer because I drove these old cars. Even today I drive old cars - and have not paid more than $10,000 for any car during the last 14 years. Today, however, my cars are very expense looking. (A Mercedes "S class" and a Corvette.) If the sin is in the appearance, rather than in the money, am I still nursing an attitude God detests? How about you in your adornment, clothes, cars, home?


        4. Does "the church" do enough to combat the evils of pride and self-reliance? Or, do we reward "self-made" men and women by giving them high church offices?


  4. A Lack of Common Sense


    1. Read Amos 6:9-10. Amos pulls back the curtain to show the people the coming destruction. Verse 9 suggests a lot of people in one house. This is in contrast to the rich lifestyle pictured in verses 4-6. The fact that someone comes to burn them suggests that they may have died of plague. The "good news" is that some live. However, those who live "must not" mention God's name. Why is that? (J.A. Motyer's commentary on Amos says that they have walked so long out of God's will they had no liberty to speak his name. The lesson suggests it could be because they no longer believed in God. Perhaps they blamed God. Another suggestion from the lesson is that the unhealthy side of guilt kept them from turning to God.)


      1. Consider the sequence of actions in verse 10. The person left alive is asked if anyone is with him. What is the logical answer to that? (If I were answering, it would be "Praise God, I was spared. God is with me!" I think the fact that he "must not" mention God shows a continuing lack of a proper relationship with God.)


    2. Read Amos 6:11. Do you fancy house people feel better now? (Both the great and small houses get smashed. This shows that it is the people's attitude towards God, rather than the size of their house, that creates the problem.)


    3. Read Amos 6:12-13. Do horses run on rocky crags? Do you plow on rocks? Why is God asking these questions? (God is saying what a lot of parents say to their children, "What IS wrong with you?" Have you lost your mind? Where is your common sense?)


      1. In what area have the people lost their common sense? (First, they were trusting themselves and not God. The retaking of the city of Lo Debar (compare 2 Kings 10:32-33 with 2 Kings 13:25) was based on God's assistance (see the story in 2 Kings 13:14-19), but the people claimed it came through their own power.)


    4. Friend, how about you? God calls on us to use our common sense to turn to Him for life. We must not trust ourselves or our wealth. Our goal in life is a right relationship with God, rather than wealth and comfort.


  5. Next Week: Vision One - Locusts and Prayer

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Lessons on Amos

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