Lesson 12

Vision Five - No Escape for the Lost

(Amos 9)
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Introduction: This week we turn our study to the final vision given to Amos. This vision is not like the rest. God is not seeking Amos' input, God is not negotiating, God is executing judgment. On one hand you may shiver and say, "I don't want to read about that!" On the other hand, think back to a recent book or movie which entertained you precisely because the "good guy" ultimately got rid of the "bad guys." Is Amos 9 different because you fear you may be one of the "bad guys?" Let's jump into our study.

  1. Striking the Altar


    1. For a little background, let's read 1 Kings 12:26-28. What was Jeroboam worried about when he said (vv.26-27) the kingdom will likely revert to the house of David? (You remember King David expanded the territory held by God's people. David's son, King Solomon, took over the kingdom after King David. After King Solomon died there was essentially a tax revolt by his subjects. Ten of the northern tribes (Israel) decided to go off on their own under King Jeroboam, while the two southern tribes (Judah) remained under Solomon's son, King Rehoboam. Jeroboam was afraid that concerns about taxation might ultimately be less important than concerns about religion. Since the temple in Jerusalem was in the territory of Judah (the two tribes) Jeroboam was worried that "his" ten tribes might ultimately rejoin the two under Rehoboam.)


    2. Read 1 Kings 12:28-29,31-32. What solution did Jeroboam find to his problem? (He set up a false system of worship. He appointed all sorts of people as priests and even personally performed sacrifices.)


    3. With that background, let's start our study of Amos 9. Read Amos 9:1. Who is now standing by the altar? (God is standing by the altar. We can imagine Jeroboam sacrificing at his counterfeit altar when God comes and stands by him and orders the destruction of the this system.)


    4. Is there a comparable false system of worship today? Do you know anyone who worships an animal made of gold? Is there a worship system that is like worshiping these golden calves? ( 1 Kings 12:28 tells us that Jeroboam made the golden calves. Any system of worship that depends on the works of man, or worships the works of man, is comparable to what was done here. Notice that Jeroboam appointed his own priests, and personally offered sacrifices. All of this was contrary to God's word. Therefore, any system where the people do not pay attention to God's word in their worship would also be a comparable system.)


  1. Nowhere to Hide


    1. Read Amos 9:2-4. If we had religious persecution in our country and you needed to hide, where would you go?


      1. If you were trying to escape from God where would you go?


      2. Where does God say won't work in these verses? (God says there is no place to hide.)


      3. There is a very interesting contrast that God makes in these verses. Notice He speaks (on the high side) of going to the heavens or the top of Mt. Carmel, and (on the low side) of going to the grave or the bottom of the sea.


        1. What do you think God means when He speaks about the heavens and the grave?


        2. What does he mean when He speaks of Mt. Carmel and the sea? (I think God is talking about "spiritual" highs or lows and physical highs or lows. The spiritual highs or lows involve work (v.2 - digging or climbing). God says that being "good" or "bad" under the false system of worship will not protect you from me. Running for physical shelter will also not protect you.)


    2. Does this "nowhere to hide" statement make you nervous? On the world scene right now we have terrorists who are hiding in mountains in Afghanistan. Are you hoping that they will be able to successfully hide? (Whatever happens here on earth, God's judgment should cause us to cheer. He is bringing an end to sin, suffering and death - and those who promote it.)


      1. How can we be sure we are not going to be one of those who feels the need to hide when judgment comes? (Read Jesus' words in Mark 1:15. Jesus calls on us to repent and to believe the "good news" of His death to take away our sins.)


    3. Have you had feelings that God is ignoring you? That He is not aware of your requests for help? What does the "nowhere to hide" statement suggest to you? (It suggests that God knows of our problems. That if He knows how to find the unrighteous, He certainly knows how to find those who want to follow Him.)


  2. Lord Almighty


    1. Read Amos 9:5-6. Just how powerful is our God? (This text has some amazing word pictures. God can touch the earth and melt it!)


      1. What are you reminded of in the second part of verse 6? (This is a reference to God's power in destroying the world with the Flood. God says "I did it before and I can do it again.")


  3. Dream World


    1. Read Amos 9:7-10. God asks His people if they are better than other people? What do you think is the answer?


      1. Didn't God specifically love and protect Israel above other nations?


      2. Read Deuteronomy 7:12-14. Is God's love conditional? Compare Matthew 5:44-45. (God loves everyone. However, He holds out a special blessing for those who respond to Him.)


      3. Does this mean that God specifically loved Israel more than other nations? (The people had disobeyed God and therefore had forfeited any claim to be better loved by God than their neighbors.)


      4. Do you think that "God's people" understood their current status? (No. They were living in a "spiritual dream world." This is the worst of all spiritual conditions: so proud about your religious beliefs that you fail to recognize you have fallen out of God's will.)


    2. Notice again Amos 9:7 again. Do other peoples have an "exodus story" just like the Jews? (This is the most novel part of our study. I have always looked at the Jews as being God's "peculiar" people ( Exodus 19:5 KJV) over all the nations on the earth. Verse 7 suggests however, that God gave special favors to other nations as well. The key is the thought expressed in Titus 2:14 that God searches for a people with whom to have a special relationship because they are eager to do good and to reflect the holiness of God.)


  4. The Hope


    1. Read Amos 9:11-12. What do we find at the end of God's declaration of judgment and destruction? (He will restore the fortunes of those who "bear [God's] name." We will go into this in more detail next week.)


    2. Friend, is that you? Are you, like the people facing judgment, kidding yourself about being in a right relationship with God? Are you, too, living in a dream world? If so, the time is now to repent and turn to God so that you will be one who "bears God's name."


  5. Next Week: Restoration

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