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Lesson No. 28—Use your Bible in Class. Get to Know and Love it.

LESSON THEME:—AMOS

Amos 4:6-12.

  • KEYWORD—”PUNISHMENT.”

  • KEY VERSEAmos 4:12.

  • KEY PHRASE—”THE NATIONS AND ISRAEL CALLED TO ACCOUNT.”

Home Readings.

Read this lesson and then the whole hook of Amos. It is simple, eloquent sermon. For the family altar read:—

WRITER—Amos was a native of Tekoa, a small town about 12 miles south of Jerusalem. Amos was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, nor did he attend the schools of the prophets. By occupation he was a shepherd and a fruit-grower. As he followed the flock in Judea, God called him to prophesy in the northern kingdom, Israel. In obedience to this call he went to Bethel where the sanctuary was. There he preached with such earnestness and plainness or speech that Amaziah, the leading idolatrous priest, complained to the king and he was expelled from the kingdom. Ile probably returned to his home at Tekoa, where he wrote this book.

TIME OF WRITING—About 760 B. C. While Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II. was king of Israel. Prosperity had brought great evils to the people. The rich lived in great luxury, and drank and feasted to excess amid delicate perfumes and soft strains of varied music, Amos 6:4-6. But all this was obtained through violence and robbery, Amos 3:10. The poor and needy were sold as slaves, and false weights and measures were used, Amos 2:6. The judges were corrupt, Amos 5:7, and to be upright was to be unpopular and to be hated, Amos 5:10.

PURPOSE—To foretell the punishment that should come upon foreign nations, and to condemn Israel for its idolatry and oppression.

GREAT FACTS:—

  1. Nations.

  2. Israel.

  3. Visions.

Great Fact I. Prophecies Against the Nations.

Amos 1; Amos 2.

The accusations against the nations were called forth because they had harmed other nations. Damascus standing for Syria heads the list, because her cruelties had been most felt, by Israel. She had been fiercely cruel. The Philistines come next because they had sold Israelites into bitter slavery. The prophet next turns to Tyre, for they had acted as slave agents. Edom comes next because of its hatred and fighting against Israel. Next comes Ammon for its wicked crimes. Then judgement falls upon Ammon because of their meanness and sacrilege in wrecking their vengeance upon a corpse. Such were the charges that Amos brings against the heathen neighbours of Israel, and the commerce which bound these nations together as the slave-trade in most odious form.

LESSON—The fact that punishment came upon these nations, reminds us:—

  1. That the mightiest human kingdoms cannot prevent God’s judgements from coining upon them. The Canaanites were a great people, yet because of their corruption, God took away their country from them. Pharaoh was the mightiest despot of the old world, yet he and his hosts because of their obstinacy were cast into the Red Sea. Napoleon and the Kaiser thought they were superior to God and acted independent of Him, but they were soon Put beneath His feet. God will not be hindered. God’s helpers shall be exalted, His hinderers brought low.

  2. That God knows all about human sine which fact should make us careful and prayerful to avoid evil and devoutly Pursue the good. It should also impress us with the wonderful patience of God. Lamentations 3:22. Because of this patience He suspends His anger toward the wicked lest they be instantly destroyed, and instantly forgives and forgets the sins of the righteous it they confess them, 1 John 1:9.

Said a boy: “Father forgives me when I’ve done wrong, but I see in his face all the day after, that although he does not frown, yet he remembers what I did in the morning. He does not forget.” God forgives and forgets. He makes it up altogether!

Great Fact II. Charges Against Israel.

Amos 3; Amos 4; Amos 5; Amos 6.

Amos now addresses both Israel and Judah. They were a chosen nation, therefore they should be punished. They stood more fully in the light and therefore they cast a darker shadow. The prophets tells them first about their civil oppressions. Righteousness seems to have been forgotten. Over their magnificent homes and courts might be written only cruelty and injustice. The women are contemptuously called “Kine of Bashan” because they were wholly absorbed in worldliness and luxury. The prophet tells the people that when they went on their religious pilgrim. age to Bethel and Gilgal it was only to add sin to sin, for their worship was mere formal ritual, and half idolatrous. They were reminded that God had sent upon them drouth, plagues and earthquakes, yet they repented not.

LESSON—When God’s people do not glorify Him, He glorifies Himself by punishing them. God never threatens, however, without offering a way of escape, never warns without also pleading with men to repent. Again and again has lie stepped from the chariot of His thunder that He might put His arms around some sinner and bid him come home. He has waited for men whom others have forgotten or are ashamed of. The Bible is terrific and awful beyond all other books in denouncing sin, and threatening wrath, yet it is shot through and through with the spirit of pity and mercy and hope, and no one will be finally lost except he push on by the divine arms of compassion.

Great Fact III. Five Visions.

Amos 7; Amos 8; Amos 9.

Amos used these visions for much the same reason that the Master employed parables, to illustrate and enforce the messages. In the first vision the prophet sees green fields, but lo! God formed locusts and they ate the grass. Fearful lest famine should ensue if they devoured the crops of wheat, Amos pleads earnestly for his country and the Lord stays the Plague.

In the second vision there was a fire that was so terrible that it devoured not the land only, but also the great deep. Again the prophet pleads and his prayer is heard, the Lord said: “This also shall not be.”

In the third vision the Lord is seen with a plumb-line measuring the city for destruction. This time the prophet realizes that judgement is so certain, that he does not have the heart to intercede.

In the fourth vision a basket of summer fruit is seen. This meant that although Israel thought themselves to be sweet and luscious fruit yet in reality they were rotten at heart and would soon be cast aside.

The last vision revealed the Lord standing by the altar, bidding the prophet to smite the doorposts and shatter the fragments upon all their heads. The worshippers were to be scattered until all the dinners died by the sword.

As with the other prophecies this book closes with a bright picture of the future. The whole land should once more be one kingdom under the House of David. The Tabernacle of David now torn down, should be rebuilt and its sway should extend over all nations which are called by the Lord’s name. There shall also be a great plenty, so that a happy people shall dwell in a happy land. This has not yet been fulfilled in a literal sense, but will be at the Lord’s coming.

LESSON—National prosperity is still awaiting the scattered children of Israel. The land of promise shall again flow with milk and honey. Jerusalem shall again be the capital of a mighty kingdom. The hills of Judah and the plains of Israel shall again be tilled by the children of Jacob. A converted Israel shall yet witness to the grace of the Messiah, now rejected by them, but then to be served with passionate devotion.

For us now, this picture tells of the spiritual prosperity and gladness that should be appropriated from God’s Word. Of peace which is for the heart of man. Of satisfaction for man’s deepest wants. Of a sure abiding place for the faithful in the care and love of the Eternal. Of a Kingdom which is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Of songs of gladness and thanksgiving in which all the redeemed may join.

It is only as we have faith in the literal and spiritual fulfilment of all God’s promises that we shall toil on for our own, and for the world’s greatest good.

Questions on the Lesson.

  1. Who was Amos and what his occupation?

  2. Where did he preach and what the result?

  3. In whose reign was the book written?

  4. What the conditions of the time?

  5. What the purpose of the book?

  6. Name the great facts.

  7. Give key word and key verse.

  8. How much of Amos have you read?

  9. Why were the nations accused?

  10. What commerce bound them together?

  11. Show that kingdoms cannot escape judgement.

  12. Does God know about human sins?

  13. Tell about the patience of God.

  14. What could be written over the homes and courts of Israel?

  15. What did God send to bring the people to repentance?

  16. If men do not glorify God, how does He glorify Himself?

  17. Why did Amos use visions?

  18. Show how the book closes with a bright picture of the future.

  19. What awaits scattered Israel?

  20. Tell about spiritual prosperity and gladness.

  21. Show that faith in the fulfilment of Prophecy helps one.

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