Wednesday: Israel’s Rendezvous With God
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

“Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12).

Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Chapter 4 of Amos begins with the description of Israel’s sins, and it ends with the announcement of the day of reckoning. God makes His people especially accountable for the ways in which they live and treat others.

Amos has listed a series of natural disasters, any one of which should have been enough to turn the nation to God. The list is composed of seven disasters, the [...]

Tuesday: The Peril of Privilege
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Amos’ prophetic message was not intended to be restricted to the historical situation in Israel

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but to expand the scope of the message beyond Israel and Judah. In the Old Testament, Israel had a unique but not exclusive claim on God.

Read Amos 3:1-2. The Hebrew verb yada, “to know,” which is used in verse 2, bears a special sense of intimacy. In Jeremiah 1:5, for example, God says that He “knew” the prophet and set him apart even before [...]

Monday: Justice for the Oppressed
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

God’s universal judgment is one of the central teachings found in Amos.

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In the beginning of his book, the prophet announces God’s judgment on several of Israel’s neighbors because of their crimes against humanity. Then, however, Amos boldly declares that God also will judge Israel. The anger of the Lord was directed not only at the nations but also at the people He had chosen. The people of Judah had rejected the Word of the [...]

Sunday: Crimes Against Humanity
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Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Read Amos 1 and 2. Why does the Lord warn that punishment is coming?

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The first two chapters in Amos’ book contain seven prophecies against neighboring nations, followed by a prophecy against Israel. The foreign nations are not judged because they are Israel’s enemies but because of their violations of universal human principles. Two things stand out in Amos’ condemnation: the absence of loyalty and the absence of pity.

For instance, Tyre was a leading merchant city [...]

Sabbath: Lord of All Nations
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Read for This Week’s Study: Amos 1-2, Isaiah 58, Luke 12:47-48, 1 Kings 8:37-40, Amos 4:12-13, Obadiah.

Memory Text: “A Lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8, NKJV).

Key Thought: Acts of inhumanity are sins against God and will be judged accordingly. lion in Scripture often represents the king of the animal world. His appearance evokes irresistible strength and majesty as well as ferocity and destructive power. Even when not actively hunting, the lion can be heard, its roar audible for [...]

Further Study: A Holy and Just God
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The prophet’s name, Joel, was common in Bible times, and it means “The Lord is God.” This name is appropriate to the overall theme of the book: only God is completely holy and just, and His work is sovereign on earth. The history of His people, as well as that of the nations, is in His hands. The same holds true for the life of every human being.

“The tremendous issues of eternity demand of us something besides an imaginary religion, [...]

Inside Story: Light in the Jungle, part 1
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Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

The teenager stepped off the bus and looked around. He had never been in a city before.

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

But he had no time to gaze at the tall buildings and busy streets, for he was on a mission. But where should he go? He prayed, “God, direct me to the people who keep Your Sabbath.” Then he started walking.

He found himself in front of a theater and watched as people entered. He felt led to follow [...]

Thursday: The Refuge in Times of Trouble
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Image © Janet Hyun from GoodSalt.com

Biblical prophets compare the coming judgment from God to the roaring of a lion,

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a sound that makes everyone tremble (Joel 3:16, Amos 1:2, 3:8). In the Bible, Zion designates the location of God’s earthly throne in Jerusalem. From this place God will punish the enemy, but at the same time He will vindicate His people who patiently await His victory. They will share in His triumph when He renews creation.

To some people the Scripture’s portrayals of [...]

Wednesday: Proclaiming God’s Name
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“The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood,

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before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be deliverance, as the Lord has said, among the remnant whom the Lord calls” (Joel 2:31-32, NKJV).

The darkening of the sun and the changing [...]

Tuesday: The Gift of God’s Spirit
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Image © Bill Osborne from GoodSalt.com

Read Joel 2:28-29 along with Acts 2:1-21. How is Peter interpreting the prophecy of Joel here?

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On the day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter announced that the Lord had fulfilled His promise, as given through Joel, regarding the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Accompanying the outpouring of the Spirit, and as a visible sign of God’s supernatural intervention in the history of humankind, God will cause extraordinary phenomena to be seen in nature, both on earth and in [...]