Read the following quotations and discuss how they help us to understand the messages from Amos 1-4 and Obadiah in a clearer way.
“From the beginnings of Israelite religion the belief that God had chosen this particular people to carry out His mission has been both a cornerstone of Hebrew faith and a refuge in moments of distress. And yet, the prophets felt that to many of their contemporaries this cornerstone was a stumbling block; this refuge, an escape. They had to remind the people that chosenness must not be mistaken as divine favoritism or immunity from chastisement, but, on the contrary, that it meant being more seriously exposed to divine judgment and chastisement. . . .
“Does chosenness mean that God is exclusively concerned with Israel? Does the Exodus from Egypt imply that God is involved only in the history of Israel and is totally oblivious of the fate of other nations?”—Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets, pp. 32-33.
“With the defenses of the soul broken down, the misguided worshipers had no barrier against sin and yielded themselves to the evil passions of the human heart.
“Against the marked oppression, the flagrant injustice, the unwonted luxury and extravagance, the shameless feasting and drunkenness, the gross licentiousness and debauchery of their age, the prophets lifted their voices; but in vain were their protests, in vain their denunciation of sin. ‘Him that rebuketh in the gate,’ declared Amos, ‘they hate, . . . and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.’‘They afflict the just, they take a bribe, and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right.’Amos 5:10, 12.”—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 282.
- It is easy to be friendly with someone who has something to offer you. What about those who are in distress and have nothing to offer you but, in fact, have need of what you can give to them? What kind of attitude must we show toward such people? What kind of attitude do you show toward them?
- Think about that which we have been given as Seventh-day Adventists. Most Christians have no idea of the blessings of the Sabbath (much less its end-time importance); most think that the dead go either immediately to heaven or to the torments of hell. Many do not believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus, nor do they believe in a literal Second Coming. What other great truths have we been given that most other people do not know about? What responsibilities come with having these truths?