“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?” Isaiah 58:6-7 NIV
It is a sad reality that in this world, many [...]
As this week’s lesson talks about acts of inhumanity being sins against God, I would like to write about acts of humanity.
Taking a walk in Texas, I came across a beautiful patch of Texas Blue Bonnet flowers and Indian Paint Brushes. Among the flowers I saw some litter. I thought to myself, as ugly as sin has made this world, God still has His beautiful flowers for all to enjoy among the litter.
Not long after the New York World Trade [...]
My father was a sculptor. His medium of choice was wood. He was also one of the most patient men in the world. Anybody who asked for a lesson would immediately find themselves situated behind a fresh piece of wood, holding a chisel.
Image © Jeff Preston from GoodSalt.com
The very first thing my father would tell everyone is, “Always cut away from yourself.” And everyone would smile, nod and think to themselves, “Well of course, everybody knows that.”
The lesson [...]
“A Lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8, NKJV)
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[Thought questions for Lord of All Nations April 24, 2013]
1. Can’t help but prophesy! If you lived in the hillsides of old as Amos did, how would you feel hearing a lion roaring loudly nearby? What did the roar of the lion mean to Amos? Aren’t God’s people the ones who are accountable to the rulings of God, [...]
Read the book of Obadiah.
Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com
What important moral and spiritual truths can we take away from this book?
Obadiah is the shortest book in the Old Testament, and it reports on the prophetic vision of God’s judgment upon the land of Edom. The message of the book focuses on three issues: Edom’s arrogance (vss. 1-4), Edom’s coming humiliation (vss. 5-9), and Edom’s violence against Judah (vss. 10-14).
The Edomites were the descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau. The hostility [...]
“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 [...]
Key Thought: Amos was called to prophesy against a privileged, religious people who oppressed the poor through dishonesty and bribery.
[Teaching plan for Lord of All Nations April 22, 2013]
1. Have a volunteer read Isaiah 58:1-7
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Is there a place for fasting today? What was wrong with the fasting the Israelites were going through?
C. Personal Application: What is our attitude toward the [...]
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 [...]
God’s universal judgment is one of the central teachings found in Amos.
Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com
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 [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com
The truth is, almost every single one of us knows that we need to change at least one specific behavior because it is harmful. Maybe it’s smoking, drinking, over-eating, or maybe it’s not exercising. Whatever the behavior is, we know, usually without any doubt, where that behavior will lead, and yet, we continue along our current path.
It’s not because we don’t know the consequences, right? Can any of us say that we don’t know [...]