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Amos

Seek Me and Live


Introduction
Editor's Overview
Contents
Principal Contributor
Helps
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Though written on the other side of a long expanse of time, the words of the Old Testament prophets echo, even loudly, today. Though these prophets spoke to their own era and their own people, their messages aren't just interesting historical asides, tidbits on the lives and toils and loves of another people in another place and in another epoch. They have been preserved for us today because they have messages for us today. And however different the style, the context, and the specifics, the messages almost all come down to one thing: God is calling us to die to self and surrender our sinful, wicked ways to Him; a God who forgives, heals, restores; a God who will ultimately bring us into an existence so wonderful that our imagination can't even begin to dare envision it.

Yet, as always, people have a hard time listening, accepting, believing. Maybe the news, that of a God willing to forgive, to heal, to pardon our sins, is simply too good for people to easily believe? More than likely, however, people simply enjoy too much "the pleasure of sin for a season" (even though the season always changes), and thus these people don't want to heed God's merciful, loving voice.

Nevertheless, He calls anyway. And we hear His pleas, His shouts, His begging, all through sacred Scripture, including the book of Amos, the subject of this quarter's lesson study. In the Old Testament, as in Amos, these calls often come in the form of the prophetic messages, which usually begin with diatribes against the continuing sin and apostasy of God's people, and often are followed by vivid descriptions of where the continuing sin and apostasy will lead. To the uninitiated, the Old Testament can sound like a fearful book expressing the thoughts of a fearsome God. Those, however, who know this God personally know, in fact, that the opposite is true. The strong words and warnings of the prophets are nothing but the pleadings and admonitions of a loving and caring God. Out of infinite love and care, He is trying to save a people who, due to the nature of a fallen world, are utterly incapable of saving themselves.

Even amid all the gloom and doom and warnings of judgment and locusts, plagues and armies, captivity and fire, the fibers of hope, of promise, of salvation, of redemption, and of restoration are always woven through these messages. And that's because, in the end, when all is said and done, one universal, irrefutable, and eternal truth provides the foundation of all truth and reality, and that is: Our God is a loving, saving, healing God who calls out to us these simple words: "Seek Me and live."


EDITOR'S OVERVIEW  "A Higher View of Things"

I n 1884, British clergyman and amateur mathematician Edwin Abbott wrote Flatland, a book about the incredible adventures of A. Square, a rather flat character who lived in two dimensions only. For A. Square, the universe consisted of a single plane; reality (and that's all reality) went either north and south, or east and west. The notions of up and down, height and depth, were inconceivable.

A. Square once visited Lineland, whose inhabitants lived in a single straight line alone; this meant that, for them, reality existed as forward or backward only. Linelanders could not even begin to conceive of anything such as width, and when A. Square tried to explain that there was a greater dimension to reality than a mere line, the notion was rebuffed by Linelanders as absurd.

A. Square then visited Pointland, where all reality consisted only of a single point: There was no forward or backward (as in Lineland) or no width (as in Flatland), and trying to convince anyone in Pointland otherwise was as futile as trying to convince those in Lineland that sideways existed.

Then one day A. Square was visited by someone from Spaceland, a person who lived in three dimensions. A. Square thought it ludicrous, this notion of a reality beyond the two dimensions that made up the universe as it appeared to him. However, only after a visit to Spaceland, did he eventually accept what he called "a higher view of things." In fact, he tried to convince his Spaceland guide that there could be dimensions of existence beyond even Spaceland, a notion that his Spaceland guide rejected as "utterly inconceivable," just as Pointlanders did with the idea of forward and backward, as Linelanders did with the notion of sideways, and as A. Square first did with the concept of height.

This quarter's study deals with the Old Testament book of Amos, which reads almost like Abbott's Flatland, in the sense that it tells about Someone, in this case the Lord, trying to help a people understand a reality that goes beyond what's immediately accessible to their senses. The Israelites were living only for the moment, within the narrow confines of their little world, where things seemed (and we stress that word seemed) so good. The reality, of course- which was greater than the narrow view of reality that they knew- turned out to be radically different from how it appeared. And, like those in Pointland, Lineland, Flatland, and even in Spaceland, they wouldn't easily listen to the One who tried to give them a broader, wider, and more encompassing perspective.

And, no doubt, Leo Van Dolson, the author of this quarter's Bible Study Guide, would like us, as we study these lessons, to ask ourselves the crucial question: Are we limiting our view of reality to only what we see, or will we open our hearts to the One who has, through the revelation of His Son, given us "a higher view of things"?

Clifford Goldstein


Contents:  (all lessons may not be posted)

No. Study
Date
Topic

1

Oct 6 The Non-Prophet Prophet  (KJV)

2

Oct 13 Sins of the Neighbors  (KJV)

3

Oct 20 "Hear This Word"  (KJV)

4

Oct 27 Prepare to Meet Thy God  (KJV)

5

Nov 3 "Seek the Lord"  (KJV)

6

Nov 10 Pass Over or Pass Through?  (KJV)

7

Nov 17 "At Ease in Zion"  (KJV)

8

Nov 24 Vision One--Locusts and Prayer  (KJV)

9

Dec 1 Vision Two--Judgment by Fire  (KJV)

10

Dec 8 Vision Three--The Plumb Line  (KJV)

11

Dec 15 Vision Four--Summer Fruit  (KJV)

12

Dec 22 Vision Five--No Escape for the Lost  (KJV)

13

Dec 29 Restoration  (KJV)


Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps

Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.  The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word;  RTF for our MAC friends; and HTML (Web Pages).


Last updated on September 22, 2001

Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Principal Contributors: Leo R. Van Dolson
Editor: Clifford Goldstein
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.

Copyright 2001 General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.


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