Sept. 22, 2009
Read Amos 1
Highlights In Today's Reading:
God uses Amos, a lowly herdsman, who is burdened over sins of the Northern Kingdom (1:1-2). First a prophecy against their neighbors (1:3 — 2:3). Next against Judah and Israel (2:4-16). Why (3:2,10)? An enemy is coming (3:11). The people talk the talk but don't walk the walk. God wants a river of righteous living (5:23-24).
Amos was only a laborer from Judah; but he was willing to speak out against sin, even beyond the borders of the Southern Kingdom. Amos delivered a prophecy in Bethel when the Northern Kingdom was experiencing economic prosperity. Since the people of Israel were proud of their prosperity and heritage, it must have been a rude awakening to hear this "outsider" shout: The Lord hath spoken against you . . . Israel . . . I will punish you for all your iniquities (3:1-3).
Amos courageously continued: Thus saith the Lord God; An adversary . . . shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled (3:11). The Northern Kingdom's (Israel's) moral and religious corruption made the prophesied downfall inevitable (2:6-8; 5:11-12).
Amos spoke as if the death of the Northern Kingdom had already taken place: Israel is fallen; she shall no more rise (5:2). However, these idol worshipers did not take the prophet seriously when he said: I know your . . . mighty sins. . . . Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live (5:12,14). The prophet's message of God's love was rejected. Amaziah, the idolatrous priest, told Jeroboam II about this miserable prophet from Judah. Amaziah said unto Amos . . . go, flee . .. . into the land of Judah . . . and prophesy there (7:12).
Israel was a chosen nation — an elect people. God had delivered them out of Egypt and miraculously helped them to conquer the promised land. But Israel failed to keep His Commandments.
As Christians, we too have a miraculous heritage. We have been saved from the bondage of sin and delivered from satanic control through Christ's sacrificial death on the cross. Like Israel, we too are tempted to be ungrateful and forget that we are not our own — we are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's (I Cor. 6:20). It's easy also to ignore our responsibility to be obedient in reaching a lost world with His Word.
God often uses ordinary people to speak for Him. It is not what we own but who owns us that qualifies us to be used by Him. Ye see your calling, brethren . . . not many wise men after the flesh . . . are called . . . God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the mighty (I Cor. 1:26-27).
Thought for Today:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do His Commandments (Ps. 111:10).
As the fiery (Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5; 5:6) judge (chap. 1 — 5). Jesus . . . was ordained of God to be the Judge (Acts 10:38-42; also II Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:18-23). His eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14; also 2:18).
2:13 pressed = burdened; 3:5 gin = trap; 3:14 visit = with punishment; 4:1 kine of Bashan = were the fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands; but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women who encourage their husbands to do wrong; masters = husbands; 4:3 breaches = breaks in the city wall; cast them into the palace = cast them into the mire (dunghill); 4:9 blasting = blight; 5:21 smell = be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols = harps.
Pray for Staff: Ilene Wallace • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Rep. Dan Lungren (CA), and Rep. John Tanner (TN) • Country: Cyprus (754,000) in the Middle East • Major languages: Greek and Turkish • No open evangelism or conversions to Christ • 75% Greek Orthodox; 19% Muslim; 1% Protestant; 1% Roman Catholic • Prayer Suggestion: Pray and the Lord will free you from your fears (Ps. 34:4).
Memory Verse for the Week: Matthew 12:50