Series: Shepherds Roar
Message: Our Own Issues
Preacher: Dany Hernandez
Reflection: Nathan Brown
Live Wonder: Zan Long
Live Adventure: Zan Long
Live Beyond: Art Preuss
Live Purpose: Kyle Smith
Editor: Becky De Oliveira
Refresh: Begin with prayer. Ask for the Holy Spirit to open your heart to new understanding and for God’s character to be revealed.
Read: Amos 5-6 in the English Standard Version (ESV). Note 1–3 insights or questions.
Reflect: After the poetic heights of Chapter 5, Amos 6 feels like a return to what has come to seem “normal” for Amos’ warning messages. We are quickly reminded that the good news of justice is bad news for those who enjoy the profits of injustice and that a society based on injustice and exploitation—in which justice is poisoned (see Amos 6:12)—is abhorrent to a God of justice. Reminding the people of where his message began, Amos urges that the people of Israel are really no better than the people of the surrounding nations (see Verse 2), whose punishment they had earlier been applauding.
It’s interesting reading to compare Amos’ language with that of Revelation 18, which gives a vivid description of the final destruction of the fallen and oppressive powers of this world. We see a picture of a group of people—“the famous and the popular of Israel” in Amos’ description (see Amos 6:1)—who have enjoyed wealth and luxury as a result of injustice and exploitation, even the trade in human slaves (see Revelation 18:13). Like the luxuries of the people in Amos’ day, such unjust self-indulgence is unsustainable and is linked to and evidence of disregard of God and His ways. Both Amos and Revelation portrayed God as intervening and acting to bring an end to these extravagances and outrages.
This is the judgment that God’s people and His prophets—and the poor, oppressed and exploited they have spoken up for throughout history—have been looking for. While God has given even the oppressors repeated invitations and opportunities to repent, for sin and injustice to be completely destroyed, those who stubbornly practise it also need to be destroyed. As tragic as this is, for those who have suffered, it is the ultimate justice and restoration: “Rejoice over her fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes” (Revelation 18:20, NLT).
Recalibrate: Do justice and judgment feel like good news to you? Or do they still feel uncomfortable? Why might this be?
Respond: Pray these words: “God, may we learn to rejoice with the people of God, apostles and prophets in the hope of Your righteous judgment.”
Research: Read Revelation 18 and compare 2 Timothy 3:1–5. What are the things that stand out to you after reading six chapters of Amos’ strong prophetic warnings? What does it say about people and society that this message has such strong echoes between 750 BC, first century AD and the end of time?
Remember: “This is what the Lord says to the nation of Israel: ‘Come to me and live’” (Amos 5:4, ICB).
Nathan Brown is a writer and book editor at Signs Publishing Company, near Melbourne, Australia. Nathan is author/editor of 16 books, including two this year—Of Falafels and Following Jesus and For the Least of These.
Read this story with your little one and think of ways that you can help each other in your home and community. Know that when we come to the Lord and live just like Amos encourages us to, we show what it looks like and feels like to live love.
Remember the video about repentance you watched earlier in the week? The video said that we can repent again and again and again. We will never be 100% perfect and sin free. No matter how close we are to God and how much we listen to Him, we will make mistakes. But that is OK. One of the most important things to remember about repentance is that God will let us choose Him again and again and again.
Whenever I heard about God’s judgment when I was growing up, I would feel afraid of it. In the book of Amos, and other books of the Bible, God pronounces judgment on His people. However, a closer look at what He is doing reveals that His actions are the result of the people of Israel choosing to do bad things. The judgements that I was scared of as a kid all had to do with bad behavior on my part. God wants His people to be successful and to make good choices.
Let’s get real: Do you feel scared of God’s judgment? Why or not?
As we wrap up this week studying Amos, I am drawn to do one thing: Focus on Jesus. Worship, justice, and doing what is good all require a connection with Jesus. As you enter the Sabbath hours take time to know Jesus. When you focus on yourself, these things seem impossible because none of these qualities are found within. Yet when you focus on Jesus, you will be drawn to worship Him, treat others justly, and do what He would do. What can you do in the next twenty-four hours to spend some alone time with Jesus and get to know Him better?
Zan Long is GRC director for faith development for ages 0-17. She lives in Sydney, Australia, and serves at her local church in nearby Kellyville.
Art Preuss pastors in Massachusetts at the Springfield, Florence, and Warren Adventist churches and serves in the U. S. Air Force Reserve as a chaplain.
Kyle Smith is the associate pastor of youth and family ministries at New Haven Adventist Church in Overland Park, Kansas.