Introduction: Assume you got into a dispute with one of your co-workers. How do you feel when the boss takes your side and yells at
that person – someone who deserves it? What if the boss does a really
good job of yelling? Do you sit there with a smirk on your face
thinking, “Glad that’s not me,” “They had that coming to them!” This
week we find God threatening “the other guy.” Let’s jump in.
    1. A Roaring God


      1. Read Amos 1:2-3. Last week we spoke briefly about God
        roaring. What kind of an animal makes a roar? (Lion.)


        1. If you had a roaring, thundering animal, would you be


        1. Is that our picture of God?


          1. Read 1 Peter 5:8. Who is compared to a roaring
            lion here? (Satan)


          1. Read Revelation 5:5. Who is the lion here?


        1. Why would Satan and Jesus both be pictured as lions?
          Why does Amos compare God to a lion? (Amos is
          bringing to our attention the “judgment” side of God.
          We need to pay close attention if God is roaring at


        1. At whom is God roaring in Amos 1:3 (Damascus)


    1. The Neighbor’s Sins


      1. The first “sinner” mentioned is Damascus. How many sins
        does it have? (Four at most.)


        1. Considering your life, does that sound like a lot of
          sins? (Adam Clarke’s Commentary reveals that this
          does not mean a literal number. It is an expression
          of that time which is like “very, very exceedingly.”
          For example Ulysses in the Odyssey refers to “Thrice
          happy Greeks!” It meant they were very, very happy.)
        2. Who is this sinner, Damascus? (Damascus is the
          capital city of Syria, an Aramaen kingdom, and
          Israel’s neighbor to the north.


          1. What was the problem with Damascus? (They had
            “threshed Gilead with sledges having iron


          1. Gilead was an area in Israel. According to the
            historian Jerome, there actually was an iron-wheeled invention, with teeth, that was used to
            thresh grain at that time. What do you
            understand this phrase about threshing Gilead to
            mean? (It means that the Arameans were beating
            up the Israelites who live in Gilead! 2 Kings
            8:12 reveals a prophecy of Elisha, to King
            Hazael of the Arameans, saying that he will
            viciously attack the Israelites, burn their
            fortresses, kill their children and “rip open”
            pregnant women.)


          1. What has God got in mind for Damascus? (The gate
            of the capital city is going to be broken into,
            the King’s palace set on fire and the people
            taken into captivity.)


      1. Let’s make this relevant for today. Amos’ message in
        verse 3 is being given to Israelites. How do you think
        they felt when they heard this? (They would break into
        wild cheering.)


        1. What would be the equivalent today? (Amos would come
          to New York City and prophesy that those running the
          terrorist operations would have their headquarters
          broken into and burned, their leader killed and their
          people exiled.)


          1. Would that be good news or what?


      1. I don’t often comment on our lesson quarterly, but I
        believe the commentary for Tuesday completely misses the
        point and sends us off on the wrong path. The lesson
        suggests that the “neighbors” being condemned by Amos were
        being punished “exclusively” because of their “abuse of
        the most basic human rights.” Thus, we have Amos talking
        about judgments that have absolutely no connection with
        his audience. In fact, this is not true. When the lesson
        (Tuesday still) says that Damascus was guilty of
        “excessive violence against one of its neighbors.” The
        “neighbor” was Israel! The people of Israel were no doubt
        mighty glad to hear Damascus was going to get its “just
        rewards.” The prophecy concerning Gaza ( Amos 1:6-8) is a
        reference (see Barnes Notes) to one of the “five Lordships
        of the Philistines.” Amos may very well have in mind the
        attack on Judah recounted in 2 Chronicles 21:16-17. So,
        once again, this is “payback” to an enemy of God’s people.
        Tyre, the next “bad guy” ( Amos 1:9-10) attacks the
        Edomites who were relatives of Israel. A third generation
        Edomite was, according to Deuteronmy 23:7, entitled to
        become an Israelite. This time its “payback” to the
        relatives of God’s people.)


    1. The Amos Approach


      1. Why does Amos start his series of prophecies with
        predictions of doom for those who have hurt Israel, Judah
        or their friends? Why start with things the people might
        very well consider “payback?”


      1. Read 2 Samuel 12:1-5. Why did Nathan tell David thisstory? (Read 2 Samuel 12:7-10. We have a very difficult
        time seeing our own sins. We have no problem, however,
        seeing the sins of those around us.)


      1. Was Amos using the same approach as Nathan? (Yes. He
        started with a series of nations that the Israelites would
        no doubt say, “Yes, get them God, they deserve it!”)


      1. If the recent terrorist attack on the U.S. is a warning to
        us about our sins, would we readily admit it?


        1. Should that cause us to be especially cautious about
          rejecting the idea out of hand that perhaps our sins
          are causing God to withdraw His blessings?(I was
          watching television coverage this week of what was
          essentially an anti-American demonstration in
          Washington, D.C. I heard speakers from labor
          unions(AFSCME locals), a welfare-rights organization,
          a Columbia rights organization (headquartered in
          Minnesota!) and a Palestinian-rights organization.
          Many of them started out saying that people suggested
          that the timing of this anti-American demonstration
          was poor. (They got that right!) I angrily dismissed
          these people from my mind as the “usual lunatics.”
          (To be more precise, I understood the thinking of the
          Palestinian rights group, but not the rest.))


          1. Does this say something about my willingness to
            hear criticisms of my country?


        1. How about you? Are you willing to hear criticisms of
          your country? Your church? Your family? You?


        1. Should we ask ourselves if the sins that we see in
          those around us are the very sins in our own life?


        1. Every time we get ready to reprove a specific sin in
          someone else, should we first ask our self if that
          sin is in our own life?


      1. Let’s review. Amos tells the people of Israel about God’s
        intent to punish their enemies for what the enemies have
        done to Israel, Judah and their relatives. Since Amos is
        speaking to the people of Israel, they are probably
        standing around cheering Amos on.


    1. The Sins of Judah


      1. Read Amos 2:4. Do you think the people of Israel cared
        about warnings to Judah? (J.A. Motyer, in his book “The
        Message of Amos,” says “probably not.” The relationship
        between the two countries was little more that “peaceful


        1. What was the sin of Judah? (Rejecting God’s law and
          having false gods.)


          1. Now, do you think the people of Israel, had
            reason to pause? (Yes, now I think the people
            stop their cheering and start being concerned.)


      1. Read Amos 2:5. What punishment is facing Judah?
        (Destruction of the capital by fire!)


    1. The Sins of Israel


      1. Read Amos 2:6. To whom has Amos’ condemnation now turned?


        1. What is the first sin that is mentioned?
          (Covetousness. They love money more than they care
          for others.)


      1. Read Amos 2:7. What is the first sin mentioned in this
        verse? (Injustice. The people run roughshod over the


        1. What does a father and a son “using the same girl”
          have to do with God’s name? (The Motyer book
          mentioned earlier suggests that the Israelites were
          involved in a type of temple prostitution with “holy”
          women. The Baal temple prostitution was being
          imported for the “worship” of Yahweh.)


      1. Read Amos 2:8. What is wrong with going to worship with
        garments taken in pledge? (They would come to God to
        worship, but they would disobey him by showing no mercy to
        their fellow man. In Exodus 22:26, God told the people
        that if they took a person’s coat as security for a loan,
        they must return it by sunset so the person could sleep in


        1. Do you know people who come to worship, but show no
          mercy to others?


          1. How about you? Are you merciful to those aroundyou?


        1. Is the sin of verse 8 drinking wine in church? (That
          is probably not the major problem. Note that “the
          house of their god” is a lowercase “g” god. This is
          not referring to actual worship of Yahweh. The sin is
          that the wine is purchased by “fines” — no doubt
          taken as part of the oppression of the poor.)


        1. Is there a “big picture” you can see here in these
          sins with women, with coats taken in pledge and with
          fines? (You can put this all togther. First, they use
          women as temple prostitutes, they lay down to do this
          on the coats of the poor (which they were not
          supposed to keep) while they are drinking wine they
          wrongfully took from the poor! All this is being
          done in a “religious” context. Great people! Can you
          see why God is warning them?)


          1. Is this true today? Do we use religion as a
            cover for serious sins of selfishness?


          1. Would God take particular offense at that? (Yes,
            verse 7. This is particularly offensive to God
            because it profanes His holy name.)


      1. Friend, are you open to God’s correction? Sometimes we
        have a hard time seeing our own sins. God has to use
        messengers, like Amos, to sneak up on us and show us our
        error. The great comfort in all of this is that we have a
        God who wants us back. He warns us so that we will return
        to Him.


  1. Next week: “Hear This Word.”