Introduction: A recent study of the youth of the Church showed that a
disappointingly low percentage had confidence in their salvation.
Our lesson from Amos this week will not help bolster those numbers.
Hebrews 4:16 instructs us to “approach the throne of grace with
confidence, so that we might receive mercy and find grace.” Amos
gives us the counterbalance to this – that we need to examine our
relationship with God before we confidently approach Him. This
reminds me of a study of the math skills of American youth. They
thought they were great in math, but they scored at nearly the bottom
of the “industrialized” nations. Perhaps we are fooling ourselves
about our relationship with God. Let’s jump into Amos’ bath of cold
water realism!

  1. Passing Through

    1. We ended last week on a positive note: that God was
      looking for His people to return to Him. Let’s continue
      with Amos 5 by reading verses 16-17. Where will there be
      crying in the future? (Amos says everywhere: in the public
      squares and streets of the city and in the vineyards of
      the farms.)

      1. What is the cause of this crying? (The Lord says that
        He is “passing through your midst.”)

      2. If Jesus walked into your home or your church today,
        would that be “good news?” (I would love it!)

    2. Read Amos 5:18. What reaction would the people have to the
      Lord coming? (According to Amos, they are just like me —
      they think they would love it.)

      1. Will they love it? (No. Amos says, “woe” to them and
        says it will be a dark day, not a day of rejoicing.)

    3. What so you see as the problem with God “passing through
      their midst?” (Our lesson points to the angel in Exodus
      12:12 passing through Egypt to kill their firstborn sons.)

      1. Let’s look at Exodus 12:12-13. What made the
        difference between God “passing through” and God
        “passing over?” (God “passed over” the Israelites who
        put blood on their doorposts. The plague did not
        touch them.)

      2. Let’s skip ahead for just a little bit and read Amos
        5:21-22. Two questions: What was the “blood on the
        doorpost” that saved God’s people from the plague of
        Egypt? Doesn’t Amos 5:22 show that they still relied
        on the blood? (An explanation for the “blood on the
        doorpost” is found in Exodus 12:21-23. They were to
        sacrifice a lamb and put the blood on the doorframe
        to their home. However, Amos 5:22 reveals the people
        were still sacrificing animals. Since they were going
        through the same motions, the failure must have been
        one of the heart. They no longer relied on God – as
        opposed to their idols. We will discuss this in more
        detail later on.)

    4. Look again at Amos 5:18. Is the “day of the Lord”
      something more than God just passing through? (2 Peter
      3:9-11 leaves no doubt that the “day of the Lord” is
      Jesus’ second coming.)

      1. Since in Amos’ time Jesus had not yet come the first
        time, what do you think the term “day of the Lord”
        meant to his listeners? (It meant a day of God’s
        justice for the enemies of God’s people. A day of
        reckoning See Obadiah 1:15-21)

      2. Why should those listening to Amos not look forward
        to the day of the Lord? (They did look forward to it
        because they thought God would destroy their enemies.
        However, the sad truth was that “God’s people” were
        His enemies.)

        1. How can we avoid being so deceived? How can we
          clearly see our relationship with God?

  2. The Bad Bear Day

    1. Have you heard of having a “bad hair day?” A day when
      things are just not going right? Let’s read Amos 5:19.
      What does the man think when he enters his own home? (That
      he is safe. The danger to his life, the lion and the bear,
      are outside.)

      1. Is there any safety?(No! If we do not have the right
        relationship with Jesus, the “day of the Lord” will
        not be a day of rescue, it will be the day that we
        are snake-bitten!)

    2. How do we avoid having a “bad bear day?” How do we avoid
      getting bitten by a snake when we think we are safe? Read
      Amos 5:20-23. Do you find an answer in those verses to
      avoid being snake-bitten?

      1. Years ago I had a neighbor who had a series of
        relatively minor problems hit him all at once. He
        told me he felt like he had a “dark cloud” hanging
        over him and he wanted to talk to me about religion
        and going to church. Will going to church make things
        right with God?

      2. Let’s dissect verses 20-23 a little more. What good
        things are being done by the people:

        1. They are showing up at “church”;

        2. They are bringing offerings to God;

        3. They are asking for forgiveness of sins; and,

        1. They are praising God in songs.

      1. What could possibly be the problem? Don’t you
        encourage believers and unbelievers to do all of
        these things?

    1. Read Amos 5:24-26. This explains what is wrong and what
      God wants done. What is God’s point in verse 25? (This is
      a reference to the Exodus. God miraculously freed His
      people from the Egyptians, but they (His people) refused
      to trust Him to lead them into Canaan. God said the
      people treated Him with contempt. ( Numbers 14:11) The
      point is that sacrificing to God (attending religious
      services, bringing offerings, asking for forgiveness)
      means nothing to God if you do not trust Him and treat Him
      with contempt.)

      1. What is God’s point in verse 26? (This follows from
        the “contempt” idea. The people who would not trust
        God, trusted idols they had made with their own
        hands. This goes back to our earlier discussion.
        Since the people trusted in themselves and their
        idols, their worship of God was superficial and

        1. The NIV slides over an important point. The
          Hebrew refers to “Malkkem” which means “king.”
          But, it also is a reference to “Molek” or
          “Molech” which Strong points out was the chief
          deity of the Ammonites. (Ironically, when
          Stephen quotes this text from Amos in his last
          speech before he is stoned (recorded in Acts
          7:42-43), the NIV translates it as “Molech” —
          not king.) What does a reference to Molech bring
          to your mind? (Most references to Molech in the
          Old Testament refer to people sacrificing their
          children to this god!)

          1. Is that one of our sins? Do we sacrifice
            our children to the gods of money and

    2. What is it that God calls for His people to do in Amos
      5:24? (God calls for justice and righteousness in His

      1. Let’s stop just a moment. What does idol worship, or
        self-worship have to do with justice and
        righteousness? (True justice, true righteousness
        depends on the attitude that there is something above
        you. If every decision turns on what benefits you the
        most at the moment, justice is sadly lacking.)

    3. Friend, have you given your relationship with God a close
      look? Do you depend and trust God or do you depend and
      trust in yourself or what you have made (like your money)?
      It is hard to be honest with yourself, but God calls on us
      to soberly consider the question.

  1. Next Week: “At Ease in Zion.”