Introduction: When my children were very young we played a game
called “Roar.” I would hide and then roar like a lion. (Well, a
little bit like a lion.) The children would then try to figure out
where I was hiding. Since their sense of sound direction was not
very good, the result was often humorous. I would be very close to
them, roar, and they would run the opposite direction. Our lesson
this week is about God “roaring” His message to pagans and to His
followers. Are we like children, misunderstanding God’s direction?
Do we fail to follow His instructions for living? Are we “tone deaf”
to God’s roar? Let’s race into our study of the book of Amos and see
what we can learn!

  1. First Roar

    1. Read Amos 1:1-2. Some background is important here. The
      great nation built by King David and King Solomon split.
      Of the twelve tribes, the ten northern tribes seceded from
      the nation because of over-taxation. The Northern Kingdom
      was called Israel and the remaining two tribes were Judah.
      Judah had Jerusalem within its territory, so it retained
      the center of worship. This was a problem for Israel, so
      it set up its own two centers for worship. Amos is a
      shepherd living in Judah.

      1. To whom is Amos delivering God’s message? (To

        1. What issues does that raise in your mind? (A
          “foreigner” is telling us what to do! We got
          tired of the southern kingdom telling us what
          to do with regard to taxes. Now they send a
          shepherd to tell us what to do!)

      2. From where is God roaring and thundering? (From

        1. What issue does that raise in your mind? (This
          suggests that our alternative worship sites are
          not acceptable. Another attack on our decision-making.)

      3. What does that fact that God’s messages are compared
        to roaring and thundering suggest? (God sounds
        unhappy. He wants this message to get through to the

    2. Read Amos 1:3-4. What is odd about this first message?
      Where is Damascus located?(Damascus is located in Syria.
      This is not a message directed at Israel.)

      1. Gilead was the land of God’s people. What do you
        think God means by “threshed Gilead with sledges
        having iron teeth?” (The words “sled” and “sleigh”
        are related to “sledge.” It is something without
        wheels that you pull along the ground. The mental
        picture I get is long metal spikes sticking down from
        a wooden platform. Imagine dragging that over

        1. How would you describe that in today’s terms?
          (He really ripped me up! It would means some
          serious abuse.)

      2. What is the lesson here? (God cares about how His
        people are treated. God will repay.)

      3. What do you think about that kind of “roar?” (Great

  2. Second Roar

    1. Read Amos 1:6-7. What is Gaza? (The land of the

      1. We didn’t comment before on the phrase “for three
        sins…even for four.” What does that mean? (God is
        not punishing for one or two sins. These people are
        repeatedly involved in the sin mentioned.)

      2. What is the sin that is involved here? (Human
        trafficking. Slavery. The Philistines took God’s
        people and sold them to Edom. The Jamieson, Fausset
        and Brown commentary called the Edomites “Judah’s
        bitterest foe.”)

      3. What lesson for today do we find? (Human trafficking
        is a serious issue today. Beyond human trafficking,
        this would condemn mis-using anyone, violating their

      4. What would God’s people think of this roar? (They
        would cheer. It is a good roar!)

  3. Inward Roar

    1. We examined the first two roars. There are five other
      roars, seven in all, which are directed towards the sins
      of the pagan nations who lived near God’s people. These
      roars often dealt with sins perpetrated against God’s
      people. Read Amos 2:4-5. Against whom is this roar
      directed? (Judah! God’s people. Amos’s people.)

      1. What are their sins? (Rejecting God’s law and
        following false gods.)

      2. For many years I wondered about “idol worship.” No
        one I knew worshiped idols. How could such a
        historically successful campaign by Satan simply

        1. People would say that a nice car or house was
          “idol worship,” but I knew that was nonsense
          because no one thought their car or house was a
          god. What do you think?

      1. What is at the heart of idol worship that makes God
        so unhappy?(Relying on something we have made rather
        than relying on Him.)

        1. Consider your life. What do you (or could you)
          rely upon instead of God? (The favor of your
          boss, your intelligence, your education, your
          money, your position, your good-looks, your
          personality. The Bible teaches us to be good
          employees, not to criticize our boss, to be
          prudent and skillful. The problem lies in
          relying on these things.)

          1. How would your life change if you truly
            simply trusted in God? (It is liberating!)

  1. Israel Roar

    1. Read Amos 2:6. Who is the target of this roar? (Israel!
      Let me give you some more background. The ten northern
      tribes that constituted Israel have done very well. They
      have expanded the nation to about the borders of the days
      of King David and Solomon. They are prosperous and
      satisfied with their alternate religious system.)

      1. Who is being sold? (The righteous and the needy.)

      2. This is an odd grouping. What do you think selling
        the righteous means? (This sounds like bribery. The
        unrighteous person pays the judge to buy a favorable
        verdict against a righteous person.)

      3. What about selling the needy? What does that mean?
        (Read Leviticus 25:39-41. People would sell
        themselves for a pittance.)

        1. What application would you make for today?
          (Don’t take advantage of needy people.)

    2. Read Amos 2:7. What is meant by “trample on the heads” of
      the poor? Do you think they are actually walking on their
      heads? (The reference to denying justice and “heads”
      suggests that the poor are discouraged by the lack of
      justice available to them. Instead of being encouraged
      that they can do better, the poor are lead to believe they
      must forever be poor.)

      1. Why does God say that His holy name is profaned by
        sexual immorality? (God is holy. He takes His law
        seriously because it reflects His character. Thus,
        sin is an offense to Him.)

      2. J.A. Motyer’s commentary on the “father and son use
        the same girl,” statement is that Amos is not
        discussing some family perversion, but rather
        describing the system of temple prostitutes. Israel,
        like some of it pagan neighbors, had incorporated sex
        as part of its worship service. “Worship” by having
        sex with these “holy women” violated God’s clear
        commands to His people.

    3. Read Amos 2:8. Where does this sin take place? (In the
      place of worship.)

      1. Read Deuteronomy 24:12-13 and Exodus 22:25-27. Should
        these lenders be sleeping on garments taken in
        pledge? (No. God says return the garment to the
        borrower before evening.)

      2. Is this just a matter of failing to follow God’s
        rules on loans? Is this a technical failure to
        follow regulations? Or, is something more serious
        involved? (This is grace. People come to the temple
        to receive forgiveness of sin. The original idea of
        the ten tribes in setting up their own place of
        worship was to worship the true God. Sin was forgiven
        at the temple. Grace was given. These people now
        sleep in the temple on garments that show their lack
        of grace towards others.)

        1. What is the application for us today?

    4. Friend, we rejoice when we see others “get what they
      deserve.” Have you seriously considered your life? Have
      you thought about how your sin offends God. Have you
      considered that judgment is not just for others? Jesus
      offers us salvation by grace alone. Will you determine
      today to honor God’s law and show grace to others like God
      shows grace to you?

  2. Next week: Seek the Lord and Live! (Amos)