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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 4: Lord of All Nations (Amos) *
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!
- First Roar
- 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.
- To whom is Amos delivering God's message? (To
- 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!)
- From where is God roaring and thundering? (From
- What issue does that raise in your mind? (This
suggests that our alternative worship sites are
not acceptable. Another attack on our decision-making.)
- 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
- 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.)
- 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
- How would you describe that in today's terms?
(He really ripped me up! It would means some
- What is the lesson here? (God cares about how His
people are treated. God will repay.)
- What do you think about that kind of "roar?" (Great
- Second Roar
- Read Amos 1:6-7. What is Gaza? (The land of the
- 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.)
- 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
- 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
- What would God's people think of this roar? (They
would cheer. It is a good roar!)
- Inward Roar
- 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.)
- What are their sins? (Rejecting God's law and
following false gods.)
- For many years I wondered about "idol worship." No
one I knew worshiped idols. How could such a
historically successful campaign by Satan simply
- 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?
- What is at the heart of idol worship that makes God
so unhappy?(Relying on something we have made rather
than relying on Him.)
- 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.)
- How would your life change if you truly
simply trusted in God? (It is liberating!)
- Israel Roar
- 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.)
- Who is being sold? (The righteous and the needy.)
- 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.)
- What about selling the needy? What does that mean?
(Read Leviticus 25:39-41. People would sell
themselves for a pittance.)
- What application would you make for today?
(Don't take advantage of needy people.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- 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.
- Read Amos 2:8. Where does this sin take place? (In the
place of worship.)
- 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.)
- 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.)
- What is the application for us today?
- 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?
- Next week: Seek the Lord and Live! (Amos)
* Copr. 2013, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.