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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 5: Seek the Lord and Live! *
Introduction: Last week we studied the "roars" that God sent out to
the pagan nations that surrounded His people. Next, we read that
God's roars were also directed towards His own people. What should we
learn from that? God is an "equal opportunity" roarer? How about
reaching the conclusion that God encourages us to live holy lives? If
that is God's message, and I believe it is, let's explore that
message in more depth and learn how do we do that by jumping into our
study of Amos!
- Read Amos 5:1-2. Last week we had roars, this week we have
laments. What is a lament? (An expression of grief or
- Who is lamenting? (Amos, speaking for God, is making
statements of grief for Israel.)
- What is wrong? (Israel has fallen to her enemies. God
calls her "virgin" because He remembers her back in
the days when she was faithful to Him.)
- Why does Israel have no one to pick her up? (Normally
God would be her defender, but she has abandoned
- Read Amos 5:3. When we read about "marching out" what does
that bring to mind? (Battles. Military contests.)
- How are these battles going for Israel?(Ninety
percent losses! That is why Israel has been
- Read Amos 5:4. What is the formula for life? (To seek God.
"Seek Me and live.")
- What does this have to do with the laments? (Our
lives enter an age of sorrow and defeat when we leave
- Those of you who regularly read these lessons know
that I place a strong emphasis on grace. What does
this say about grace? (The phrase "seek Me and live,"
points out a simple truth about grace - it comes from
God. We cannot find it elsewhere.)
- What about the lost battles and failures in life?
(This is an important part of living a holy life, a
relationship with God makes your life better. When
you fall down, you can turn to God. He will help you
in life's battles.)
- Let's skip down to Amos 5:14. Why do you think Amos
writes, "Just as you say He is?" (The people falsely claim
that God is with them.)
- How do you understand this: if we do not seek good,
will God leave us? (The real issue is whether the
people are followers of God. Amos says that if we
have a relationship with God, it will be reflected in
- Read Amos 5:15. Notice the shift here. We go from being
told to "seek good" to "love good." We go from being told
not to seek evil to being told to "hate evil." What
problem do you find in this? (God is raising the stakes,
He is requiring more. Seeking good is a decision. Loving
good or hating evil is an emotion. Decisions are easier
- Can you control what you hate and what you love?
- Read Romans 7:5-6 and Galatians 5:22-24. What is the
secret to having the power to love good and hate evil?
(Read Romans 8:1-4 and Romans 8:9. Jesus has now fulfilled
the requirements of the law! Our focus is not obedience to
the law, Jesus has done that, but rather our focus is on
having the Holy Spirit live in us. We need a life
controlled by the Holy Spirit. It is the power of the Holy
Spirit that changes our heart and gives us true love.)
- Amos shares a fundamental truth when he says first
"seek good" and second, "love good." What truth do
you find? (Holy living is a decision. We make the
decision to seek a life lived in the power of the
Holy Spirit. Then the power of the Holy Spirit
transforms us to "love" good.)
- Read Amos 5:21-24. What is God's complaint? Is He against
- Notice verse 22, God sounds like He is rejecting the
Old Testament equivalent of grace. How can that be?
(Attending church, singing praise songs, giving
offerings, even superficial praying are no substitute
for seeking a relationship with God through the
indwelling of His Holy Spirit. God wants worship,
praise, offerings and prayer to arise from our
relationship with Him.)
- Judgment and Restoration
- Read Amos 9:9-10. What does this suggest about our
actions? (Not only do sinners get shaken up, but they
- What kind of attitude do these sinners have? (They do
not believe in a judgment, or they do not believe
judgment is for them.)
- What does this say about living a life led by the
Holy Spirit? (This is a serious matter. We cannot
take lightly God's means for avoiding judgment - for
judgment is very real.)
- Read Amos 9:11-12. What is God promising when He says He
will "restore David's fallen tent?" (A tent is a place of
dwelling. God is promising to restore God's people to the
glory they enjoyed when King David was alive.)
- Read Amos 9:13. Is Amos prophesying disorder among
farmers? (No. He seems to be saying that the harvests will
come so rapidly that it will seem the harvesters are
getting in the way of those preparing the soil and
planting for a new crop.)
- Read Amos 9:14-15. What does God say that He will do?
- What does God say that the people must do? (Amos
writes of what the people must do to reap the
benefits God has given them. However, Amos says
nothing here about what the people need to do to
cause God to bless them.)
- Why would God save them even though the people
are not turning to Him? (I think the point
(again) is that God judges sinners, but He
provides free grace to those who turn to Him.)
- Let's look at a familiar Old Testament story which helps
to clarify our thinking. Read Genesis 12:1-4. What are the
terms of the contract? (Abram needs to follow God by
leaving, and God promises to bless him and curse his
- Read Genesis 12:10-13. What do you think about Abram's
- What does this say about Abram's faith in the promise
given to him earlier in this chapter? (If He had
believed God, he would know he would be safe.)
- Read Genesis 12:14-16. What happened to Abram and what
happened to Sarai due to Abram's dishonesty? (He got rich.
She was taken into the harem.)
- Read Genesis 12:17-20. How does this turn out for Pharaoh?
(Is this fair?)
- How does this turn out for Abram? (He gets to keep
all of his money and he gets his wife back.)
- Is that fair?
- Is this precisely what God promised Abram in
the first verses of Genesis 12? (This is
something that every Christian needs to
contemplate. Abram made the decision to follow
God. God blessed him even though he failed
- Fit this into our discussion about Amos. What
did God want His people to do? (To turn back to
Him and turn away from false worship.)
- If they turned back, would they have to be
perfect? (No. This is grace. Abram's story
is a perfect illustration of grace. Our
part is to follow God. To choose to life a
life led by the Holy Spirit. God says,
"choose Me," and we do. After that, the
work is all God's. We can turn reject God
and be lost, but that is a big decision
about the direction of our life. It is not
the slips on the road to holiness.)
- Friend, right now, will you make that big decision to turn
to God? Will you agree to be blessed by undeserved grace?
We you invite the Holy Spirit to live in you and lead your
- Next week: Eager to Forgive (Jonah).
* 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.