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Lesson 6: Worship the Creator *

Introduction: Imagine a friend who never listened to you! Your advice was unimportant. Your needs irrelevant. You might better have saved your breath then tell your friend what you like and what you dislike. Now imagine an employee like that. One who never pays attention to instruction. How would you react to a friend like that? How would you react to an employee like that? Thinking about this gives us a sense of what it is like to be the Creator God and have a group of followers who do not really think that obedience is important. Let's plunge into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Idols

    1. Read Psalms 115:1-4. How is our God different than other gods? (He is not reduced to some sort of image. He is in heaven and He does what He pleases.)

    2. Read Psalms 115:5-8. What is the logical problem with an idol? (Nothing works! They cannot speak, see, hear, smell, feel, talk or walk. These are pretty serious deficiencies!)

      1. What results from trusting in an idol? (You are as deficient as the idol. You have no power.)

    3. Read Psalms 115:14-16. How else is our God different? (He made heaven and earth. He runs the heavens and He gave the earth to us.)

    4. Read Deuteronomy 10:17. How does our God exercise His authority over all? (He is fair and accepts no bribes. Unlike an idol that cannot see or hear, our God makes judgments.)

    5. Read Deuteronomy 10:18. How does God's fairness as a judge manifest itself? (He "defends" those who do not have power. Those without fathers, husbands or friends.)

      1. What do you think it means to have a judge "defend" someone? (If God is still acting as a judge here, God's favor is to be fair to the powerless, even though they have no power. However, God's role may have changed here.)

    6. Read Deuteronomy 10:19. This seems to require more than being fair, right? It says that we should "love" the foreigner. The western world has a huge foreigner problem. Europe and the United States have experienced people flooding into their countries. What does God expect of us when we are told to "love" the foreigner? (Read Leviticus 19:34. God keeps referring to the fact that His people were "foreigners" in Egypt. His people should treat foreigners like they would have wanted to be treated in Egypt.)

      1. Using that context and standard, what does God expect of us today with regard to the great influx of immigrants? (The Egyptians enslaved God's people. This does not set the bar very high. The Egyptians would have shown them love by leaving them to their own efforts and not enslaving them.)

        1. Do you think that is what God means here?

    7. Read Deuteronomy 10:20-22. What critical advice does this provide for the foreigner? (The most important friend for the foreigner is God! This goes back to our discussion about idols. Part of God's message to His people about remembering their background as foreigners is that God tremendously blessed them.)

  2. Faithfulness

    1. Read Amos 5:18. Do you want Jesus to come and take you to heaven?

      1. Is that what these people wanted? (Yes, they wanted "the day of the Lord" to come.)

      2. Would that day be as wonderful as they expected? (Apparently, not. It would be "darkness" and "not light.")

    2. Read Amos 5:19-20. Is this fellow having a terrible day? (Yes! No matter what trouble he escapes, he finds more.)

    3. Read Amos 5:21. What is the problem? Why are those who follow God, who want Him to return, so wrong about how this will turn out? (There is something wrong with their relationship with God.)

    4. Read Amos 5:22-23. Isn't this exactly what God asked of His people? (Absolutely! On the religious worship side of things, the people are doing what God wants, but something is terribly wrong.)

    5. Read Amos 5:24. What clue does this give us as to what is wrong with the relationship between God and His people? (God calls for "justice" and "righteousness" as a constant stream. This should be the continual output of your life.)

      1. Let's discuss this. What have we previously decided is "justice?" (It is giving people what they deserve.)

      2. What is "righteousness?" (In this context it is right living. Obedience to God.)

    6. This is all pretty general. Let's back up in this chapter and examine the specific causes of God's rejection.) Read Amos 5:7-8. What is the failure here? (To acknowledge our Creator God.)

      1. Isn't acknowledging God what was happening when the people were worshiping God and bringing sacrifices? (I would think so. We still have not discovered the specific problem.)

    7. Read Amos 5:10. Now we are getting specific. What is the problem here? (Some people hate a judicial system where the rule of law is followed (justice) and when the truth is told.)

      1. Notice the phrase "detest the one who tells the truth." I recently read a news account of a Canadian being fined $55,000 because he referred to a transgendered person as a "biological male." Is that an example of detesting the truth?

      2. Look again at the context. Are we talking about telling the truth in church? (No. The context is the judicial system. The system of government. This has to do with the wicked being dishonest about what is really happening.)

    8. Read Amos 5:11. The NIV translates this "levy a straw tax on the poor and impose a tax on their grain." Who is behind this evil? (This is the government imposing a tax on the working poor.)

      1. How does government today create problems for the working poor?

      2. As you think about the poor in the world, how many people are poor because of their government? (Government is a huge problem. Wars, corruption, and a lack of economic freedom make people poor. There is an important link between religious and economic freedom. Most countries that have religious freedom also have economic freedom. The result of the resurgence of democracy and free markets has dramatically reduced the number of poor world-wide.)

      3. How does God intervene when the leaders of government harm the poor? (God warns that the leaders will not enjoy their wealth.)

    9. Read Amos 5:12-13. Amos repeats the nature of the problem, corruption of the rule of law. How do people react to this? (The "prudent keep quiet in such times.")

      1. Is this what God wants? Should we keep quiet about evil in government? (God admits it is prudent to keep quiet. But, it is not clear that is what God wants.)

        1. How else will things change? (Let's skip ahead and read Amos 5:17. God says that He will change things. He will "pass through your midst.")

    10. Read Amos 5:14-15. Do we have a part in honest government and the rule of law? Or, is it best to be prudent? (God asks us to make a difference and not keep quiet. Just as we are God's agents for helping the poor, so we are God's agents for making the government more honest and fair.)

    11. Recall that God tells the people that He detests their worship. He wants justice instead. We turned to the first part of Amos to see what God was talking about. What was God talking about? (God detests our worship when we allow our courts and our government to be corrupt.)

  3. Change

    1. Read Isaiah 58:6. What kind of religious practice is God calling for here? (To give the people freedom.)

      1. Does this involve government? (When government is the problem, it would mean to give people a just government.)

    2. Read Isaiah 58:7. Is this an instruction to government? (No. This is about personally helping those in need.)

    3. Read Isaiah 58:8-10. What will happen to our religious worship if we do this? (God will listen and answer. He will bless and protect us.)

    4. Friend, once again we come to a familiar conclusion. God asks us to show the poor justice and intelligent mercy. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you understand what you must do?

  4. Next week: Jesus and Those in Need.
* Copr. 2019, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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