Saturday, September 21, 2019

Amos 9

Today's reading in our daily plan is Amos 9. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • The altar (verse 1) was a place of blessing and protection, but God declares the judgment of His people from there.
  • Amos makes it clear that no one can avoid the judgment of God. That is good news for the faithful and bad news for the unfaithful.
  • The "Cushites" (verse 7) were another nation. The Israelites who Amos was talking to were supposed to be God's people. The point in verse 7 is that God does not show preferential treatment.
  • Amos assures the Israelites (in verse 8) that God would not totally destroy Israel. The punishment would not be permanent. Then, in verse 11, there is a promise of restoration in the future.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • The Israelites were ignoring and rebelling against God, running straight away from Him. God tells them that they will receive the just punishment for their sin. That punishment was not just a consequence for their sin. It was also designed to show them the error of their ways and, hopefully, to turn them around and bring them back to God. If we are giving our hearts to someone or something else, if we are not living the (best) life God has for us, then God will allow us to suffer in hopes of moving us towards repentance and restoration. The theologian A.W. Tozer said, "It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until he has hurt him deeply." That doesn't mean that God wants to hurt us, He doesn't. It means that if there is something holding us down or holding us back, God will drive it out of us so we can live for Him and live a better life. Here's another quote from Tozer that gives the context of that last one:
  • The flaming desire to be rid of every unholy thing and to put on the likeness of Christ at any cost is not often found among us. We expect to enter the everlasting kingdom of our Father and to sit down around the table with sages, saints and martyrs; and through the grace of God, maybe we shall; yes maybe we shall. But for most of us it could prove at first an embarrassing experience. Ours might be the silence of the untried soldier in the presence of the battle-hardened heroes who have fought the fight and won the victory and who have scars to prove that they were present when the battle was joined.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is there anything in your life that is displeasing to God and keeping you from living the life He has for you? If so, God isn't going to let you settle for a less-than life. He will allow pain and suffering to come into your life, if necessary, in order to get your attention, bring you back to Him, and help you live your best life. Where might God be doing that?
Here's a helpful video from a great resource called BibleProject that reviews and summarizes the entire book of Amos: