Amos 3:1-5:17 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Oracles Against Israel
Comments for Study 2

Amos 3:1-5:17
Memory Verse: 5:15

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I. Judgment on the Chosen People (3:1-15)

>1. Who is this prophecy against? (1-2)

* Amos 3:1-2 "Hear this word the LORD has spoken against you, O people of Israel--against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins"

* "O people of Israel"

* "against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt"

* "I will punish you for all your sins"

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>What were they when the Lord brought them out of Egypt?

* "You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth"

* Amos 2:9-11 "I destroyed the Amorite before them, though he was tall as the cedars and strong as the oaks. I destroyed his fruit above and his roots below. I brought you up out of Egypt, and I led you forty years in the desert to give you the land of the Amorites. I also raised up prophets from among your sons and Nazirites from among your young men. Is this not true, people of Israel?" declares the LORD."

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>Was the relationship established forced on them? (3; Exodus 19:7-8)

* Amos 3:3 "Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so?"

* Exodus 19:7-8 "So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, "We will do everything the LORD has said." So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD."

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>2. Consider the answers to the actions and reactions questions in verses 4-6.

* Amos 3:4-6 "Does a lion roar in the thicket when he has no prey? Does he growl in his den when he has caught nothing? Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground where no snare has been set? Does a trap spring up from the earth when there is nothing to catch? When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?"

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>How is the Lord doing the same through Amos? (7-8)

* Amos 3:7-8 "Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared-- who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken-- who can but prophesy?"

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>Who was the Lord calling to be a witness between Israel and the Lord's covenant? (9-10)

* Amos 3:9-10 "Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod and to the fortresses of Egypt: "Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria; see the great unrest within her and the oppression among her people." "They do not know how to do right," declares the LORD, "who hoard plunder and loot in their fortresses."

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>3. What is the verdict of the nation that broke it's contract with the Lord? (11, 13-15)

* Amos 3:11 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: "An enemy will overrun the land; he will pull down your strongholds and plunder your fortresses."

* Amos 3:13-15 "Hear this and testify against the house of Jacob," declares the Lord, the LORD God Almighty. "On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished," declares the LORD."

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>Will all be lost? (12)

* Amos 3:12 "This is what the LORD says: "As a shepherd saves from the lion's mouth only two leg bones or a piece of an ear, so will the Israelites be saved, those who sit in Samaria on the edge of their beds and in Damascus on their couches."

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>Now consider the new covenant we are under; has it been broken? (Rev. 2:4-5)

* Revelation 2:4-5 "Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place."

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II. Judgment on an Unrepentant People (4:1-13)

>4. What were the Israelite women like in Amos' time? (1, 4-5)

* Amos 4:1 "Hear this word, you cows of Bashan on Mount Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy and say to your husbands, "Bring us some drinks!"

* Amos 4:4-5 "Go to Bethel and sin; go to Gilgal and sin yet more. Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings-- boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do," declares the Sovereign LORD."

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>What would happen to them? (2-3)

* Amos 4:2-3 "The Sovereign LORD has sworn by his holiness: "The time will surely come when you will be taken away with hooks, the last of you with fishhooks. You will each go straight out through breaks in the wall, and you will be cast out toward Harmon," declares the LORD."

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>What should they be like? (Pro. 11:16, 21-23, 14:1, 31:10-31)

* Proverbs 11:16 "A kindhearted woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

* Proverbs 11:21-23 "Be sure of this: The wicked will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will go free. Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion. The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath."

* Proverbs 14:1 "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down."

* Proverbs 31:10-31 describes a wife of noble character.

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>5. What calamities did the Lord send Israel according to verses 6-11?

* Amos 4:6-11 "I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up. People staggered from town to town for water but did not get enough to drink, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew. Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt. I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses. I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD. "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire, yet you have not returned to me," declares the LORD."

* "I gave you empty stomachs in every city and lack of bread in every town" -A general statement. What follows is how this was done.

* "I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away... did not get enough to drink" -Drought is the first items mentioned.

* "Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards, I struck them with blight and mildew" -Blight and mildew is the second item mentioned.

* "Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees" -Locusts is the third item mentioned.

* "I sent plagues among you as I did to Egypt" -Plagues is a general statement.

* "I killed your young men with the sword, along with your captured horses" -Enemy nations defeating them is the fourth item mentioned.

* "I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps" -The stench was from the rotting courpse of their soldiers.

* "I overthrew some of you as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah" -Entire towns disappeared. The tribe of Simeon disappeared from history.

* "You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire" -They were being consumed, but not all of them.

>Why did he do this?

* "return to me"

>How did they respond?

* "yet you have not returned to me"

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>6. What should they prepare for? (12)

* Amos 4:12 "Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, prepare to meet your God, O Israel."

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>What had they forgotten and/or not believed about the Lord? (13)

* Amos 4:13 He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth-- the LORD God Almighty is his name."

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>Is the Lord Jesus the same today? (Rev. 2:14-16)

* Revelation 2:14-16 "Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: You have people there who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. Likewise you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth."

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III. Judgment on an Unjust People (5:1-17)

>7. What did the Lord lament about the northern tribes, Israel? (1-2)

* Amos 5:1-2 "Hear this word, O house of Israel, this lament I take up concerning you: "Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up."

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>What does this say about his love?

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>What will be the outcome of Israel's attempt to save themselves? (3)

* Amos 5:3 "This is what the Sovereign LORD says: "The city that marches out a thousand strong for Israel will have only a hundred left; the town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left."

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>8. What did the Lord want them to do? (4, 6)

* Amos 5:4 "This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: "Seek me and live;"

* Amos 5:6 "Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire; it will devour, and Bethel will have no one to quench it."

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>What was at Bethel, Gilgal, and Beersheba? (5)

* Amos 5:5 "do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal, do not journey to Beersheba. For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing."

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>Who is the Lord? (8-9)

* Amos 5:8-9 "(he who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns blackness into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land-- the LORD is his name-- he flashes destruction on the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin),"

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>9. What sins are mentioned? (7, 10-11a, 12)

* Amos 5:7 "You who turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground"

* Amos 5:10-11a "you hate the one who reproves in court and despise him who tells the truth. You trample on the poor and force him to give you grain.

* Amos 5:12 "For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. You oppress the righteous and take bribes and you deprive the poor of justice in the courts."

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>What happens when times are evil? (13)

* Amos 5:13 "Therefore the prudent man keeps quiet in such times, for the times are evil."

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>Will the evil rich man be able to enjoy his wealth forever? (11b, 16-17)

* Amos 5:11b "Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, you will not live in them; though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.

* Amos 5:16-17 "Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says: "There will be wailing in all the streets and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail. There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst," says the LORD."

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>10. What is possible for them to avoid the coming calamity? (14-15)

* Amos 5:14-15 "Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. 15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph."

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>What did Jesus teach that was similar to this? (Luke 11:42, 46, 18:23-30)

* Luke 11:42 "Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone."

* Luke 11:46 "And you experts in the law, woe to you, because you load people down with burdens they can hardly carry, and you yourselves will not lift one finger to help them."

* Luke 18:23-30 "When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." Those who heard this asked, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God." Peter said to him, "We have left all we had to follow you!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus said to them, "no one who has left home or wife or brothers or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age and, in the age to come, eternal life."

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