International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday June 7, 2015
Purpose: To accept our special responsibility as those set apart to serve God
Bible Lesson: Amos 2:4-8
Background: Amos 2:4-16
Key Verse: The Lord proclaims: For three crimes of Judah, and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment, because they have rejected the Instruction of the Lord, and haven’t kept his laws. They have been led off the right path by the same lies after which their ancestors walked. (Amos 2:4)
Amos 2:4-8 (CEB)
(4)The Lord proclaims: For three crimes of Judah, and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment, because they have rejected the Instruction of the Lord, and haven’t kept his laws. They have been led off the right path by the same lies after which their ancestors walked. (5) So I will send a fire on Judah, and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem. (6) The Lord proclaims: For three crimes of Israel, and for four, I won’t hold back the punishment, because they have sold the innocent for silver, and those in need for a pair of sandals. (7) They crush the head of the poor into the dust of the earth, and push the afflicted out of the way. Father and son have intercourse with the same young woman, degrading my holy name. (8) They stretch out beside every altar on garments taken in loan; in the house of their god they drink wine bought with fines they imposed.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
For the next 3 weeks we will be studying the Book of Amos. I will give you a brief background on the author and the setting of this book. Amos is the earliest of the biblical prophets with a book in his own name. He lived during the eighth century B.C., during a time when there was a divided kingdom. The kingdom of Judah was the southern kingdom and consisted of primarily two tribes. (Judah and Benjamin) Judah was where Jerusalem was located. The northern kingdom was called Israel during this time period and consisted of the ten remaining tribes. The split came about after the death of Solomon. Rehoboam, Solomon’s son, became the King of Judah and Jeroboam, became Israel’s first king. The capital for Judah was Jerusalem, while the northern kingdom of Israel chose Samaria as its capital. Our lesson takes place during the reign of Jeroboam II in Israel and King Uzziah (sometimes called Azariah) in Judah. The best date we have is 762 B.C.
After the divided kingdom was created, Jeroboam I, built a temple-like structure in Bethel a few miles north of Jerusalem for the people of the north to worship in, and to keep them from having to go to Jerusalem to worship. That is where Amos goes to proclaim the message from Jehovah. Bethel was a few miles north of Jerusalem and Amos’s home town was a few miles south of Jerusalem, so the journey was only 20-30 miles at most, or a two day journey.
Amos was not a prophet by birth, nor was his father. Amos was a layman, a herdsman and trimer of sycamore trees. In 7: 14-15 we read Amos’s call (14) Amos answered Amaziah, "I am not a prophet, nor am I a prophet’s son; but I am a shepherd, and a trimmer of sycamore trees. (15) But the Lord took me from shepherding the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amos’s message was not well received in Israel and they thought he should go back home to Judah and do his talking. The opening line of our text that is repeated sounds confusing and may have been a slang term, similar to “in for a penny, in for a pound.” It certainly did not mean if they had only committed three sins and not four, all would have been well.
Amos was called to speak a word, and he did as the Lord had commanded, he wasn’t popular, but his word was what the Lord gave him. Doing God’s will is not always the popular thing to do, but in the end it is what will make us the happiest.
There is a very special hymn written by Andrae Crouch “Through It All.” I think that is the testimony of Amos.