International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday June 21, 2015
Purpose: To assert that self-centeredness leads to our ruin
Bible Lesson: Amos 6:2-8, 11-14
Background Scripture: Amos 6
Amos 6:2-8 (CEB)
(1)Doom to those resting comfortably in Zion and those trusting in Mount Samaria, the chiefs of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes!)
(2) Cross over to Calneh and see; from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is your territory greater than their territory? (3) Doom to those who ignore the evil day and make violent rule draw near: (4) who lie on beds of ivory, stretch out on their couches, eat lambs from the flock, and bull calves from the stall; (5) who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and, like David, compose tunes on musical instruments; (6) who drink bowls of wine, put the best of oils on themselves, but who aren’t grieved over the ruin of Joseph! (7) Therefore, they will now be the first to be taken away, and the feast of those who lounged at the table will pass away. (8) The Lord God has solemnly sworn, says the Lord, the God of heavenly forces: I reject the pride of Jacob. I hate his fortresses. I will hand over the city and all that is in it,
Amos 6: 11-14 (CEB)
(11) Look, the Lord is giving an order; he will shatter the great house into bits and the little house into pieces. (12) Do horses run on rocks? Does one plow the sea with oxen? But you have turned justice into poison and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness— (13) you who rejoice in Lo-debar, who say, “Haven’t we by our own strength taken Karnaim for ourselves?” (14) Indeed, I will raise up against you a nation, house of Israel, says the Lord God of heavenly forces, and they will oppress you from Lebo-hamath to the desert ravine.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
Today I have added the first verse of chapter 6 to our lesson text for you to read. I think that it puts things in a little better perspective. Amos’s warning is extended to those in Zion (Jerusalem and Judea) as well as those leaders in Mount Samaria, which was the capital city of the northern kingdom or Israel as Amos refers to it.
Both the northern kingdom and Judea were guilty of many of the things Amos points out in his message. Both were in his words “doomed.” And for many of the same reasons.
Amos points out that they are no better off than many of the nations around them. They have not been obedient to God’s commands so there should be no expectation of them to continue being a favored nation in God’s eye.
Amos points out that those that live in luxury and in power are doing so at the expense of the poor. Most of the common people scrimp and scrape just to eat, while the rich dine and drink in excess. That Amos attacks the music they both sing and play is quite disturbing to me, because it sounds like something that could be said about our music today we hear and see, even in our worship services.
That Amos pronounces doom seems to imply there is very little chance of salvaging any hope. Certainly the LORD has been patient and judgement has been delayed, but that will not always be the case. When judgment comes it will affect everyone rich and poor. Both the “great house” and the “little house.”
Amos warns that destruction will come from another nation, but he does not name that nation. Of course that nation was Assyria, and the northern kingdom fell in 722 B.C. The kingdom of Judah would last about 135 years longer before it would fall to the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar.
For this lesson to make an impact on your life you will need to assess how self-centered are you? And are you guilty of the same sins as those of Amos’s day?
The Christian life is one of “constantly abiding” which is the hymn I would like to leave you with today.