Explore the Bible Sunday School Lesson for September 25

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By Robert Olsen, Ph. D.
Associate Professor of Christian Studies, University of Mobile

HOPE IN GOD

Amos 9:5–15 

The introduction (5–6)

This chapter begins with a prophecy of God’s inescapable judgment and affirms God has the power to carry out His judgment. Since God created the universe, He can control what happens in it. For those who have rejected God and mocked His commands and statutes, there will be a reckoning.

Of course, God’s standard hasn’t changed, and He still judges people today for their lack of obedience. It is common to believe God is solely a God of love, who will forgive sins just because He is loving. While it is true God is a God of love (in fact, God is love; see 1 John 4:16), He is also a holy God. A holy God cannot tolerate sin and will punish sin and those who sin. 

However, God has provided a remedy for sin: Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf. Because we must be righteous to be in the presence of God and not be condemned, believing in Christ and trusting in His work gives us His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21). Since He is perfect, Christ’s righteousness being applied to us allows God to see us as righteous as well, even though we have sinned.

The shaking (7–10)

The Israelites disregarded Amos’ message because they knew God had chosen them and brought them out of Egypt. God had orchestrated their escape from slavery, which meant they had a special place in God’s eyes. Therefore, they thought God would not judge them. In spite of this, Amos points out God orchestrates the direction of all nations, even the Philistines and Arameans, two of Israel’s main enemies. God had chosen Israel, but that did not mean He would not bring judgment upon them. God punished disobedience whether it came from the Philistines, Arameans or Israelites.

Even today, people believe they are in good standing with God because of their attendance or membership in a church. Many people are cultural Christians — the idea that I am a Christian because I hold to Christian ideas of morality or because I go to church. But our physical position or mental posture is not what saves us from God’s wrath. Belief and trust in Christ identify us as Christians. 

It is important for Christians not only to live as God tells us but also to help others see what the gospel really is. It is not about church attendance or morality, but it is about trusting in Christ and His righteousness for our salvation. This salvation will result in church attendance, godly morality and ethics.

The restoration (11–15)

God was going to carry out His judgment upon Israel, which ultimately took place in 722 B.C. for the northern kingdom and 586 B.C. for the southern kingdom. Even though God would judge Israel, throughout the Bible He promised there would be a remnant. God would not forsake Israel. The punishment He was going to bring against the Israelites was to turn their hearts back to Him. This was God’s discipline, and the purpose of discipline is to change behavior. 

The new kingdom God was going to set up would be eternal. Amos uses language to reflect how wonderful the new Kingdom would be: Crops would be so abundant and plentiful they would continue to be harvested while new ones were being planted.

We see this reflected in the New Testament. Hebrews 12:7 says, “Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?” The goal is for us to live like Christ, and when we fall short, God convicts us to help us get back on track. If we ignore the conviction, it may be that, like the Israelites, we are not true followers of God. We need to pay attention to God’s will by reading His word and doing what it says, repenting when we fall short and asking God for forgiveness.