Friday, February 23, 2018


This week, our Bible Study begins a series of lessons on the Old Testament writings of Amos, one of the minor prophets, who lived in the 8th century BC, during the forty year reign of King Jeroboam II, 
This was a period of prosperity for Israel. They recovered all the land which had been lost in previous wars. Moab was subdued, and parts of Syria, including Damascus were captured.
Jeroboam II maintained strict control over the southern Kingdom of Judah, but worked to develop friendly relations between the two nations, even giving to the king of Judah, some of the land taken from Syria.
Political stability lead to economic economic well-being. Trade with Phoenicia filled the market stalls with rare and precious goods. The nation enjoyed luxury, opulence and ease. Life was good.
As often happens in affluent society, people obsessed with "things," forgot about God and the moral standards He demanded.The well-off Israelites oppressed the poor, might was right, corruption crept into all aspects of society. he teachings of the Torah and the holy commandments were viewed with contempt.As a final insult to God Almighty, Israel built idols to the Canaanite gods of Baal and Ashtarte
God sent many prophets to warn Israel of His anger. One of those prophets was Amos. A lowly shepherd, he clearly stated he was not a "professional prophet," approved by the religious leaders, but a simple man, sent from God. 
Roaring forth a message of condemnation and doom, he was not popular.  However, he was filled with the spirit of prophecy and proclaimed his message fearlessly, even in Bethel  when crowds were gathered to worship the Golden Calf.
In the midst of the celebration, Amos announced that God would bring forth a terrible punishment upon the people of Israel. Threatened with violence from the crowd, Amos fearlessly declared that God had sent him and he would speak God's message.

Old Testament prophets are not the most likeable characters in scripture, but their proclamation of God's word is part of holy scripture. Our society is no less wealthy than the one Amos railed against. Corruption threatens our institutions. The number of people living below the poverty line continues to grow, while wealth is concentrated at the top. Christian values are under attack in the press, in politics, and in education. The idols of sport and leisure and celebrity dominate our screens.

We may not like what Amos has to say, but perhaps we should pay heed.

See you Wednesday at 9:30 am or 7:00 pm in the lounge.

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