Explore the Bible Study: Hope in God

7:51 PM

In the world of technology, to what do the words, “factory reset, reboot, and update” refer? If you have ever taken one of these actions, then you know. Sometimes we consider just tossing out a piece of equipment because of all the problems. Fortunately, for God, tossing us aside was not the plan. However, The Explore the Bible Study: Hope in God, will reveal that He can't ignore ongoing sin.

When we observe all that is taking place we may feel as if our society today needs a factory reset, a reboot, or an update. This is why a study of the book of Amos is so timely. Amos, chapter 9, reveals how God planned to deal with a society that had strayed completely from its intended design. It was broken by sin and needed a factory reset by the Creator. God was not going to be mocked by the actions of the people who claimed to be God’s covenant people.

The events of Amos 9 could have taken place during one of the counterfeit celebrations that had been described previously in the book of Amos. Beginning in Amos 9:1-4, God is declared as the One who reigns supremely over His creation. God is portrayed as having authority over both heaven and earth; therefore, no one can escape His judgment.

In the very presence of all the fake worship at a fake altar, Amos sees the REAL King standing by the altar standing ready to wage war against pretense, complacency, and rebellion. While the passages we will examine today aren’t pleasant, you will discover that hope is ALWAYS offered equally by God to those who turn to Him, but, because God is holy, He must punish sin.

Amos addresses the people in verses 5-6 to remind them of who this God is that declares this message.

God Reigns - Amos 9:5-6

The phrase, the Lord, the God of Armies, points to God’s authority over all things and His ability to carry out all that He says He will do. He has the host of heaven at His disposal, and no one can withstand Him or flee from His wrath. No place in all of creation is beyond His reach. He simply touches the earth, and it melts, meaning to tremble and shake as in an earthquake. Notice how the people respond when they come to their senses and realize that the Lord is the God of Armies--They mourn.

What kind of god does our culture today desire? Why?

What evidence do you see today in many churches or individual believers that might indicate we have forgotten that the Lord is the GOD of Armies?

Why should understanding God as the God of Armies cause us to pause and consider the way in which we live our lives?

God then reminds them of their brokenness because of sin.

All Mankind is Broken by Sin - Amos 9:7-8

The Israelites believed that, as God’s chosen, covenant people, and His treasured possession out of all the nations (Exodus 19:5) they were exempt from God’s judgment. They behaved as if the Lord was obligated to bless them. Just because they had a special covenant relationship with God did not give them the right to live immoral and deceitful spiritual lives.

While the Israelites were a chosen people, they were equally as broken by sin as any other people. They could not escape the fact that sin had to be accounted for even if they lived under a special covenant.

In what ways might someone today express their assumption that God is obligated to treat them a certain way? Do some people assume God should or will ignore their sins? If so, why?

If you claim to be a Christian, God expects the way you live in the present to affirm what He did for you in the past through Jesus Christ. Just because Jesus Christ came, lived, died, and rose again doesn’t mean everyone on earth is universally exempt from God’s judgment. God says, “I am directly interested in your moral spiritual present. I am interested in where you were last night. I am interested in your thoughts right now. I am interested in your business dealings in the past week. I am interested in your relationship with the opposite sex. I am interested in how you view and treat others. I am interested in how you live out the truths of My Holy Scriptures.”

Consider your own life? Does your life truly reflect the life of someone who has received Christ?

Notice God’s words in verse 8.  On one hand he will obliterate Israel from the face of the earth. Yet, on the other hand, He will not totally destroy the house of Jacob. This seems to contradict itself, but it doesn’t. The Northern Kingdom would cease to exist as a socio-political structure, yet the Lord would preserve for Himself a remnant of people from the house of Jacob who remained faithful to Him, but this could only take place through God confronting them about their sin.

God Will Not Allow You to Ignore Your Sin-Broken Life – Amos 9:9-10

God says he will shake Israel like grain in a sieve, allowing the grain to escape while catching the husks, stalks, pebbles, and dirt so it can be discarded. Everyone in the house of Israel would be confronted by God regarding sin. Those who were like grain would escape judgment, but those who didn’t pass the sifting process would die by the sword.  The purpose of God’s judgment was to remove those who rejected the Lord and to save those who had been faithful to Him.

John the Baptist also says this is what Jesus Christ does as well. Matthew 3:12 tells us that Jesus’ “winnowing shovel is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn. But the chaff he will burn with fire that never goes out.

Notice the attitude of those who would not escape judgment. They said, "Disaster will never overtake or confront us." What kind of attitudes might indicate that people believe this today? 

While judgment would come and will come, God’s purpose and plan is not total annihilation, but salvation.

God Desires to Fix Brokenness - Amos 9:11-15

There are three key words in this passage that reflect the God who is Holy and just, yet the God who loves. It’s the words RESTORE, REPAIR, AND REBUILD.

When someone receives Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells him, and he becomes a new creation.  2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!" As believers we are no longer bound by sin. We are new in Christ. Therefore, we are given a new desire and the capacity to no longer live for ourselves but to live for Christ.

Responding to God

Reading God’s words in the book of Amos also helps us understand the glorious future when Christ will return once again. In the beginning, everything God created was very good. Yet man sinned, causing every part of His creation to be broken by sin. The book of Revelation reminds us that there is coming a future and final judgment. After sin is eternally judged, God promises a new heaven and a new earth where suffering, pain, sin, and death no longer exist. This broken world will be completely and totally restored by God who sits on the throne and says, “Look, I am making everything new.” (Revelation 21:5)

This future should give believers hope and strength to strive to live the most holy lives possible. This includes hearing from God when He confronts us about sin in our lives and then repenting so that He can continue to restore us. It also includes producing fruit by sharing and showing the good news of Jesus to others.

Today our world celebrates everything while saying this is the way God wants it to be. We must realize that God will not be mocked by churches, societies, or individuals.

The Bible reminds us that we should always examine our faith— "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? —unless you fail the test." (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Does your life reflect one who is in a covenant relationship with Jesus Christ?

Do you assume God is ignoring your sin because of His love?

What actions do you need to take based on the word of God?

Amos concluded his message with two significant expressions in Amos 9:14-15. The Lord called them my people, and He called Himself the Lord your God. There is no greater blessing believers may experience than hearing the Lord say to us, “You are My people, and I am your God.”

The downloadable teaching helps provide more details for this study, along with some tools you can use in guiding a group Bible study. Be sure to use this as a supplement to your study of the Explore the Bible Study resources provided by LifeWay.

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