READ: Amos 1-4
THINK: Have you ever noticed that most people who engage in self-indulgent or self-destructive behaviors aren't content to do so alone? They're intent on involving others. Followers of Christ must avoid this tendency at all costs. God takes it very seriously when people who know better use their influence to lead others into behaviors that cause them not only to contradict their own conscience, but to defy God's intentions for them. It's one thing to defy God on our own, but it is an even greater offense if we cause others to rebel against Him. You probably have more influence than you realize. Use it to inspire people to get closer to God, not to nudge them away from Him.
RESPOND: What job did Amos have, and what does this indicate about who God can use to deliver His message? (See 1:1 note.) Why does God tell Israel's neighboring nations, "I will send fire" (1:7,10,12,14; 2:2,5)? (See 1:4 note.) Considering most sins listed for these nations, what kinds of behaviors are involved, and how does God view such actions? (See 1:6 note.) What were the primary sins of Judah, Israel's sister nation (2:4-5)? (See 2:4 note.) In addition to disregarding God's Word, what other sins was Israel guilty of (2:6ff)? (See 2:6 note.) In what ways did rebellious people encourage more sincere people to defy God (2:12), and how is this similar to what some people- even Christians-do today? (See 2:12 note.) Why did most Israelites object to Amos' message, and why must Christians today be careful of the same attitude? (See 3:2 note.) How does 3:3 apply to one's relationship with God and the responsibilities involved? (See 3:3 notes.) What nation would overrun Israel, and who would survive (3:11- 12)? (See 3:11-12 note.) How were the people's religious practices adding to their sins (4:4-5)? (See 4:4-5 note.)
PRAY: Ask God to help you show His kindness, consideration and compassion to others in words and actions. Pray that you will not be guilty of influencing or persuading others to defy God or their own consciences.
ACT: Find practical ways to help and encourage people who are hurting or in need. If you're influencing anyone to do something he or she may not feel right about, apologize to God and to them.
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