READ: Amos 5-9
THINK: Do you love to listen to God's Word? Does it inspire you? Encourage you? Challenge you? How do feel when it offers discipline or correction? How about when it tells you to change your ways, or else? Through His Word, God speaks to our lives on every level, and He expects us to respond accordingly. Yet it can be easy to take the Word for granted. It's always there. It will endure forever. But sometimes, God becomes silent. Amos prophesied to people who repeatedly rejected God's messages and warnings. They didn't want to hear any of it. They would get what they asked for. The prophets would leave them alone. God wouldn't send anyone to challenge, warn, or encourage them. They would get no word from God (8:11). When they looked for His guidance, they would find only silence. This never needs to happen to you. Keep listening-and responding obediently-to God's Word.
RESPOND: Whose sorrow does chapter 5 convey, and why? (See 5:1-27 note.) What could the people have done to spare themselves from the doom and destruction Amos spoke about (5:4,6)? (See 5:4 note.) How were people oppressing each other (5:12), and how did this defy God's desire? (See 5:12 note.) In practical terms, what does it mean to "hate evil, love good" (5:15)? (See 5:15 note.) How were the Israelites mistaken about what "the day of the LORD" (5:18) would mean for them? (See 5:18 note.) Why did God despise the people's religious feasts, assemblies, offerings and songs (5:21-23)? (See 5:21-27 note.) Why were the people complacent, and how can we avoid this? (See: 6:1-7 note.) What does 7:1-6 indicate about how God's people can affect how He enacts judgment and mercy? (See 7:1-6 note.) In what way did the ripe fruit (8:1) represent Israel? (See 8:1 note.) Because people had persistently rejected God's message, what kind of famine would He send (8:11), and how would it affect their lives? (See 8:11 note.) What promise did God make regarding Israel at the end of Amos? (See 9:11-15 and 9:11 notes.)
PRAY: Pray that you'll get a better sense of God's sorrow over sin, and that this will drive you to reach out more deliberately in words and actions to those who don't know Jesus. Give God thanks for His Word and for faithful ministry that you receive. Pray that you won't become complacent about God's purposes nor take His Word for granted.
ACT: Have you become complacent or spiritually lazy? Make sure you're not just going through religious routines. Sincerely practice your faith in and out of church. When you read or hear God's Word, put it into practice.
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