Amos, Part 1: God’s judgment on nations in the Old Testament

Starting into Amos proper this week…

PODCAST for Wed 13 May: 

Israel and Judah split apart about 920 BCE, and Amos is speaking around 160 years later. He has come from from Judah to announce a message to Israel. People in Israel will say, he’s not one of us! Is he on the side of our enemies?

  • Can you imagine Amos 1-2 being preached to an audience in Israel? How would they be hearing the judgement on the six other nations, then Judah, … and then themselves. (See Amaziah the priest’s reaction to Amos in Ch.7. Might Paul have gotten the idea for the turn in Romans 1-2 from Amos 1-2?)
  • Did he present his message to the other nations, or do you think that was just for Israel’s benefit? Here’s a summary: 

The specific accusations in the first six sayings all have to do with crimes in war. Damascus has treated the people of Gilead with extreme cruelty, grinding them as grain is ground on a threshing floor. The Philistines and the people of Tyre have been involved in large-scale programs of deportation. Tyre has violated an international treaty, the “covenant of brotherhood.” The Edomites are accused of pitiless and ongoing cruelty against a “brother” people. The atrocity of the Ammonites is especially reprehensible: Innocent civilians, pregnant women, are killed by the sword, taking two lives at one blow. If the Ammonites exterminated life before birth, the Moabites are accused of extending their atrocities beyond death, in this case for white-washing walls (the same word is translated “plaster” in Deut. 27:2, 4). [Limberg, Interpretation: Hosea-Micah, p.89]

  • Is right worship expected from gentile nations in Amos 1-2? Is right behavior expected? Are only notorious outrages being condemned? 
  • How does the relationship between Israel/Judah and gentile nations then compares to the relationship between Christians and non-Christians today? — or between supposedly Christian nations, and others?
  • Some highly audible American Christians expect God to judge America and America’s enemies. Does Amos support that idea? Does the New Testament? … How would you tell conclusively one way or the other?

Remember that we pick messages not for agreement in every detail, but for their discussion value. See How home groups work at Imagine and The next ten weeks… for a current outline.

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