When I discuss the state of our country and our disregard for God’s Law with other believers, I often hear the phrase “America is not Israel!” The argument is essentially that God’s Law was given to Israel, not America. Since we’re not Israel, we are not held accountable to God’s Law as a standard for righteousness. Furthermore, we should not expect blessing or cursing for obedience or disobedience to God’s Law.
The first objection is one I will address briefly, since it’s not the topic of this post. God did indeed give one nation a Law. He called this Law perfect and righteous altogether (Psalm 19:7–9). He also said that under this Law, every transgression receives a just penalty (Hebrews 2:2). God did not give Israel the Law arbitrarily. He gave it to them because it was just (among other reasons). If you are going to say —for example—that capital punishment is inherently unjust for America, you need a place to stand. • • • Read More • • •
As I mentioned in my last post, Israel had rebelled against God by establishing centers and forms of worship that God had not prescribed. The Israelites were busy worshiping God with golden calves in Dan and Bethel, but that is not the place wherein they should have expected to hear God. He was to be found precisely where He said He would be found, in Jerusalem (Amos 1:2).
In chapter one verse two, Amos starts out by opposing false worship. Many people opposed Amos, especially as he preached in and around the false centers of worship. By condemning false worship at the outset, Amos is saying that those who do not worship God the way that He has prescribed cannot be speaking for God because they cannot possibly have heard from Him. You cannot hear the Lord at Dan or Bethel because He is not speaking there. He speaks from where He promised to be. • • • Read More • • •
Back when I was young(er) and foolish(er), I agreed to teach through the book of Amos in five weeks. This was extremely difficult for me, since it was my first time teaching prophecy and I needed to blitz through it at about two chapters per week. A year ago, when I was a little older and just as foolish, I taught an overview of the whole book in a forty-five minute lecture. This was just as difficult, if not more so.
Interestingly, each time I’ve taught on Amos, I was not the one who chose the book. God providentially, through the decisions of those around me, put me in the position of studying and teaching it. In this case, like all other cases, God’s providence was kind to me. What I learned in Amos seemed only somewhat relevant to our current culture when I first taught it (five years ago), but it seemed a lot more relevant this last year. Over the past couple of months, the things I learned in Amos keep jumping out at me as messages that both the church and our nation need to heed.
Since Amos has been helpful to me, and since few people take the time to read and study it, I’ve decided to take some time and blog through it. Some posts will cover more ground than others and I’m not sure how long it will take me to get through the whole book, but hopefully some of the content will prove as helpful to you as it has been to me. • • • Read More • • •