The new; "what you know"

I have made thousands upon thousands of sandwiches, but it never even entered into my mind to do this.  Most of the time, I place one piece of mean on top of the other and that leaves openings at the edges.  Recently, my sandwiches have changed from regular "cold cuts" to those whose ingredients include turkey and after seeing this, its probably time to make another change.  I always thought life would get boring as I aged; boy was I wrong!!!  I never dreamed I would still be learning things in retirement!!!  God is surprising me every day!!!!  Somehow these verses from the book of 1 Corinthians makes more sense than ever now...

1 Corinthians, Chapter 2
 6 We speak wisdom, however, among those who are full grown; yet a wisdom not of this world, nor of the rulers of this world, who are coming to nothing.  7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory,  8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 

9 But as it is written, 
“Things which an eye didn’t see, and an ear didn’t hear,which didn’t enter into the heart of man,these God has prepared for those who love him.”

 This blog began by a realizing a simple fact: God can be seen all around us, if we but look!!!  Things like marvellous sunsets, rainbows, the tender loving smiles of infants and the devotion of a dog can help us to realize how much God loves us.  However, there are lessons to be learned from the unpleasant things in life as well.  Things we would rather forget; things that really hurt.  Throughout the good and the bad, God is there, teaching us, helping us and moulding us over time.  Look, keep looking... and then, open your Bible!!!  God will show you even more wonderful things than you can imagine!!!!  If something can be learned from the humble baloney sandwich, then, anything is possible!!!



When Jesus gave His warning to beware of false prophets, He told how they could be identified by observing the "fruit" they bear. There is no mistaking a plant when you recognize its fruit. False teachers are no exception. To recognize them, you only need to compare what they teach against the standard of God's word. But what if you aren't very familiar with what the bible teaches? Those who are young in the faith often find themselves vulnerable because they have not become grounded in the teaching of the scriptures. "For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil." (Heb. 5:13-14)
In Jesus' parable of the sower, you will recall that the seed that fell on the stoney ground lacked the soil for the newly sprouting plant to take root. "Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away." (Mt. 13:5-6) In explaining this parable, Jesus said that "... he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles." (Mt. 13:20-21) Herein is the danger of immaturity in being ungrounded in the knowledge of God's word.
The solution to the problem of spiritual vulnerability is study, study and more study. When I say study, I don't mean commentaries, religious periodicals, bulletins, tracts, etc. to the exclusion of God's word. (And yes, I mean this article as well.) Keep in mind that while those "helps" may be accurately "on the mark," they are the writings of men who are fallible. Even though such "helps" can be valuable in our quest for greater understanding, there is the danger of accepting the teachings of men without "looking any farther." It is too easy to be "intimidated" by those who display bible knowledge and to just "assume" they must know what they are talking about. Regardless of the fact that they may be "well known", eloquent, noted as authors of many books, etc. they are still fallible. It is true that Paul said we should "...join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern." (Phil. 3:17) Paul used himself and his fellow-workers as an example of the pattern that we should follow. In stating this, he was encouraging his readers to "note" (or be observant of) those who so "walk" and join in doing likewise. However, it must be understood that Paul was not saying that they were perfect or infallible in all of their behavior and therefore were the standard by which we are to measure our own conduct. Paul confirmed this when he referred to the incident regarding the apostle Peter that occurred while they were at Antioch; "But when Peter had come to Antioch, I withstood him to his face, because he was to be blamed." (Gal. 2:11) Peter knew better than to behave as he had on that occasion, because in rebuking him, Paul said that "the rest of the Jews also played the hypocrite with him, so that even Barnabas was carried away with their hypocrisy." (Gal. 2:13) Peter, and those who followed his poor example, were acting contrary to what they knew to be right. That is hypocrisy. In spite of this poor example, it took nothing away from the infallibility of the inspired message of the gospel that they preached. In that same letter, Paul warned that "even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:8) Here, Paul makes it clear that the gospel which he and his fellow-workers had preached was the standard, and if he or his fellow-workers should come along later and teach something different they should be regarded as being "accursed." What we learn from this is that while God's word is infallible and trustworthy, the same cannot be said for men.
The Bereans understood this, and displayed a healthy attitude in regard to learning the truth. "These were more fairminded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so." (Acts 17:11) The interesting thing about this observation is that these Bereans didn't take for granted that Paul and Silas were accurately teaching truth. After listening, they went to the standard of God's word and "searched the Scriptures," then they compared it against what they had been taught. If they could see the need to confirm what inspired men were teaching, how much more so should we follow their good example in confirming what uninspired men teach?
Apollos was "...an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures..." who "...had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John." (Acts 18:24, 25) He lacked some important understanding of scripture, so "when Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." (Acts 18:26) Apollos is an example of honesty and humility, who, upon being "corrected," did not react with resentment, but acknowledged his newfound truth and adopted it into his teaching. But what about those who had been previously taught by Apollos? We find that Paul encountered some disciples at Ephesus where Apollos had previously preached before being taught more accurately. Upon questioning these disciples, Paul realized that they too lacked the same information that Apollos had lacked. So he taught them as Aquila and Priscilla had taught Apollos, and the result was "when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." (Acts 19:5) The moral? "...Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning." (Prov. 9:9)

- Gary V. Womack - June 2003

Be Mine, by Gary Womack


February 14th is a day that is close to the "hearts" of many. Children send Valentine cards to one another, young lovers (?) give gifts of flowers and candy to their "significant other" and sometimes, just sometimes, even husbands and wives remember each other on that day for the love that drew them together and grows from year to year.
The origin of this particular day and its accompanying traditions are seated in Roman beginnings and Greek mythology. It is thought to have begun as the festival of Lupercalia which was a Roman celebration of love. This springtime event was characterized by the exchanging of gifts between men and women. One custom of the day was the pinning on the sleeve of a young man's shirt, the name of the young damsel who was to accompany him during the festivities. This ancient custom resulted in the once-common phrase, "He wears her heart on his sleeve." Valentine's Day later came to have "religious" significance within the Roman church during the third century in honor of certain martyrs, one of which came to be known as "Saint" (?) Valentine.
The Roman god of love, Cupid, came to be a symbol of this festival, and even today is a popular icon of our present-day holiday. According to Roman mythology, Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love, who was identified in Greek mythology as Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Cupid's counterpart in Greek mythology was known as Eros. These names had significance in their meanings and even came to have an influence on future cultures, our own being no exception. Cupid, in its Latin roots, means, "desire, longing, or passion." Eros, from its Greek origin, is where we get our present-day word, "erotic." It should be no surprise to us that its meaning is defined by Webster as, "Having to do with sexual love. Of, or causing sexual feelings or desires."
Considering these beginnings of what we now call Valentine's Day, is it any wonder how our culture has come to have a misguided concept about what "love" is really all about? It is obvious that the people of that era had a sensual concept of what we call love. Now, these many centuries later, we talk about "falling in love" and "making love" without consideration for the true meaning of what love really is. Our common misunderstanding of love is inseparably tied to the flesh and is confused with the emotions.
This is not to speak against Valentine's Day nor to put an evil slant on the innocent traditions of exchanging gifts and cards as a reminder of our affection for others. However, it is a reminder to us of our limited view of love. There is no denying the connection between love and emotions, however, many fail to understand that the "feelings" (or emotions) associated with love, is not love in itself. Nor is love the associated fleshly desires that draw two to become one flesh, but rather is either an expression of that love or merely the fulfillment of a lust of the flesh without any association with love. In fact, this latter consideration is an irresponsible act bordering on "animal instinct" which, in reality, is an act devoid of love, and is rather one of self-gratification without consideration for the other person.
Young people need to learn that what Hollywood depicts as love is actually lust gone to seed, resulting in sin grown to maturity. James said it this way; "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death." (Jas. 1:14-15) The world, in its warped view of love, has blighted our generation, robbing it of the joyful meaning of true love. They, in the words of Paul, "suppress the truth in unrighteousness." (Rom. 1:18) As in past generations, it can still be said that "God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves" (vs. 24) and "For this reason God gave them up to vile passions..." (vs. 26) and "...to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality," etc. (vs.. 28, 29) In short, man has perverted the true meaning of love and distorted the sanctity of marriage from a sacred bond to a temporary convenience for the sake of fleshly gratification.
Choosing a mate has been relegated to a frivolous selection process that focuses on good looks, sensuality, and fun loving good times, rather than the sober consideration of a lifetime commitment with one who will unselfishly look to the good of the other with a view toward helping each other get to heaven as "...heirs together of the grace of life." (1 Pet. 3:7) Which one of these two pictures depicts the true nature of love?
God's kind of love surpasses all of man's expectations. It is found within the bond of marriage where husbands are to "...love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her" (Eph. 5:25) and where wives are to have learned from their older counterparts to "love their husbands..." (Tit. 2:4). If the younger do not learn these things through the teaching and examples of their parents and grandparents, they may likely learn a perverted view from the rest of the world and subsequently miss out on the joys that God placed there for us.
Young people desperately need to learn that true love waits. Unlike the deceptive persuasions used by those with raging hormones and unrestrained will power, "If you love me" is not the question to be heeded to give in to the lusts of the flesh, but rather, "If you love God" becomes the real question whose answer forthrightly declares "Not now!" Remember, "Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled, but fornicators and adulterers God will judge." (Heb. 13:4) "Love suffers long (it waits patiently, gvw)...does not behave rudely (indecently or shamefully, gvw), does not seek its own (not self gratifying). (1 Cor. 13:4, 5) One who claims to love you will never ask you to do that which is wrong in the sight of God. And young men, remember, "Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." (Prov. 31:30) The question is, "Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies." (vs. 10) The rewards of patience in searching for the right one is the realization of love's precious treasure.
Before saying, "be mine," - think!

- Gary V. Womack - Feb. 15, 2004

Get Saved by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Get Saved

Everybody wants to save us from something. Teachers want to save us from ignorance, doctors want to save us from disease and financial advisors want to save us from the mismanagement of whatever money we have. It’s all good and all praiseworthy. There’s no point in being stupid about it, all these things are important to us as we live out our lives. But sometimes we hunger for something deeper than that. Down inside us we know there's a need for a profounder salvation. That's the business Jesus Christ is in.
He opens up our eyes to a bigger life and a richer humanity. He talks to us of "destiny" and "mission" and "life" that is brimful of life. He comes telling us that all these needful things are not the same as life. He comes saying that the body’s more than something to put clothes on, that living is more than three meals a day and twelve hours at work. He says housekeeping is needful but it isn’t the sum total of what we were made for!
He comes saying that our families and friends and health and music and reputation are all God’s gifts to be enjoyed but he says that if we’re to make them substitutes for his Holy Father that we’ll remain forever hungry and dissatisfied. The hunger, the sense of "there’s more than this" that nibbles at the edges of our minds shouldn’t be dismissed as nothing. It’s God working with us. He says he made us for more than all these. Not for less! But for more than all these lovely gifts. How can you tell? Hmmm, I suppose there’s only one way to tell if Christ is all he claims to be. "Taste, and see that the Lord is good." Give it a shot, get saved!
Let him save you from your sins. Yes, sins! The host of things you’ve done wrong down the years. Things about which you feel ashamed even at this distance. Not just crass evils but "respectable" wrongs, common wrongs, the wrongs of which we’re all guilty. Wrongs that we’re used to calling "wrongs" and he calls "sins" because, whether we’ve known it nor not, they’ve dishonored him.
Let him save you from your lack of profound purpose and the emptiness that sometimes comes over you in a wave of near mental nausea.
Let him save you from your settling for less. He loves our pleasure. For pity’s sake he gives us the gifts of music, romantic love, health and the like for us to enjoy! He doesn’t begrudge us our pleasure—he provides it! But it’s himself he wants to give and that makes all the difference. Get saved!
Television watching, door knock, she goes, speaks to someone at the door for several minutes. She comes back, silent. Who? A Christian. What did he want? Wanted to know if I was saved. Did you tell him you went to church regularly? He didn’t ask me that. Asked me if I was saved. Yes, but did you tell him that you’re involved in community programs around here? He didn’t ask me that either. Just asked me if I was saved. I know, but did you not tell him you taught school, sang in the choir and visited nursing homes? Are you listening to me? He didn’t ask me anything like that. He just asked me if I was saved. And...I’m not.
Do it, please. Get saved.

Genesis through Deuteronomy and Joshua (2) by Jim McGuiggan

Spending Time with Jim McGuiggan

Genesis through Deuteronomy and Joshua (2)

Genesis records the creation to tell Israel that there is but one God and the creation is his work. The elements of the natural world were not gods to be worshiped or enemies that God had to overcome. And Israel was to understand that she was just another part of the human race that had rebelled against God and brought his judgement down on the race and on the creation (see the end of chapter 3). But God’s judgement did not mean he wanted to wash his hands of us. His judgement on sin was part of his work of redemption and he chose Abraham to be the father of the people through whom he would bring to completion his redemption of the world (see John 4:23). Genesis 12:1-3 and several other texts like it show that Abraham and his seed were the elect of God but they also show that no one was elite.
In Abraham and his descendants all the families of the earth were to be blessed and we see this perfectly illustrated in Joseph (see Genesis 39--41 and note the word “blessed”). The book ends with Israel in Egypt under Joseph’s protection. Though Joseph was next to the Pharaoh in power before he died he made Israel swear to take his bones to Canaan because he knew God would fulfil his promise to Abraham about Canaan (see Genesis 12:1-3 and chapter 15).
The blessing continues
The opening verses of Exodus echo the words of Genesis 1:26-27 and Genesis 12:1-3. Those who curse Abraham’s seed were to be cursed because they were God’s instrument of blessing for the whole world and whoever opposed them opposed God’s purpose to bless the world. Exodus 1 shows God making them fruitful and Egypt cursing them with death and hard labour. God then cursed Egypt and exposed their gods as no gods at all by bringing plagues on Egypt (see chapters 7--12) and delivering his people. The close connection with Genesis is stressed in the book of Exodus in many ways. The use of the word blessed and the repeated mention of God’s promise to Abraham (see Exodus 2:24 and 3:6 and elsewhere) remind us that there is a single drama unfolding and not just a number of interesting but unconnected events.
From the Passover to mount Sinai
The final act of judgement within Egypt’s borders was the slaying of the firstborn of animals and humans (see Exodus 12) and to commemorate their deliverance God gave them the Passover that would be a permanent witness that God had redeemed them. They left Egypt and headed toward Canaan but the Red Sea stood in their way and Pharaoh’s army was coming after them. God showed he was Lord of the Red Sea and the winds and whatever else he used to open up the Sea in which he buried his enemies who kept trying to thwart his purpose to bless the world through Israel (see Exodus 14). He brought them through the wilderness to Mount Sinai where they encamped for about a year (see Exodus 19).
There he made a covenant with Israel and as a nation they formally became his elect. He gave them the torah (the word means “instruction” and “guidance” but it carries with it the notion of authoritative instruction--it wasn’t a book of “suggestions” (see Exodus 19-23). He initiated a sacrificial system, priesthood and tabernacle and brought the people under the blood of the covenant. In the terms of the covenant he promised to be their God and provide for them and Israel promised glad-hearted allegiance to him alone (see Exodus 24 and then chapters 25--31 and 35--40 on the building of the tabernacle and see Leviticus on the priesthood and sacrifices).
Sandwiched in between those two sections in Exodus there is the building of the golden calf and Israel treacherous response to God. Immediately the law is given (like Adam and Eve) Israel breaks it and turns from the God who gave them life and freedom (see chapter 32). Moses intercedes and God renews the covenant (see chapters 33-34). This covenant, like everything else God does with Israel, is to be used to fulfill God’s redeeming purpose for humanity as a whole. Israel was not top think of her self as an end in herself--she was not God’s “pet”.
From Sinai to the River Jordan
From Sinai they head to Canaan but Israel distrusts God and will not enter Canaan at his bidding. They had seen what he did to Egypt but they didn’t trust him to do the same to the Canaanites who had become so corrupt that God would move them out of Canaan. Because of their distrust God made them wander in the wilderness for nearly forty years where he proved that he could sustain them (see Numbers 13 & 14 and Deuteronomy 8:1-10). The God who could sustain them in the wilderness that long could easily have taken them on into Canaan but faithless Israel got in the way and was cursed for it. God purposed to bless the whole world and whoever worked to thwart that purpose made him or herself an enemy of God and the peoples of the world.
When the rebellious generation died off in the wilderness God brought Israel to the River Jordan which was the eastern border of the land of Canaan. The nations on the east of Jordan opposed Israel and in doing this they opposed God’s plan to use Israel to bless the world so God removed them from the land and gave it to Israel (see Deuteronomy 1--3). When they had taken the land east of the Jordan God sent Moses up mount Pisgah to see the promised land across Jordan before he died (see Numbers 20:2-13 and Deuteronomy 3:23-29). Before Moses died Joshua was appointed as his successor (Numbers 27:15-23, Deuteronomy 34:9 and Joshua 1:1-9).
Joshua and the Promised land
God’s promise to Abraham that he would father a great nation had been fulfilled (see Deuteronomy 1:8-10, which echoes Genesis 15:5). The land he had promised him (see Genesis 15:12-21) would be gained under Joshua (see Joshua 21:43-45 and 23:14-16). Throughout this history we’re told that it is God that gives them success. Canaan is constantly called the “promised” land and over and over again we hear God saying, “I will give you this land” or “I will bring you into this land.” Everyone must know that they cannot succeed independent of God (remember the tower of Babel and our wanting to be gods in the Garden of Eden).
As Moses brought Israel across water on dry ground at the Red Sea so Joshua brings Israel across the Jordan on dry ground (see Joshua 4). Finally, they are in the Promised Land, surrounded by fierce enemies and God commands that all the men be circused (Joshua 5). In this condition the nation is vulnerable but God preserved them. They move against fortified Jericho but God won’t let them take it in battle because he wants them to further learn that anything they gain they get it because God gives it to them (Joshua 6). The book closes with Israel in the land which is divided among the tribes and Joshua calls them to a covenant-renewal assembly in chapter 24. At the close of the book of Joshua the nation of Israel committed itself to glad-hearted allegiance to Yahweh, the one true God.
(You might be interested in going to materials on the book of Exodus in this site.)

Bible Reading, Jan. 26

Jan. 26
Genesis 26

Gen 26:1 There was a famine in the land, besides the first famine that was in the days of Abraham. Isaac went to Abimelech king of the Philistines, to Gerar.
Gen 26:2 Yahweh appeared to him, and said, "Don't go down into Egypt. Live in the land I will tell you about.
Gen 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
Gen 26:4 I will multiply your seed as the stars of the sky, and will give to your seed all these lands. In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed,
Gen 26:5 because Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my requirements, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws."
Gen 26:6 Isaac lived in Gerar.
Gen 26:7 The men of the place asked him about his wife. He said, "She is my sister," for he was afraid to say, "My wife," lest, he thought, "the men of the place might kill me for Rebekah, because she is beautiful to look at."
Gen 26:8 It happened, when he had been there a long time, that Abimelech king of the Philistines looked out at a window, and saw, and, behold, Isaac was caressing Rebekah, his wife.
Gen 26:9 Abimelech called Isaac, and said, "Behold, surely she is your wife. Why did you say, 'She is my sister?' " Isaac said to him, "Because I said, 'Lest I die because of her.' "
Gen 26:10 Abimelech said, "What is this you have done to us? One of the people might easily have lain with your wife, and you would have brought guilt on us!"
Gen 26:11 Abimelech commanded all the people, saying, "He who touches this man or his wife will surely be put to death."
Gen 26:12 Isaac sowed in that land, and reaped in the same year one hundred times what he planted. Yahweh blessed him.
Gen 26:13 The man grew great, and grew more and more until he became very great.
Gen 26:14 He had possessions of flocks, possessions of herds, and a great household. The Philistines envied him.
Gen 26:15 Now all the wells which his father's servants had dug in the days of Abraham his father, the Philistines had stopped, and filled with earth.
Gen 26:16 Abimelech said to Isaac, "Go from us, for you are much mightier than we."
Gen 26:17 Isaac departed from there, encamped in the valley of Gerar, and lived there.
Gen 26:18 Isaac dug again the wells of water, which they had dug in the days of Abraham his father. For the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham. He called their names after the names by which his father had called them.
Gen 26:19 Isaac's servants dug in the valley, and found there a well of springing water.
Gen 26:20 The herdsmen of Gerar argued with Isaac's herdsmen, saying, "The water is ours." He called the name of the well Esek, because they contended with him.
Gen 26:21 They dug another well, and they argued over that, also. He called its name Sitnah.
Gen 26:22 He left that place, and dug another well. They didn't argue over that one. He called it Rehoboth. He said, "For now Yahweh has made room for us, and we will be fruitful in the land."
Gen 26:23 He went up from there to Beersheba.
Gen 26:24 Yahweh appeared to him the same night, and said, "I am the God of Abraham your father. Don't be afraid, for I am with you, and will bless you, and multiply your seed for my servant Abraham's sake."
Gen 26:25 He built an altar there, and called on the name of Yahweh, and pitched his tent there. There Isaac's servants dug a well.
Gen 26:26 Then Abimelech went to him from Gerar, and Ahuzzath his friend, and Phicol the captain of his army.
Gen 26:27 Isaac said to them, "Why have you come to me, since you hate me, and have sent me away from you?"
Gen 26:28 They said, "We saw plainly that Yahweh was with you. We said, 'Let there now be an oath between us, even between us and you, and let us make a covenant with you,
Gen 26:29 that you will do us no harm, as we have not touched you, and as we have done to you nothing but good, and have sent you away in peace.' You are now the blessed of Yahweh."
Gen 26:30 He made them a feast, and they ate and drank.
Gen 26:31 They rose up some time in the morning, and swore one to another. Isaac sent them away, and they departed from him in peace.
Gen 26:32 It happened the same day, that Isaac's servants came, and told him concerning the well which they had dug, and said to him, "We have found water."
Gen 26:33 He called it Shibah. Therefore the name of the city is Beersheba to this day.
Gen 26:34 When Esau was forty years old, he took as wife Judith, the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Basemath, the daughter of Elon the Hittite.
Gen 26:35 They grieved Isaac's and Rebekah's spirits.

Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16) by Mark Copeland

                    "STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS"

                 Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16)


1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we have already considered...
   a. Obadiah, who prophesied of the judgment to befall Edom
   b. Joel, who proclaimed a locust plague as a harbinger of "the day
      of the Lord"
   c. Jonah, God's messenger to the Assyrian city of Nineveh

2. Our next prophet is Amos...
   a. A shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit called by God to 
      prophesy - Am 7:14-15
   b. Who proclaimed God's message concerning eight nations, with an 
      emphasis on the northern kingdom of Israel

3. His book is divided into three sections...
   a. A series of "oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight 
      nations (ch. 1-2)
   b. A series of "sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of Israel
      (ch. 3-6)
   c. A series of "visions" regarding the sin and judgment of Israel 
      (ch. 7-9)

[This lesson will examine the first section, with a look at the
"oracles" Amos proclaimed against eight nations.  We begin with a
reading of Am 1:1-2, which serves as an...]


   A. THE MAN...
      1. NAME - Amos means "burden-bearer"
      2. HOME - The village of Tekoa
         a. 12 miles south of Jerusalem, 18 miles west of the Dead Sea
         b. Near the wilderness of Judea, a very rugged area
         -- So while he was Judah, he primarily prophesied against 
            Israel in the north
      3. OCCUPATION - "a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit."
         (Am 7:14)
         a. An outdoorsman, accustomed to the wilds of nature, and of
            hard, honest toil
         b. It would be easy for him to have little sympathy for the 
            lazy and materialistic conduct of his northern kinsman
      4. CHARACTER
         a. Not known for his sympathy or warmth, but for his sense of
            justice and right
         b. "Not a sob is to be found in his book for the nation of
            wicked apostates, and there is only a sigh for the poor"
         c. He is reminiscent of John the Baptist

   B. THE DATE...
      1. He prophesied in the days of:
         a. Uzziah, king of Judah
         b. Jeroboam II of Israel
      2. Two years before an earthquake
      3. While the actual date is unknown, 755 B.C. is often suggested

      1. His audience is primarily the northern kingdom of Israel
      2. Conditions which characterized them at this time:
         a. Wealthy, enjoying great luxury
         b. Morally, religiously, and politically corrupt

      1. In Am 1:2, we see a vivid picture of the Lord as a lion
         whose roar to the north reaches all the way to Mt. Carmel
      2. This describes what God is doing through Amos, proclaiming a
         fiery message of condemnation and judgment against Israel and
         the surrounding nations
      3. "The people of Israel were now at the summit of worldly
         prosperity, but were rapidly filling up the measure of their
         sins. The mission of Amos was, therefore, rather to threaten
         than to console.  He rebukes, among other things, the
         corruption of their manners, which kept pace with their
         prosperity; he charges the great men with partiality as
         judges, and violence towards the poor; and he foretells, as a
         punishment from God, the captivity of the ten tribes in a
         foreign country..." - The Bible Handbook, Angus and Green

[With verse 2 as a good preview of the nature of Amos' prophecy, let's
now survey the first main section of the book of Amos...]


   A. DAMASCUS - Am 1:3-5
      1. SIN - cruelty toward the inhabitants of Gilead (the tribes of
         Gad and Reuben)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction and captivity
         a. Hazael was the murderer of Ben-Hadad I, and usurper of his
            throne - 2Ki 8:7-15
         b. Ben-Hadad II was the son of Hazel - cf. 2Ki 13:3,22-25
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians - cf. 2Ki 16:1-9

   B. GAZA (PHILISTIA) - Am 1:6-8
      1. SIN - engaging in slave traffic
      2. JUDGMENT - total devastation
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians

   C. TYRE - Am 1:9-10
      1. SIN - slave traffic; did not remember the covenant of 
         "brotherhood" (between Solomon and Hiram? - cf. 1Ki 5:12)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction
      3. FULFILLMENT - started by Nebuchadnezzar; finished by Alexander
         the Great

   D. EDOM - Am 1:11-12
      1. SIN - cruelty to brethren - cf. Ob 1:10-12
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction upon Teman (capital) and Bozrah
         (another chief city)
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Nabateans, ca 400 B.C.

   E. AMMON - Am 1:13-15
      1. SIN - murder of pregnant women in Gilead (the tribes of Gad 
         and Reuben)
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction of Rabbah (capital) and captivity
      3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon

   F. MOAB - Am 2:1-3
      1. SIN - burned the king of Edom's bones to lime
      2. JUDGMENT - destruction of the chief city of Kerioth
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Babylonians

   G. JUDAH - Am 2:4-5
      1. SIN - apostasy from the Law
      2. JUDGMENT - Jerusalem (the capital) to be destroyed
      3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, 586 B.C.

   H. ISRAEL - Am 2:6-16
      1. SIN - several sins are listed...
         a. Social injustice (slave trade and abuse of the poor)
         b. Immorality (prostitution)
         c. Idolatry (worshipping other gods)
         d. Rebellion against God, who...
            a. Cast out the Amorites before them
            b. Delivered them from the land of Egypt
            c. Gave them prophets and Nazarites, whom they corrupted
         -- The effect of which weighed God down like a cart full of 
            sheaves - Am 2:13
      2. JUDGMENT - their inability to flee when destruction comes upon
      3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians in 722-721 B.C. - 2Ki 17:5-23

[It is apparent that the focus in this section is primarily upon the 
northern kingdom of Israel, even though Judah did not escape 
condemnation.  What lessons might we glean from these first two 


      1. He was not just concerned with His covenant people of Israel
      2. As we saw with Obadiah and Jonah, God judged the surrounding
         nations as well
      3  As Farrar says of Amos:  "His whole message centers in the 
         common prophetic conviction that God is the sole and righteous
         Governor of the world, judging the people righteously, and 
         when they rebel, dashing them to pieces like a potter's 
      2. The same authority is given to Christ today! - cf. Mt 28:18;
         Re 1:5; 2:26-27

      1. God condemned:
         a. The heathens for their cruelty
         b. Judah and Israel for their apostasy from the Law
      2. But their judgments were basically the same!

      1. The heathen were judged for their violation of basic 
         principles of righteousness
      2. The people of God were judged by their faithfulness to God's 
         revealed Word!
      -- Akin to what we find Paul writing in Ro 2:12-15


1. In our next lesson we will continue our study of Amos...
   a. Looking at chapters 3-6, which concentrate on the sins and 
      judgment of Israel
   b. Where more lessons can be gleaned for us to apply today

2. Having read the judgments God pronounced upon the eight nations...
   a. We are reminded that God is a righteous GOD
   b. One who holds men and nations accountable for their actions

Are we ready for that great Day of Judgment, in which we will one day 
be held accountable for our actions?  As Paul wrote:

   "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that
   each one may receive the things done in the body, according to
   what he has done, whether good or bad.  Knowing, therefore, the
   terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2Co 5:10-11a)

Are you willing to let the Word of God persuade you to do what is 

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011