Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Amos-Worship with an Empty Heart

By Mary Vee
Amos 5-9

From the Journals of Amos




Photo Courtesy
As a shepherd, I spend a lot of time with my sheep. I hear the sounds of nature around me. I see the stars and sun in the sky. My main job, though is to care for my sheep.

Last time I wrote to you about the message God had given me to tell His people. There is more to tell.

The Lord, God of Israel is angered with the people for coming to the temple, saying they are worshipping God by offering their sacrifices and then return home without having really listened or worshipped with their heart. 

Since God looks at the heart and not what man does, He knows the people only come to impress each other, to say they have gone to the temple, to brag about what they have given. In their heart they have no repentance, no sorrow for their sins. They sing songs to make noise and not to declare their love for Him.

Once the people have left the temple they go and sacrifice to other gods as well. Don't they realize God sees them?

They live in prosperity, having much to eat and drink, yet take no time to worship Him, the one who has given them all that they have. They lay around and do no work, expecting their prosperity to continue.

The Sovereign Lord said He is preparing swarms of locust to eat the crops. I asked Him to forgive Israel. How can we survive?

The Sovereign Lord said He is calling for judgement by fire. I asked Him to forgive Israel. How can we survive?

The Sovereign Lord showed me a plumb line and a basket of fruit. He said, I will not spare the people any longer. The foreign gods will be destroyed and the songs in the temple will be silenced.

The Israelites don't even care. The sellers cheat their customers, sell the needy as slaves, look only for a profit. The Sovereign Lord said He will send a famine in the land--not a famine of food, but a one of hearing any words from the Lord.

In that day, the Sovereign Lord says He will restore Israel. He will repair the broken places, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess what is left and all the nations that bear His name.

The Sovereign Lord says He will bring back His exiled people, Israel. They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards, they will make gardens and eat their fruit. 

The Sovereign Lord says He will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the place He has given them.

This ends the message God gave me to tell the people.

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1. What did the people of Israel do wrong?
2. Who did the people of Israel think of mostly?
3. In the end, God says what He really wants to do for Israel. What is it?

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