Digging in Deeper: Amos 4:4-5

“Come to Bethel and rebel; rebel even more at Gilgal! Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tenths every three days. Offer leavened bread as a thanksgiving sacrifice, and loudly proclaim your freewill offerings, for that is what you Israelites love to do! This is the declaration of the Lord God.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

On occasion I’ve heard a popular Christian speaker joke that he has the spiritual gift of sarcasm. Formally defined, sarcasm is “the use of irony to mock or express contempt.” Irony, of course, is expressing one thing by saying it’s opposite as a means of drawing attention to it. The speaker’s point is that he’s got a knack for poking fun at things that don’t fit with his worldview framework. Sarcasm can be funny, but it can also be pretty mean-spirited. Either way, it can be an effective way of expressing a point in a certain context in fairly unmistakable terms. One of the places we wouldn’t normally expect sarcasm, but in which we nonetheless find it remarkably often, is the Scriptures. Here is a perfect example. Let’s talk this morning about why God is being sarcastic and what we should do with it.

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Digging in Deeper: Amos 3:11-12

“Therefore, the Lord God says: An enemy will surround the land; he will destroy your strongholds and plunder your citadels. The Lord says: As the shepherd snatches two legs or a piece of an ear from the lion’s mouth, so the Israelites who live in Samaria will be rescued with only the corner of a bed or the cushion of a couch.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

We long for security. So much of what we do is prefaced on the idea that it is going to make tomorrow better than today. Or at least, it is going to make tomorrow more likely to come than not. We save money, we invest, we diet, we build big houses, we fill our pantries, we recycle, and so on and so forth. Israel longed for security too, and they thought they had it. Unfortunately, they had “found” it in the wrong things and God had to help them see that. Let’s take a look at this and explore what lessons there might be for us in it.

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Morning Musing: Deuteronomy 24:17-18

“Do not deny justice to a resident alien or fatherless child, and do not take a widow’s garment as security. Remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you from there. Therefore I am commanding you to do this.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Experience is a teacher. Exactly what kind of teacher it is depends. Depends on what? Well, to a very great extent, it depends on us. It depends on how we respond to it and the lessons we learn from it. The people of Israel had been through a school of experience in Egypt and God wanted to be sure they learned some particular lessons from it in terms of how they treated others. We may not be Israel, but I think there is something here for us too if we’ll pay attention. Let’s talk about it.

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Morning Musing: Amos 3:5-6

“Does a bird land in a trap on the ground if there is no bait for it? Does a trap spring from the ground when it has caught nothing? If a ram’s horn is blown in a city, aren’t people afraid? If a disaster occurs in a city, hasn’t the Lord done it?” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Occasionally, I’ll tell one of my kids to stop doing something, and they’ll retort back that they weren’t doing whatever it is. My standard response to this is that if they hadn’t been doing it, then I wouldn’t have said anything to them about it. Because I did, they obviously were. Amos was prophesying God’s judgment against the people of Israel. In response, some of them may have been tempted to question what they had done that was worthy of judgment. Let’s talk about Amos’ response and what it might have to do with us.

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Morning Musing: Amos 3:1-2

“Listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you, Israelites, against the entire clan that I brought from the land of Egypt: I have known only you out of all the clans of the earth; therefore, I will punish you for all your iniquities.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, you probably have some rules for your kids. Those rules may be very formalized and strict, or they may be more relaxed and informal. Whatever form they happen to take, though, you have rules. When those rules are violated, there will be some kind of consequences, again, whether formal or informal. Still, though, the bonds of the family hold even when the rules are broken. But what happens if someone in the family starts to assume on those family bonds while living however they please? Let’s consider that for just a minute this morning as we move forward with the prophet Amos.

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