With so much going on in the world, wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to tune it out, to focus on the nice blessings God has given us and never to worry about what is happening around the corner? Not accordin to Amos. For him, having good worship and “doing church” while staying silent in the midst of oppression is tantamount to taking the side of the oppressor. Amos challenges us with the question: Is there such a thing as faith in God that doesn’t include justice for the least?
What is your favorite “tuning out” activity? (e.g. music, a good book, television, etc.)
- Before we read, does anyone have any background information on the book of Amos? Anything from the sermon?
Leader’s Note: Look to the NIV Introduction to Amos (in Resources) to find a helpful short overview.
Read Amos 5:1-17.
- What is striking to you in this passage? Why?
- What is God calling Israel to repent from (be specific)?
- What are the possible consequences for Israel if they do not repent?
- How do you think God is being portrayed in this section? What sort of language is being used? Why does that matter?
Leader’s Note: God is both judge and creator in this passage. The truth of his verdict is rooted in his being the ultimate arbitor of the world. He created the Earth and can use it to inact his justice on those who violate his way.
- How do justice and love relate in this passage?
- If our own culture was in the place of Israel, what injustices would God be calling us to? What would repentance look like?
Read Amost 5:18-27.
- What is Amos getting at with his description of punishment on the “day of the Lord?”
- Verse 21-24 are proabbyl the best known in the book. Why do you think so many people have found this passage moving and challenging?
- Have you seen examples of religious worship get in the way of doing justice? What happened? What is the point of worship if it can be corrupted so easily?
- Is simply doing justice enough as an expression of faith, or is worship also important?
- Do you typically view your conern for justice as a part of your faith? How do you express it?
Diving Deeper: The Day of the LORD
- What is challenging about this prophetic concept? What is troubling? What is comforting?
- Why is judgment an important part of the Christian tradition?
- Christ’s advent is often understood as being part of the “Day of the Lord.” How does that change how you understand the concept?