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disgusted woman June 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading: Amos 7-9, Hosea 1-3 (for a chronology of Hosea, go to more...)

When God has had Enough!

Most parents, teachers, leaders, businessmen, and sometimes even husbands or wives will come to a place in their lives when they have had enough! They have had enough rebellion, back talking, disrespect, and unacceptable behavior. It is then that they must take action. Their love and patience has its limits; now it is time to punish or to exercise some tough love. Punishment can take many forms. Giving a child a time out, sending her to face the corner of a wall, or spanking are all forms of parental discipline. Demotion or firing an employee can be a form of discipline in business. The temporary separation of one spouse from another may be a form of tough love for a difficult wife or husband. Can breaches between children and parents or teachers be restored? Can breaches between business leaders and their employees be repaired? Can breaches between a husband and his wife be restored? Yes, they can, but discipline must often come first. After sufficient discipline, mercy and grace need to be extended to the offender so that he or she might be restored. As it is in our relationships, so it was with God in his relationship with Israel.

In 760 B.C. Israel was a wicked nation. In the book of Amos, it is recorded that God finally had just about enough of it. He had shown Israel mercy by giving her Elijah and Elisha his prophets to warn her. He rescued the Israelites in battle to show them that He is God. He won battles over the false gods of Baal and Ashteroth. He punished Israel with battle losses, drought and famine, but nothing would get her attention. Now in Amos 7 the Sovereign LORD (more…) showed the prophet in a vision what he was going to do with Israel. First, he proposed destroying the land of Israel with a locust invasion, but Amos pleaded for mercy, saying, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” (7:2, NIV). God relented. Then, God proposed to destroy Israel with a consuming fire. Again, Amos pleaded for mercy, and God relented. Finally, God showed Amos a plumb bob (a small pointed device hung from a string so that all vertical surfaces of a building will be plumb, meaning straight and true). When Israel’s house (kingdom) was measured, its walls were all out of plumb; that is, it was an unrighteous nation. Is our life all out of plumb? Jesus Christ can make it right (more...).

As was stated in our last lesson, Israel had experienced a long time of prosperity and peace with King Jeroboam II. She was rich, but she turned mean and wicked. She was idolatrous. She cheated her customers in the market place and oppressed the poor. She was sexually perverse (Amos 2:6-8). She was complacent about God and lived for her own comfort (Amos 3:12-15; 6:1-7). For this, God said he would not withhold judgment.

According to the prophecy of Amos, a great earthquake shook and destroyed much of the Middle East (Amos 1:1; also Zechariah 14:5). Archeological evidence suggests this earthquake happened about 760 B.C. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary of the Old Testament, by Walvoord and Zuck, © 1985, p.1426). Assyria would later attack and conquer nations in this area, burn their cities with fire, pillage and destroy them, and take many into exile. In Israel the sword of Assyria would kill King Jeroboam as it decimated the population and took his subjects into captivity. Israel would be taken out of her inherited land, which the LORD gave her, and be deported to Assyria. God had enough of Israel’s wickedness! What about us? God has done everything for our good. Have we tried the patience of God to the limit with our wickedness, or do we live for him? If Israel and the other nations did not escape, will we? Most of us are not God’s chosen people, the Jews, but if we have a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we also are a chosen nation as the Apostle Peter declares.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1Peter 2:9-10, NIV).

God is not only the Sovereign LORD of justice and righteousness; he is also a God of mercy and compassion. Amos ends, like most of the prophets, with an encouraging message of hope. Some day Israel will return to the land. She will prosper. The LORD will be her God. Never again will she be uprooted. That promise made in Amos' day has yet to be completely fulfilled. The Israelites look forward to it. We non-Jewish believers also have the hope of a future day in heaven, and it will not be taken away (John 14:1-3). Let us live for Jesus today and be ready for his return to take us home with him.

The book of Hosea was written during the same time period as Amos, and Hosea was also a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. Because Israel was not listening to verbal proclamations, God used prophets to also make visual illustrations of his message (parents and teachers can effectively implement this strategy). God instructed Hosea to do a very strange thing. Hosea was instructed to marry a prostitute to illustrate how Israel had prostituted themselves with idolatry and unholy alliances with other wicked nations. One can imagine the heartbreak, frustration and anger of Hosea as time after time his wife went after her lovers and had children by them. God felt the same way about unfaithful Israel. God also feels heartbreak, frustration and anger when we go astray. Finally, as Hosea sent his wife away to live her sinful lifestyle, so God gave Israel up to her sins. Her sins led to her destruction. Our sins will also lead to our destruction if we persist in them and do not respond to the discipline of God.

Praise the LORD; he does not leave us in our sins because he is merciful. Hosea brought his wife back and loved her again. Israel will also be brought back to the land and restored. God is also willing to bring us back, even if we have destroyed our lives. Let us not wander to paths of destruction. Let us respond to the discipline of the LORD and never the leave the God who loves us so dearly (more...).

Lessons to live by:

  • God sees all we do. He is a God of judgment but also a God of mercy and compassion.
  • If we continue in our wickedness, God must judge, but if we repent he will show mercy. We can have a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:23; John 3:16; more... )
  • God is willing to forgive and restore us.(1John 1:9 )
  • Let us live for Jesus today and be ready for his return.
  • As the prophecies of God begin with judgment and end with hope, those in authority are wise to offer hope if offenders choose to change.

Today’s Bible memory verse:

Joel 2:13 “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” (NIV)

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