Friday, March 16, 2012

Why Study Amos?

Dear Friends of "Dial Daily Bread,"
Have you ever read the entire Book of Amos all the way through?  In many ways, it's a sad book to read, but one that we must read if we are to understand what's happening in our world today.
In Peterson's "The Message" version of the Major and Minor Prophets, he correctly renders the reality of ancient Baal and idol worship as the worship of sex. It was gross paganism imported into the sacred culture of Israel, God's true people on earth. It became so pervasive that eventually the nation was swallowed up by pagan nations and ceased even to exist. Not even one of the many Israelite kings (of the Northern Kingdom) was right with God. The inspired record says over and over that each "led Israel into sin."
So why study Amos? Because (a) the love of God inspired him to leave his home in the Southern Kingdom and go up to Israel as a missionary to try to turn them back to the worship of the true God (but only a few of the people responded to his earnest appeals to repent). (b) The story of ancient Israel is uncannily similar to the professed religious culture in which we all live today. As you read Amos, you get the eerie feeling that he is God's messenger for our time.
Why, oh why, were God's true people, so unloving, so worldly, so apostate in the days of Amos? Why did they so often slide down into the alluring sexual immorality of the pagans? Through Amos God told Israel how in love He had afflicted them over and over, yet they "did not come back to Me." His discipline was virtually useless (4:8-11).
This painfully sad history was the direct fruitage of the Old Covenant pattern of thinking about God. It all began at Mt Sinai when the people themselves rejected God's New Covenant and embraced the "bondage" of the Old Covenant (Ex. 19:4-8; Gal. 4:24). Isn't it time that we learned the lesson?
--Robert J. Wieland
From the "Dial Daily Bread" Archive: October 9, 2001.
Copyright © 2012 by "Dial Daily Bread."

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