Scripture Text:(click to open in a new window)
1. As a child, what places were you told not to go? Why were they off limits? Did you secretly go there anyway?
2. When did you feel the most “alive” last week?
3. A lament is a poem (or song) of grief. What emotions and thoughts are associated with the various stages of grieving?
4. Why does Amos call Israel “Virgin” (verse 2)? What is he lamenting? What ideal and what people seem, from the rest of the passage, to have been the main victims of life in Israel?
5. The people would have come to Gilgal and Bethel for religious services. They would have been a happy crowd. How would they feel after Amos’ message: angry? appreciative? apathetic?
6. What kind of ratings would you give Amos for tact? For courage? For integrity?
7. To “seek the Lord” (verses 4 and 6) usually means to go to a quiet, holy place to meet with God. What does it mean here to “seek”?
- casually look for
- intently look for
- desperately look for
- run after
8. Why were people urged not to seek where they worshiped (verse 5)?
9. How could the people “turn justice into bitterness and cast righteousness to the ground” (verse 7)? What does this have to do with their temple activity? With their daily lifestyle?
10. How is their “turning” (verse 7) different than God’s “turning” (verse 8)? What is the point of this contrast?
11. How does this list of wrongdoing (verses 11 and 12) compare with the list in Amos 2:6 – 16? What is the effect on the poor financially? Socially? Legally? Spiritually? Emotionally?
12. Having built mansions and planted vineyards, how would the people feel after being told they would never drink the wine or live in the mansions?
- quietly penitent
13. What rays of hope do you sense in this lament?
14. After all the warnings, why does the Lord say, “There will be wailing . . . (verses 16 and 17)? Does this imply a second chance to seek good? Or is their fate sealed?
15. Recall a time you wanted, or even prayed, for someone you loved to make a positive change in their life, and they didn’t. What happened? How did you feel?
16. The Lord says, “Seek me and live” (verse 4). How will you do that this week? What spiritual disciplines help you feel more alive in the Lord?
17. Amos preaches both bad news and good news to Israel. Does his message to you bring to mind more things to lament, or more rays of hope?
18. To what extent does money equal power in the world today? As much as in Amos’ day, or more?