Rather than create a separate sheet each week of the Family Talk discussion questions to go along with each Sunday morning sermon, I’m going to start including them in the Sunday e-News and here on my site. Following are today’s five discussion questions to go with my sermon on Amos 7:1-15 (Straight Up With God):
1. Twice Amos intercedes on behalf of Israel (7:1-6) and, as a result, twice “the Lord relented” (vs.3,6) from bring judgment on Israel. What other Bible characters can you recall interceded with God on behalf of Israel on other occasions? Do you actively, consistently intercede for others in prayer?
2. Twice God “relented” in this text (7:3,6). God choosing to “repent” or “relent” is something mentioned a number of times in the Bible. So how is it that an unchanging God (Heb. 13:6) can change his mind and relent from doing something? Is this a contradiction? Explain your answer.
3. In Amos’ intercession (7:2,5), Amos speaks of Israel (“Jacob”) as being “so small.” How does this statement compare (or contrast) with Israel’s assessment of itself as recorded elsewhere in the book of Amos? We commonly speak of people sometimes needing “an attitude adjustment.” In what ways do you think God’s people today sometimes need “a perspective adjustment?” How about yourself? (Rom. 12:3)
4. The conflict between Amaziah the priest and Amos the prophet (7:10-15) graphically illustrates how difficult it is to mix politics (7:13b) and religion (7:15). Or, shall we say, it at least illustrates the difficulty of hearing God’s will clearly and responding to it completely when you are bedfellows with those who occupy positions of status and power. Who honestly has your greatest allegiance – our nation or our Lord? What evidence would you offer to support your conclusion?
5. Amos has a hard row to how; the message gives him to deliver to his people is anything but “positive;” Amos is not a positive preacher. How hard it is indeed to hear the word of the Lord when it is not an affirming or encouraging word! Amos had no real word of encouragement for God’s people in this portion of his ministry, and so, the wrath of Amaziah came his way (7:10-15). So how open are you to receiving the “negative” words of the Lord? Do you really have an ear only for the affirming and positive words of Scripture or is your quest to hear all that God has to say to you? Specifically how do you discipline yourself to have ears for all the word of the Lord and not be like Amaziah, a seeker only for words that stroke you instead of challenge you?