In Amos, we looked at a map of the nations surrounding Judah and Israel–the nations that Amos pronounced woes upon.
“For three transgressions of Damascus and for four, I will not revoke punishment because…”
We imagined Israel and Judah smirking as one after another of their neighbors came under God’s microscope. “Yeah, that’s right! You sic ’em, God.” We imagined them saying. “Kill all our enemies. Destroy them all.”
Then God began in on Judah. Judah, no doubt, was mortified, but we imagined Israel’s self-righteousness at being the only one God hadn’t pronounced judgment on.
But Israel was mistaken. God’s list of Israel’s sins goes on and on. Furthermore, God describes all He’s done to Israel to make them come back–but the repeated refrain announces “Yet you did not return to Me.”
God thundered out–and I thundered through the classroom–
THEREFORE, PREPARE TO MEET YOUR GOD!
We saw how God pronounced woes on those who seek the day of Lord. We learned that the people of Israel wanted God to come and destroy their enemies. That’s what they thought the “Day of the Lord” was all about.
What they didn’t realize was that the “Day of the Lord” isn’t when God destroys THEIR enemies, but when God destroys HIS enemies.
We discussed who God’s enemies are and came up with a long list–a list that included every person in our classroom.
We ended with a sober note, the reality that as enemies of God we are destined for destruction in the day of the Lord.
Which paved the way for the next week’s class, where we learned about God’s mercy through Jonah and Micah.
We asked four questions each of three different groups of people. First we looked at Jonah and asked 1) What did Jonah do? He disobeyed God 2) What does Jonah deserve? He deserves to drown in the ocean 3) What does Jonah get? Swallowed by a big fish and spit up on dry land, 4) Why doesn’t Jonah get what he deserves? Because God is merciful.
We asked the same questions regarding Nineveh–a wicked city that deserved to be destroyed but which was spared because God was merciful.
We moved to Micah and asked the same questions regarding Israel. Israel had broken God’s covenant and deserved death. But, because God was merciful, He sent them into exile and gave them the promise of a Messiah.
We closed with Romans 6:23, comparing what we deserve for our sins (death) with what God has offered us freely instead (eternal life in Christ Jesus).
To be continued…