I attend Community Bible Study. It’s the primary way that I study the Bible. They also have a large children’s ministry, so I know the babies are well taken care of in their nurseries. Even better, CBS is on one of Firecracker’s days home from school, so he enjoys learning and playing with the other kids his age there.
Each Spring our leaders choose a CBS study for us to learn through. Last year we studied the book of Acts. This year, we’re studying the books of Amos and Isaiah. I have to admit that if I were not a part of this group, I would not be studying Amos or Isaiah this year. In fact, I’ve always chosen to avoid those old testament prophets like the plague. In fact: serious confession here. I avoid all Israeli history between Solomon and Jesus. I’ve just always found it too confusing to keep track of.
This week was our last week studying Amos before we move to a lengthy study of Isaiah. I confess that there is some beautiful imagery in Amos. I have enjoyed the poetic rhythms. I have slugged through some passages that I have no hope of understanding without the help of the class.
Most importantly, I have come away from Amos with four central ideas to apply to my own life.
1. Sometimes the things that I view as a calamity or even a tragedy are really opportunities to turn from my sins and to return to the Lord and to a deeper relationship with him.
2. When God decides to judge, even when one thinks they are fleeing to escape that judgement, they are actually heading in the direction of their judgement/punishment.
3. God is not interested in our pious worship in church if we live for our pleasure the rest of the time. In fact, a great many of the sins that Israel and her neighbors were guilty of were involved with the pursuit of the good life and riches at the expense of their fellow man.
4. Those who are chosen by God are held to a higher standard than those who are not. He even tells Israel that he will discipline them because they are his chosen people.
So, those are the the applications that I’ve gotten from Amos in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to seeing what Isaiah teaches me this year.