disgusted man June 27 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today’s Bible reading (NIV) or alternate versions (use your browser arrow to return): Amos 7-9, Hosea 1-3 (for a chronology of Hosea, go to more...)

When God has had Enough!

Most parents, teachers, leaders, businessmen, and some husbands or wives will come to a place in their lives when they have had enough! They have had enough rebellion, back talking, disrespect, and unacceptable behavior. It is then they know they must take action. Patience has its limits—now it is time to punish or to exercise some tough love.

Punishment can take many forms. Giving a child a time out, sending her to face the corner of a wall, letting him face the consequences of misbehavior, or spanking are all forms of parental discipline. Scolding, demoting, or firing an employee can be a form of discipline in business. The temporary separation of one spouse from another may be a form of tough love for a difficult wife or husband. Can breaches between children and parents or teachers be restored? Can breaches between business leaders and their employees be repaired? Can wounds between a husband and his wife be healed? Yes, they can, but discipline must often come first. After sufficient punitive measures, mercy and grace need to be extended to the offender so he or she might be restored.

Similar to some of our relationships, there is a rupture in the relationship between God and Israel in today's Bible reading. Israel is a wicked nation, and the LORD has had just about enough of it. He showed Israel mercy by sending His prophets, Elijah and Elisha, to warn her. He rescued the Israelites in battle to show them He is God. He won battles over the false gods of Baal and Ashteroth. He punished Israel with battle losses, drought and famine, but nothing gets her attention. In the book of Amos (chapters 1-6) God tells Israel that if she doesn't do something, she will soon be destroyed—disaster is coming.

Now in Amos 7 the Sovereign LORD (more…) shows the prophet in a vision what He is going to do with Israel. First, He proposes to destroy the land of Israel with a locust invasion, but Amos pleads for mercy, saying, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” (7:2, NIV). God relents. Then, God proposes to destroy Israel with a consuming fire. Again, Amos pleads for mercy, and God relents. Finally, God shows Amos a plumb bob (a small pointed device hung from a string so that all vertical surfaces of a building will be plumb, meaning straight and true). When Israel’s house (kingdom) is measured, its walls are all out of plumb; that is, it is an unrighteous nation. Is our life all out of plumb? Jesus Christ can make it right (more...).

As was stated in our last lesson, Israel had experienced a long time of prosperity and peace with King Jeroboam II. She was rich, but she turned mean and wicked. She was idolatrous. She cheated her customers in the market place and oppressed the poor. She was sexually perverse (Amos 2:6-8). She was complacent about God and lived for her own comfort (Amos 3:12-15; 6:1-7). For this, God said He would not withhold judgment.

The prophecy of Amos was given two years before a great earthquake shook and destroyed much of the Middle East (Amos 1:1; also Zechariah 14:5). Archeological evidence suggests this earthquake happened about 760 B.C.* Assyria will later attack and conquer nations in this area, burn their cities with fire, pillage and destroy them, and take many into exile. In Israel the sword of Assyria will kill King Jeroboam II as it decimates the population and takes his subjects into captivity. Israel will be taken out of her inherited land, which the LORD gave her, and be deported to Assyria. God has had just about enough of Israel’s wickedness!

What about us? God has done everything for our good. Have we tried the patience of God with our wickedness, or do we live for Him? If Israel and the other nations would not escape, will we? Most of us are not God’s chosen people, the Jews, but if we have a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ, we also are a chosen nation as the Apostle Peter declares.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy,” (1Peter 2:9-10, NIV).

God is not only the Sovereign LORD of justice and righteousness; He is also a God of mercy and compassion. Amos ends, like most of the prophets, with an encouraging message of hope. Some day Israel will return to the land. She will prosper. The LORD will be her God. Never again will she be uprooted. That promise made in Amos' day has yet to be completely fulfilled. The Israelites look forward to it. We non-Jewish believers also have the hope of a future day in heaven, and it will not be taken away (John 14:1-3). Let us live for Jesus today and be ready for His return to take us home with Him.

The book of Hosea is written during the same time period as Amos, and Hosea is also a prophet to the northern kingdom of Israel. Because Israel is not listening to verbal proclamations, sometimes God uses prophets to make visual illustrations of His message.

God instructs Hosea to do a very strange thing. Hosea is instructed to marry a prostitute to illustrate how Israel has prostituted itself with idolatry and unholy alliances with other wicked nations. Imagine the heartbreak, frustration and anger of Hosea as time after time his wife goes after her lovers and has children by them. God feels the same way about unfaithful Israel. The LORD also feels heartbreak, frustration and anger when we go astray. Finally, as Hosea sends his wife away to live her sinful lifestyle, so God gives Israel up to her sins. Her sins lead to her destruction. Our sins will also lead to our destruction if we persist in them and do not respond to the discipline of God.

Praise the LORD—He does not leave us in our sins because He is merciful. Hosea brings his wife back and loves her again. Israel will also be brought back to the land and restored. God is also willing to bring us back, even if we have destroyed our lives. Let us not wander to paths of destruction. Let us respond to the discipline of the LORD and never the leave the God who loves us so dearly (more...).

Lessons to Live By

  • The LORD sees all we do. He is a God of judgment but also a God of mercy and compassion.
  • If we continue in our wickedness, God must judge, but if we repent He will show mercy. We can have a special relationship with God through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23; John 3:16; more... ).
  • God is willing to forgive and restore us (1John 1:9 ) .
  • Let us live for Jesus today and be ready for His return.
  • As the prophecies of God begin with judgment and end with hope, we should be gracious to offer hope if offenders choose to change.

Focus Verse

Joel 2:13 (NIV) “Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.”

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A Look Ahead: In our Next Lesson we will learn more about the Judgment and Mercy of God in the books of Hosea and Jonah. Join us!

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