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Judgment on Judah and Israel

(Amos 2:4-11)

Lesson 5 -- third quarter 2001
July 1, 2001

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 2001, Christian Light Publications

Judgment on this church?

Few Christians consider their home congregation ripe for God's judgment. Maybe that's fine. Perhaps no congregations have judgment headed their way. Then again, it just may be that God does have reason to judge us as He had to judge Judah. In studying about Judah, let's not downplay the possibility that their experience has a lesson and a warning for us. To that end, please think seriously about the following reasons why God might judge your home congregation.

Choosing legalism instead of loving God's Law. Many people despise God's law by holding it in total disregard. They do not respect it, they do not read it, they do not want anything to do with it. They know they despise His law and they don't care. Others despise God's law by having an improper view of it. They see it as a rule book that must be enforced in their lives and the lives of others. Their primary concern is for the specifics of the law, not its Spirit. In their legalistic approach to the Word, they end up trivializing it by not loving it. How do you and your congregation view and relate to the Word of God?

Overlooking obedience. I believe that many, many Christians sincerely love the Word of the Lord. They treasure it. They live by it as best they know. But they are satisfied with that level of obedience. I am that way far too often. None of us dare become complacent about our knowledge of and obedience to God's will as He has revealed it in His Word. No, we do not need to live in fear and trembling that we are overlooking some unknown element of obedience and discipleship. Rather, we should live joyfully in the assurance that we are striving to live in obedience to what we know. While we should find satisfaction in that, we should also keep on searching the Scriptures and asking God for further knowledge of His will so that we might walk in that also. Does this describe you and your congregation?

Passively going after the previous generation. The people of Judah were judged in part because they erred after the same errors and sins of their fathers. We need to beware of falling into the same life pattern. As Christians with a godly heritage, our task isn't to preserve the status quo because then we will repeat the errors of our forbearers. God demands that we actively pursue the faith! We must be discerning in taking up the faith of our fathers, building on that which is godly and Biblical as well as casting aside anything which might fall short of that holy standard. How are you and your congregation doing?

Judgment on this nation?

Whew! Finally we get to a section that's easy on us, right? Wrong! Though we are citizens of an heavenly country, we still live in earthly countries whose sins and shortcomings have a way of influencing us. So ask yourself if these national failings have affected your life in any subtle ways.

Refusing righteousness. So many countries invest a lot of effort in distancing themselves from the laws of God. They elevate materialism and other temporal values. They back away from moral issues. They fear taking stands for absolute right and wrong. They lack a spiritual compass; God has no place among them.

Passing over the poor. Who shall accept personal responsibility to help the poor? Let government, churches and charities help the poor. Let the corporations give the poor opportunities to help themselves. Use the "poor and downtrodden" as political issues. But don't expect individuals to care for the poor.

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