When the Lord speaks it is a roar and a thunder. Amos is reminding you of the character of God. If you ignore the Old Testament, your theology (in its most basic sense) will be defective, for you will be dealing with a god of your imagination, rather than the God who has revealed himself in the entire Scriptures.
Amos records and proclaims the roar of the Lord. He speaks of threatened judgement, but it is still future. There is still a call to repentance. It is still “today,” when you have time to turn to God and seek forgiveness. As you read the judgments, keep in mind the broader context of the conclusion of the book and of the rest of Scripture. Remember that the roar of the LORD would one day come to expression in the sending of the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and that his Word is the expression of God’s saving grace. However, in order for you to appreciate the graciousness of that Word, you need to be aware of your own need of it. And Amos graciously points out your sin, your need. Amos reveals the deadly, infectious power of sin in your life and in the life of the culture around you. As pervasive as sin is, you may miss it. Listen to the roar! You need it.
“The prophecy of Amos is an example of the goodness of God to an unworthy nation. The Israelites of the north had rejected the Davidic covenant and hence any claim to the promises of Jehovah. At the same time, they were smug and confident in the belief that, since they were the chosen people, no calamity could come upon them. . . . To such a people came Amos, in order that he might warn them of the impending doom. He does not mention the Assyrian by name, but clearly predicts the exile. His purpose is to warn, but also to promise deliverance through Christ.” (E. J. Young, Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 258).
Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer
“I made a covenant with my eyes
not to look lustfully at a young woman.” Job 31:1 (NIV)
If you see the chapter as a series of statements in which Job points self-righteously at himself (see Luke 18:12!), you have missed the point of the chapter. Job insists that, despite appearances, he is one of God’s covenant people. This concept of the covenant is one thing which makes the Book of Job so relevant to your situation, despite the differences of time, culture, and language. You too live in covenant fellowship with God. You too can say that, despite the suffering and problems in your life, you are among God’s covenant people.
Job 31 is a statement of covenantal loyalty. Job says, “In word and deed, I belong to God.” You belong to the Lord who not only died, but rose triumphantly and ascended to the right hand of the Father. That’s where you are! That makes your obedience, not a matter of indifference, but of joyful obligation. Ultimately that is why Job and you can keep calling out to the Lord with the assurance that he does hear and answer you.
The Sunday afternoon Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Job 31:1–4.
“Christ, accordingly, is the turning point of the times, the cross the focal point of world history. First, everything led in the direction of the cross; subsequently, everything was inferred from the cross. . . . Believers in Israel indeed knew that the Siniatic dispensation was merely temporary and therefore anticipated the the day of the new covenant with longing.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 3, p. 223).
“The righteousness of God as virtue or mode of conduct has manifested itself most gloriously when in Christ he granted another righteousness apart from the law, on the basis of which he can justify—that is, absolutely and completely acquit—those who believe in Jesus.” (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, Vol. 4, p. 185).
Quotes used in the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC
Jonah 4 not only raises questions in our minds, it reports Jonah questioning God as he argues with him. But above all, it leaves us with the questions God asks. Ending the book with a question is unusual. It takes your eyes off Jonah and forces you to reflect on what God is asking. Does Israel understand the merciful character of her Lord? Does she see herself in the prophet who first flees, and then argues with God over the mercy he displays? Do you understand God’s sovereign right to be merciful as he pleases?
These are among the questions we discuss tonight at our Bible study at Trinity Presbyterian Church
“It was because of the Christ that Jonah’s preaching in Nineveh could bear so much fruit, despite the fact that Jonah himself had not been cured of his disobedience. . . . In the Christ God restored that tie with His people in the covenant of grace. In His people He is now bound to the world also– including Nineveh, which he guides. He guides the entire world, to open it up to the glory which is in the Christ.” (S. G. De Graaf, Promise and Deliverance, Vol 2, p. 342).
“[I]n Paul there is no more important conclusion about the Christian life, nothing about its structure that is more basic than this consideration: the Christian life in its entirety is to be subsumed under the category of resurrection. Pointedly, the Christian life is resurrection life. . . . It is in this light that statements like Galatians 2:20 (‘I no longer live, but Christ lives in me’)—autobiographical, but surely applicable to every Christian—ought to be read.” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith Not By Sight, p. 77).
“This verse is the key verse of the Epistle to the Galatians; it expresses the central thought of the Epistle. The Judaizers attempted to supplement the saving work of Christ by the merit of their own obedience to the law. ‘That,’ says Paul, ‘is impossible; Christ will do everything or nothing: earn your salvation if your obedience to the law is perfect, or else trust wholly to Christ’s completed work; you cannot do both; you cannot combine merit and grace; if justification even in slightest measure is through human merit, then Christ died in vain.’” (Machen’s Notes on Galatians, p. 161).
Quotes from the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church
“There is a mighty proclamation of grace in the book of Jonah, a grace that calls us to abandon our false security and repent. Christ pointed this out very clearly. To Israel’s leaders, i.e. the scribes and Pharisees, he said: ‘On judgement day the men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation and will condemn it, because when Jonah preached they repented; and there is something greater than Jonah here.’”( C. Vanderwaal, Search the Scriptures, Vol. 6, p. 54).
From the Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer time at Trinity Presbyterian Church
In Galatians 2 Paul recalls a confrontation with Peter-—and the crucial issue is justification by faith in Christ.
“Even in Galatians, Paul’s teaching on justification has its stark urgency, not simply because church unity is at stake. His rebuke of of Peter’s conduct is so unsparing, not just because unity between Jew and Gentile is being jeopardized, but because of what that broken unity is symptomatic, because he sees that such conduct strikes at ‘the truth of the gospel’ (2:14). Moreover, it conflicts with that gospel truth because the gospel, as he expresses it programmatically elsewhere, is not the reflex, post facto, of having been saved. Rather, it is ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Rom. 1:16), or even more tersely, ‘the gospel of your salvation’ (Eph. 1:13).” (Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., By Faith, Not By Sight, p. 51).
“A man who tries to earn his salvation, or to do anything towards earning it, has, according to Paul, done despite to the free grace of God.” (J. Gresham Machen, Machen’s Notes on Galatians, p. 143).
From the Reflection for Trinity Presbyterian Church of the OPC