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June 7, 2015
“God Punishes Sin!”
PDF Lesson Print Out is now Located at the Bottom of the Lesson. Please Scroll Down, Click and Enjoy! Blessings.
(Please Note: All lesson verses and titles are based on International Sunday School Lesson/Uniform Series ©2010 by the Lesson Committee, but all content/commentary written within is original to wordforlifesays.com unless properly quoted/cited)
In our today we hear so many messages about grace (and, we should) that we tend to forget there’s another side to the coin. It’s called consequences.
In my elementary school when I was a kid, on one side of the chalkboard would be an area sectioned off titled “Consequences.” For those who were having behavior problems in class that day their name would be written under “Consequences” as a first warning. Following that, if problems persisted checks would begin to appear next to the name. For each check received that individual was falling deeper and deeper into receiving some sort of additional “Consequence” (and yes, I keep capitalizing it on purpose 🙂 ).
There are two paths in life one can choose to follow: God-seeking vs. self-seeking; obedience vs. disobedience. Where do we walk today? Disobedience brings consequences. No matter who you are or where you reside in life; no matter if you are a sinner or a saint; God’s people or not, there will be ramifications for choosing to walk opposite of the will of God.
Paul once taught, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”(Romans 6:1-2). While it is appropriate that we hear a lot about grace, one can never use grace as an excuse to continue in sin.
Throughout the generations men have been sent to instruct and warn God’s people about living a life that glorifies Him. God’s people, in today’s lesson, heard many warnings about their ungodly behavior via His mouthpieces, the prophets.
The “prophets” acted as a GPS would do in our vehicles and show the way to reach one’s destination and one’s destination is to be in the will of God. Jeremiah 25:4 states, “And the LORD hath sent unto you all his servants the prophets, rising early and sending them; but ye have not hearkened, nor inclined you ear to hear.” Whether one follows the instructions and positioning of God was another story.
According to today’s lesson, His people chose not to follow the message of the messengers that He sent. As a result, He laid out for them the effect of their choices and Amos was the chosen vessel of today’s lesson that would relay His message.
According to Amos 1, Amos was a “herdman of Tekoa” (vs.1), meaning God can and will use anyone and anything to get His word out there. Once, God even opened the mouth of a donkey (see Numbers 22:28).
Though the writing of his book is listed with the Minor Prophets, Amos once said of himself, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit,” (Amos 7:14). Yet, God took him from what he “was;” He took him from the sheep and the fruit to make him a mouthpiece for Him; to make him a prophet to declare to His flock the consequences of the fruit of their actions.
Amos 2:4 “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked.”
From Amos 1:3-2:3, God used Amos to declare His displeasure and punishment on several nations including: Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus (Tyre), Edom, Ammon, and Moab. For these nations, Amos spoke and said, “For three transgressions . . ., and for four,” meaning they were charged with sin on top of sin, over and over again. There seemed to be a no holds bar on the evil they allowed to prevail. One wrong after another was committed becoming an awful math equation that led them deeper and deeper into deprivation.
Then God, through Amos, spoke the same condemning and accusing words to Judah (the two southern tribes). There was no home court advantage here. If anything, God’s displeasure was aroused more so against those called by His name for their sins weren’t against people, but against Him; against His “law.”
Much to the chagrin of man, the world does not revolve around him or others. Nor is it built on his ideologies or word. The world and all that are in it were created by the original Word of God. God spoke and things began to be and to exist. He called forth and authored the beginning of all.
What God says and does takes precedence over everything else. It outranks all else. One’s real intimacy with God is revealed in how well they keep his commandments. 1 John 2:3 says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.” The psalmist said, “Thy word I have his in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,” (Ps. 119:11). No other can compare in His power, might or authority. What He says goes. What He says is final. What He says is law.
Man has, since the beginning of time, tried to overstep what God has already said, leading him in a downward spiral of degradation. God’s law; His word will always stand as the final truth to all and will never, despite his best efforts, be usurped by man.
Here in today’s lesson the accusations laid out before them were they “they despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments.”
Let’s pause here a moment: God is pleased when we do what He has asked of us; when we obey (see Duet. 28:1-13 for just one example of many on the blessings of obeying God). “The LORD taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy,” (Psalm 147:11). “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; for all the earth is mine,” (Exodus 19:5).
At the same time, God has to the deal with the sins of His people. He said, “I will not turn away the punishment thereof.” A choice in disobedience DOES matter to God and disobedience brings consequences.
In Leviticus 26 the wording for not following the commands of God are pretty harsh. Some examples are:
- I will appoint you to terror, vs. 16.
- Ye shall sow your seed in vain, vs. 16.
- I will set my face against you, vs. 17.
- I will make your heaven as iron, vs. 19.
- Your land shall not yield her increase, vs. 20.
- I will punish you seven times for your sins, vs. 24.
- I will make your cities waste, vs. 31.
- I will scatter you, vs. 33.
And on and on the list goes. I skipped over a lot but you get the basic idea: God does not prosper disobedience. Instead of blessings, one would incur consequences.
Amos had to relay the message that the people were not on the blessing side of God at the moment. He [God] was ready to deal with their sin. Back to dealing specifically with “Judah,” not only have they erred in following the “commandments” but they are charged with “despising” God’s “law.”
Moses received God’s law, The Ten Commandments, spoken by God and written on stone as a testimony before the people forever. The Ten Commandments are rules to live by and to govern oneself in a manner that is pleasing to God; they are guidelines in which to measure one’s life and His people at the time were not measuring up. They have disregarded all that God has said and have continued to follow the steps of those who have fumbled the ball before them.
“Their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked.” Deception has been at the heart of causing man to go astray since the very beginning. Edmund Burke is quoted as saying, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it,” (Brainyquote).
The footsteps one chooses to follow makes all the difference in the world (and, hereafter). God spoke in Exodus saying, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image. . . Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,” (Exodus 20:3-5).
Yet, their history states this was the pathway His people chose to walk over and over again. Way back in the book of Judges it says, “And yet they would not hearken unto their judges, but they went a whoring after other gods, and bowed themselves unto them: they turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in, obeying the commandments of the LORD; but they did not so,” (Judges 2:17).
Jeremiah had this accusation against them in his time, saying they “Have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them,” (Jeremiah 9:14). And, so, history repeats itself and the people of God have failed to get their feet back on the right path of righteousness. Instead, they have gone after the way “which their fathers have walked.”
Amos 2:5 “But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem.”
Because of that, God said, “I will send fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem,” (see also Hosea 8:14). Here, we see once again, actions have consequences. Disobedience to God’s commands always leads down a treacherous path. That’s why the Bible says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path,” (Ps. 119:105). God’s commands shine the way to keep man from that pathway that leads to destruction.
This is not the first time nor will it be the last where God uses “fire” or the symbolism thereof to chastise His people. When they were in the wilderness and forgot all that God had done for them and lusted and tempted God (Psalm 106:13-14), there was a “fire kindled in their company; the flame burned up the wicked,” (Psalm 106:18). Wickedness will be dealt with for the unrepentant.
Nebuchadnezzar eventually became the instrument that God used to fulfill His prophesy. 2 Kings 25:8-9 tells us, “And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzar—adan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem. And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king’s house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man’s house burnt he with fire.”
Wow! So, it is true what Marianne Williamson says: “God created the law of free will, and God created the law of cause and effect. And he himself will not violate the law. We need to be thinking less in terms of what God did and more in terms of whether or not we are following those laws,” (Quote Source: Thinkexist.com).
And, clearly they weren’t.
Amos 2:6 “Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes.”
God then has Amos speak again the ten remaining tribes to the north which we refer to as “Israel.” Justice seems to have taken a back seat in the land. Fair treatment of individuals and their property were taken out of the will of God.
I have said it before and I will say it again: how we treat people matters! Leviticus 25:17 says, “Ye shall not oppress one another; but thou shalt fear thy God: for I am the LORD your God.” Yet, money and greed had become more important than God’s Word (compare Amos 5:11-12 – to be discussed more next week).
God’s Word provides guidelines on how one could work off a debt and still be treated fairly (see Leviticus 25:39-43). Here, justice was being sold to the highest bidder and the poor suffered because of it; “the righteous” were being sold for “silver” and the “the poor” for something as trivial as a “pair of shoes.”
Amos 2:7 “That pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor, and turn aside the way of the meek: and a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name.”
One must be deeply ensconced in the throes of greed and injustice to go after the very “dust of the earth on the head of the poor.” This poor man can’t even have his dust and you want to take that too – smh! Obviously he is poking fun of their pathetic nature, yet it is not funny to treat people in this manner. As a matter of fact, the Bible tells us, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker . . .,” Proverbs 14:31. God feels the injustice rendered to His people and He is not happy about it at all.
Despite all the warnings, when the “meek” seek justice, the rich use their power to step in the way through bribes and what not, thereby turning them “aside;” thwarting their attempts at receiving fair treatment for their cause.
The sin of the people had become so bad that “a man and his father will go in unto the same maid, to profane my holy name.” A father and son are to NEVER share the same bed with the same woman. It didn’t matter if she was a prostitute, or what have you. This matter was severely wrong in the eyes of God.
God’s people should not be entangled in fornication of any kind. Over and over again we see command to abstain from fornication and all sexual immorality (see Acts 15:20 and 1 Thess. 4:3). 1 Thessalonians 4:7 tells us, “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” Anything working against that objective, particularly along the lines of the above named offense, sullies His “holy name.”
We are called by His name (see 2 Chronicles 7:14), and as representatives of that name we should make sure we uphold the holy standards thereof.
Amos 2:8 “And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar, and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.”
In Exodus 22:26-27 God warns, “If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by that the sun goeth down: For that is his covering only, it is his raiment for his skin: wherein shall he sleep? and it shall come to pass, when he crieth unto me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.”
Deuteronomy also warns, “If the man be poor, thou shalt not sleep with his pledge,” (Deut. 24:12; also read verse 13). But the evil nation to whom Amos is referring was doing just that. “They lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge.”
Make no mistake, if you do it God’s way you will be blessed (read verse 13 again from above). But, know this, for the one who chooses to walk in the way of the wicked God will defend His people against all injustices and punish the sin that caused it.
“Hear this word, ye kine of Bashan, that are in the mountain of Samaria, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their masters, Bring, and let us drink. The Lord GOD hath sworn by his holiness, that, lo, the days shall come upon you, that he will take you away with hooks, and your posterity with fishhooks, “(Amos 4:1-2). GOD IS NOT PLAYING! He will judge rightly and punish sin and defend His people.
As they “they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god,” they have been warned that judgment has been passed and God will follow through with His word.
Many in our society today are just like those to whom Amos rebuked. They think they are getting away with their injustices and sinful living. There will come a time that God will require that justice be served for the unrepentant. Don’t let it be said too late. Turn to Him today!
(Click here for PDF: God Punishes Sin Sunday School Lesson, or simply click the print button below. Enjoy!)
Below are activities to support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
Draw the Scene: God Punishes Sin Draw the Scene (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
How Many Words?: God Punishes Sin How Many Words (Use this PDF link for accurate printing)
“No Matter Where You’re From, God Wants Your Heart Bookmarker for Amos”: God Wants Your Heart Bookmark Amos (Use this PDF link for accurate printing) You can make a simple bookmarker with this printable that will remind us no matter who we are or where we are from, God wants our heart. This will help bring to mind the right path we need to walk on to stay away from sin. Color and cut out. Punch a hole in the top and string through with yarn, ribbon, etc. Don’t forget, cardstock is best or cut and glue onto construction paper. Enjoy!
“God Wants Your Heart Doorknob Hanger/Banner” Using this PDF (for accurate printing): God Wants Your Heart Doorknob Hanger Banner your students can make a doorknob hanger or banner to hang anywhere this reminder is needed: knowing that God wants our hearts can help keep us from the path of sin. Decorate, punch holes string through with yarn or ribbon and you have it. Cardstock works best. Enjoy!
Below are more Activities/Links/Resources that support this week’s lesson. Enjoy!
“Teaching Kids the Bible: Amos” (Ideas for presenting information about Amos. Enjoy!)
“Prophets” (Old Testament prophets in review for reading age children to understand. Enjoy!)
“Amos 5:6 Coloring Page/Older Students” (Also will be good with next week’s lesson as well. Enjoy!)
Activities, Crafts and Coloring About Sin:
“Becoming All New” Coloring Page from Childrensbiblelessonsplace.com
“Sin Revealed” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place
“Sin Spoils” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place
“Object Lesson for Sin and Forgiveness” from Yahoo! Voices
“Children’s Activities About Sin” from Ehow.com
“A Heart for Jesus Activity” from Kids Sunday School Place
“Jesus Cleanses Us From Our Sticky Sins Activity” from Christianity Cove
“Covered By Christ Activity and Coloring” from Ministry to Children
“Forgive Us Our Sins” Coloring Page from Ministry to Children
“If We Confess Our Sins” Coloring Page from Coloring Page Spot
“Girl and Boy Prayer Coloring Pages” from Ministry to Children (These prayer coloring sheets are great because they have empty speech balloons. In those balloons children can right their own confession/prayer. Enjoy!)
“1 John 1:9 Butterfly Coloring Page” from Childrenschapel.org
“Children’s Bible Object Lesson on Sin” from Creative Bible Study
Activities, Crafts and Coloring About Obeying God:
“Obedience Games for Kids” from Ehow.com (This is great! Some of the old classics are brought out to teach children about obeying/following directions like Simon Says, Red Light, Green Light and more. Enjoy your play time with your students as you revisit your past with this idea. :))
“Warning Signs” Activity from Kids Sunday School Place
“The Rewards of Obedience” from Ministry to Children
Click this Youtube link to see a video with a great object lesson in regard to sin. Enjoy!