Lesson: Conviction vr Complacency…Seek God and Live! (Amos 4:13, 6:1-7)

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It is easy to overlook the minor prophets as just that—minor, less important. But bearing in mind that “minor” only refers to fewer writings, there are many nuggets of truth and insight to be gleaned from examining some of these lesser-celebrated Old Testament heroes. Rather than overlooking or neglecting them, it can be important to share with students the lessons of these smaller books. After all, many students growing up in church wind up hearing the same messages repeatedly, and become complacent (which is what this passage urges to avoid). And there are just so many times Moses and the Israelites can flee Egypt, let’s face it…This lesson looks at the book of Amos for insightful reminders of God’s attributes and our responses to them.
Lesson focus: God is merciful but also just, and when we ignore Him or develop apathetic attitudes, we can expect consequences. The best thing for us to do is seek God and try to do what is right.
Passage: Amos 4:13 and 6:1-7; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name. -Amos 4:13

Target Audience: Pre-k through sixth grade (adaptable)
Materials Needed: Figs or Fig Newtons; “Famous Amos” cookies; cardstock paper; decorative materials (markers, stickers, etc.).
Optional: Download our free Book of Amos coloring page
Lesson Opening: Who is God? Start off by brainstorming character traits…divide students into two teams (as long as there are enough kids) and explain that you will be talking about characteristics or attributes…what does that mean? After making sure kids grasp that concept, play a brief game of traits. Call off a person (celebrity, well-known figure, fictional character, even someone in church) and have the teams come up with as many attributes as possible about that person. See who can come up with more. End by asking what kids can say about GOD. Who is He? What do we know about Him? Explain that today’s lesson will talk about who God is and how we can listen for His will and follow it.

Bible Lesson on Conviction & Complacency

Explain to students that today we will be talking about a Biblical prophet. Review what a prophet was and did, and mention that in the Old Testament some prophets wrote a lot more than others. We tend to refer to those with fewer writings as “minor prophets,” but they were not less important. Remind students that the people of Israel tended to mess up and disobey a lot. God tried to warn them, and they strayed again and again. Prophets were supposed to serve as extra reminders, but the people did not always listen to them either. One such prophet was a man named Amos. Amos was a shepherd and farmer. He grew a lot of figs. Allow students to sample a fig or a Fig Newton cookie. Invite them to open up to the book of Amos and take a look at some key verses. Explain that Amos was trying to emphasize that Israel had strayed and needed to return to God. If they repented, forgiveness was promised. If not, destruction was certain…

Seek good, not evil,
that you may live.
Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you,
just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good;
maintain justice in the courts.
Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy
on the remnant of Joseph. -Amos 5:14-15

Amos promises that it is not too late for a return, but Israelites must be willing to seek what is right. God is a merciful Father. He will always welcome us back if we repent. But He is also just. Failure to obey will not go unpunished…

Woe to you who are complacent in Zion,
and to you who feel secure on Mount Samaria,
you notable men of the foremost nation,
to whom the people of Israel come!
2 Go to Kalneh and look at it;
go from there to great Hamath,
and then go down to Gath in Philistia.
Are they better off than your two kingdoms?
Is their land larger than yours?
3 You put off the day of disaster
and bring near a reign of terror.
4 You lie on beds adorned with ivory
and lounge on your couches.
You dine on choice lambs
and fattened calves.
5 You strum away on your harps like David
and improvise on musical instruments.
6 You drink wine by the bowlful
and use the finest lotions,
but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.
7 Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile;
your feasting and lounging will end. -Amos 6:1-7

The people of God had grown complacent. What is complacent? Coach children to an understanding of the term. Brainstorm some things we might not care much about: banking forms, fishing bait variety, medical terminology…(may vary with audience, of course). Israel didn’t care about God anymore. Perhaps they were still going through the motions of dedication, but they were not truly trying. God cares more about our hearts than our outward professions. We need to pay attention to Him. How do we do that? By reading His word; consistently praying; and listening to others who know Him. Return students to attributes of God and His incredible power…

“Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel,
and because I will do this to you, Israel,
prepare to meet your God.”13 He who forms the mountains,
who creates the wind,
and who reveals his thoughts to mankind,
who turns dawn to darkness,
and treads on the heights of the earth—
the Lord God Almighty is his name. -Amos 4:12-13

Look at the attributes of God highlighted here…He is almighty and powerful above all else. He knows our thoughts. God wants us to be passionate about our beliefs, on fire for HIM and convicted of His power and presence. Let’s try to be consistently working to do what is right.
Brainstorm (or review) methods of being certain of God’s presence.
Craft: Reminders…Encourage students to create items that will remind them to seek God and know His voice…provide paper for students to make a place mat and/or Bible bookmark. Post the verse(s) for students to copy (or have them printed) and allow them to add stickers, pictures, and other decorations. If students create bookmarks, remind them to try and use in Bibles; if they make placemats, encourage them to use for prayer at meal times, or to collect items for people in need. If possible, keep the created items and laminate for students to take home.
Close with prayer and thank God for who He is. Ask for wisdom in listening to and understanding His words.

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