Ceiling mural of Prophet Amos
Does he have to be so negative all the time? Can’t he ever give it a rest?

Questions we might use for reflecting on and discussing Amos 7:10-17 (the Uniform Series text) on Sunday, July 30:

Amaziah charges Amos with conspiracy, and tells him to leave Bethel and stop his prophesying against Israel. Are there circumstances in which Amaziah’s response would be reasonable? Appropriate? Necessary? What circumstances? Are there present-day circumstances in which we could imagine ourselves saying, or wanting to say, something like what Amaziah says to someone? What circumstances? Have we ever been in circumstances like this, or said something like this to someone? When? What, if any, insight does that lend to this text?

Amaziah gives as a reason for Amos to leave and to stop prophesying that he is in a place that belongs to the king. What would make this a good reason for Amos to watch what he says? What ideas would call this reasoning into question? Does the book of Amos encourage us to see one set of reasons as better than another? Which set? Why? What place or places might be analogous in our world? How would someone like Amos go over in those places? Why?

If you were a worshiper at Bethel, how persuasive to you do you think Amos’s accusations would be? Why? What ideas or background knowledge would make them more persuasive? What ideas or background knowledge would make them less persuasive?

What difference does it make what Amos’s occupation was before this incident? Why does he mention it in his defense to Amaziah? Do people’s occupations ever make them more or less persuasive? When? Why? How might that be working in this case? Who would be a more persuasive advocate for social justice in our own situation? Why? Who would be a less persuasive advocate today? Why?

Amos’s final statement to Amaziah makes several dire predictions. What do these predictions have to do with Amaziah’s efforts to keep Amos from speaking? Are they consequences of that effort, and if so, why? How many different answers to this question are possible/can we think of? Do these different answers have different implications for our thinking and behavior? Why?