Micah 1-2

Micah 1-2

Chapter 1: Micah prophesies of the downfall of Samaria and Jerusalem

The word of the Lord comes to Micah during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah of Judah. The Lord tells Micah that He will tread down the high places, the mountains will melt under Him, and the valleys will split like wax before the fire! Samaria will be left desolate in judgment, because of its idolatry. Because of this great destruction, this will cause Micah to wail and howls like an animal. The surrounding nations will know of Israel’s shame.

 

Chapter 2: The destruction of Israel

“Woe to them that devise iniquity, and work evil… they covet fields, and take them by violence…” (Micah 2:1-2) The Lord will take away the heritage of people who work iniquity. God’s people reject the word of His prophets. False prophets will rise and will prophesy days of wine and drink. Israel will be restored!

Summary of Jonah

Summary of Jonah

Chapter by Chapter:

Jonah 1-2: Jonah is lost at sea/ The Whale “vomits” out Jonah

Jonah 3-4: Jonah saves Nineveh/Jonah is angry

 

The Book of Jonah is one of the many Prophets of the Bible. It tells the story of a Hebrew prophet named Jonah, son of Amittai who is sent by God to prophesy the destruction of the Land of Nineveh and its people but tries to escape the divine mission, but in the end is taught by the Lord to listen and obey. This story is set during the reign of Jeroboam II (Approximately 786-746 BC). The story has an interesting interpretive history and has been a popular Bible story around the world.

Jonah 3-4

Jonah 3-4

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

In chapters 3 and 4 we learn a lot about God’s mercy and WHO God really is. In LDS doctrine, we believe that God, His Son and the Holy Ghost are all individual and distinct persons. We believe that God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ have bodies of flesh and bones. After all, we are created in their image, right!? I just love how God says he “repented” (which of course means changed his mind in this context), but God was going to destroy a city and then changed his mind because the people changed their ways. God never hates people, he loves all his children, but he gets upset and sometimes (like any good parent) has to discipline his children.

Jonah gets mad about God NOT destroying the city, but they gets mad at God killing a plant. Here we see the selfishness of Jonah, he only wanted the plant because it gave him shade. God teaches him and any reader a good lesson, ALL Life is important and everyone has a purpose and meaning!

Chapter 3: Jonah saves Nineveh

The word of the Lord comes to Jonah and is again told to cry against Nineveh and its people. Jonah preaches to the people and almost immediately the people repent with ashes and sackcloth. They fasted and turned to their God. Upon seeing this, God decides not to destroy Nineveh.

“…God repented of the evil that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.” (Jonah 3:10)

Chapter 4: Jonah is angry

Jonah is upset because God chose not to destroy Nineveh. He leaves the city and sits in the hot sun where God causes a plant (a gourd of some sort) to grow to provide shade for Jonah. The next day God sends a worm to kill the plant. Without any shade from the hot sun, Jonah is angered and in pain and claims it would be better for him to die.

God questions Jonah’s anger about the death of the plant and asks him why he thinks a plant should be spared from destruction but a large city like Nineveh should not be saved.

Jonah 1-2

Jonah 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

This is the classic story of Jonah and the Whale that pretty much everyone has heard once or twice in their lives. I love how the Lord had the whole thing planned and while we don’t know if Jonah was in the whales belly or if this entire story is a metaphor… it doesn’t matter… because we learn some great information. We learn that the Lord has a great plan for us and while Jonah cried from the depths of hell, the Lord listened to him. Often times we are in similar situations and feel trapped, like the waters have encompassed us and we can cry out to the Lord and he will save us… he will LISTEN to us even in the darkest of hours!

Chapter 1: Jonah is lost at sea

The word of the Lord comes to Jonah (who was the son of Amittai) and Jonah is told to cry against Nineveh. Instead, he flees on a ship going to Tarshish. This angers the Lord and he sends a great storm to catch up to the ship. As Jonah sleeps, the mariners cast lots to ascertain who is responsible for this great storm; they find out that it is Jonah. Jonah suggests that they throw him overboard. The mariners are reluctant to resort to this extreme measure, but do so when the storm does not quiet down. As the mariners throw Jonah overboard, they pray that they may not perish because of Jonah.

 

After Jonah is thrown overboard, the sea is calmed. “Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” (Jonah 1:17)

 Whale Of A Time

Chapter 2: The Whale “vomits” out Jonah

Jonah prays within the belly of the fish. “…I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.” (Jonah 2:2) Jonah describes the waters compassing him about with weeds wrapped around his head. The Lord has brought up Jonah’s life from corruption, and Jonah responds with thanksgiving, looking towards God’s holy temple. The fish vomits out Jonah onto dry land. “And the Lord spake to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.” (Jonah 2:10)

Chapter 1 + Summary of Obadiah

Chapter 1 + Summary of Obadiah

Obadiah is one of the smallest books in the bible at about 1 ½ pages long, and includes only one chapter.

Chapter 1: Obadiah Prophesies Downfall of Edom

Obadiah has a vision, and in that vision he sees…

Edom will be made small among the nations. Though it ascends as high as an eagle, it shall be brought down. The judgment on Edom will be complete and not like when robbers and grape gatherers leave some grapes behind.  The house of Jacab shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, but the house of Esau shall be stubble. The children of Israel shall possess the land of the Canaanites. Saviors shall come to Mount Zion to judge the mountains of Esau, and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.

Summary of Amos

Summary of Amos

Chapter by Chapter:

Amos 1-2: The Lord Judges Syria, Tyre and Edom/The Lord will Judge Moab, Judah and Israel

Amos 3-4: Prophets/The Lord makes things hard, so we remember

Amos 5-6: Seek the Lord and do good/Woe unto them of Zion

Amos 7-9: Amos, a prophet of God/A time of famine: The Great Apostasy/The Restoration

Amos, an older contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, was active c. 750 BCE during the reign of Jeroboam II, making the Book of Amos the first biblical prophetic book written (presumably). Amos lived in the kingdom of Judah but preached in the northern kingdom of Israel. His major themes were of social justice, God’s omnipotence and role as creator, and divine judgment.

We also learn about the important roles of Prophets, the coming of a Spiritual Famine known as “The Apostasy” and a future Restoration of the Lord’s Gospel

Amos 7-9

Amos 7-9

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

Today, we see wars and hear of rumors of wars just as the Bible predicted. However we see so many people turn away from the scriptures and turn to other methods of finding truth, wisdom and knowledge. I have spoken to many people throughout my life in school, work, strangers in the store, etc. A majority of the people I have spoken to, regarding religious or spiritual matters are looking for the truth, but have expressed to me that they know not where to find the truth.

I can’t count the times that I have heard something to the effect as; “I just hate religions, because they all fight. I just believe in God and that is all that is needed”. God never intended for people to fight over His gospel, I am sure He knew it would happen, but it is NOT His desire for it to happen. With the dozens, maybe even hundreds of religions out there it is no wonder people wander “… to and fro…” (Amos 8:12) There is a spiritual famine today, which was caused by an Apostasy, where people turned away from the Lord.

The Lord, however, has promised to RESTORE His church and His people. This Restoration occurred in 1820, when young Joseph Smith was praying about which church to join, God and His son Jesus Christ appeared to him and told him, that none of the churches were correct. He was guided through the Lord to restore GOD’s Church on the earth. From then on, we have had modern day prophets who lead and guide the Lord’s church in Modern days. The fruit and evidence of this Restoration is the Book of Mormon, which would come forth at a time of great ‘Spiritual Famine’.

Let me be clear that the Book of Mormon, does NOT discredit or disregard the Bible in anyway, instead it acts as a companion to the Bible. We have the Old and New Testaments written in the ‘Old World’ (Middle East) and we now have Another Testament of Jesus Christ (The Book of Mormon) which was written in ancient times in the ‘New World’ (the Americas).

The Book of Mormon explains and builds upon what we already know of the Bible and goes into more detail about;

• The purpose of mortal life and death (See 2 Ne. 2:212 Ne. 33:9Alma 12:24Alma 34:32Alma 42:4)

• The certainty of life after death (See 2 Ne. 9:3–7Mosiah 16:83 Ne. 11)

• What happens when the spirit leaves the body (See Alma 34:34Alma 40:11–14, 21)

• The description of the Resurrection (See 2 Ne. 9:12Alma 40:23Alma 41:23 Ne. 11:1–16)

• How to receive and retain a remission of your sins (See Mosiah 4:1–3, 12, 26Alma 4:14)

• What hold justice or mercy may have on you, (See Alma 34:15–16Alma 41:14Alma 42:15–16, 22–25)

• What to pray for (See 2 Ne. 4:352 Ne. 32:8–9Enos 1:9Alma 13:28Alma 34:17–27Alma 37:36–373 Ne. 18:19–21Moro. 7:26)

• Priesthood (See 2 Ne. 6:2Mosiah 18:18Alma 6:1Alma 133 Ne. 11:213 Ne. 18:37Moro. 2:2Moro. 3:4)

• Covenants and ordinances (See 2 Ne. 11:5Mosiah 5:5Mosiah 18:13Alma 13:8, 16)

• The office and ministry of angels (See 2 Ne. 32:2–3Omni 1:25Moro. 7:25, 37)

• The still, small voice of personal revelation (See 1 Ne. 16:91 Ne. 17:44–45Enos 1:10Alma 32:23Hel. 5:303 Ne. 11:3)

• The mission of Jesus Christ (See 1 Ne. 11:13–332 Ne. 2:6–10Mosiah 3:5–12Alma 7:7–133 Ne. 27:13–16)

The Book of Mormon quenches the spiritual hunger and thirst that was described by Amos of old. As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-days Saints…

“We talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophesy of Christ, and we write according to our prophecies, that our children may know to what source they may look for a remission of their sins. (2 Nephi 25:26)

Chapter 7: Amos, a prophet of God

In this chapter we learn about how Amos became a prophet of God. Amos explains that he saw a vision of locusts, and a vision of fire; in both instances, the Lord is deaf to Amos’ petitions that Jacob may be spared. There is a further vision of a plumb line (to see if Israel is ‘straight’ or rather ‘righteous’ on the Lord’s path). Amaziah, a priest of Bethel, speaks against Amos. Amos replies;

“…I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but was an herman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.” (Amos 7:14-15).

Here we learn something VERY important. Prophets are not born of a special family bloodline, nor are they educated in a formal setting to become a prophet. The Lord choses His prophets by his own means, including finding un-educated herders, farmers, etc. and then slowly teaching them throughout their lives to become a prophet. They are not paid, nor do they work their way to the top. In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, this is the same. Prophets are selected by the Lord, not by man. They are sculpted throughout their lives, while living their lives and working in their respective careers.

The Lord decrees Amaziah’s punishment – his wife shall be a harlot, your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword, you shall die in a defiled land.

Chapter 8: A time of famine: The Great Apostasy

Amos has a vision of summer fruit; which signifies the end has come on Israel. Dishonesty and cheating the poor is disapproved of. In that day of Apostasy (a falling away from the Lord’s teachings), when the world will no longer turn to God “… the sun shall go down at noon…” (Amos 8:9), which will cause the sky to be darkened.

Amos also speaks of a famine; this famine will afflict the entire earth. However, this famine is not a famine of food and water, but of the word of GOD! “Behold the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord: And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.” (Amos 8:11-12)

                This ‘spiritual’ famine will occur on the earth, just as it has in the past. People want to know the truth, the desire and rather long for the opportunity of knowledge and wisdom. Some of the most basic desires of the human experience are to know; where we came from, and why we are here on the earth. What purpose do we have? Amos described a time when people would go to the ends of the earth to find this truth, to find anything to fill that spiritual void in their lives, but sadly, they would not find it during that time of Apostasy.

Chapter 9: The Restoration

Amos has a vision of the Lord at the temple, seeing the work of destruction. The Lord will sift the house of Israel, as grain is sifted in a sieve. Those who think they will be unaffected by the calamity will die by the sword. With all this destruction the Lord promises to raise the tabernacle of David.

“In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.” (Amos 9:11). Israel shall be restored, and fruit and wine shall be abundant. Israel will be planted in the land, and no longer pulled up.

 

Amos 5-6

Amos 5-6

Chapter 5: Seek the Lord and do good

Israel is exhorted (encouraged) to seek the Lord and do good.

“Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the Lord, the God of Hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken. Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14-15)

We are encouraged to do good, and to seek the Lord while doing good. If we do that, the Lord will be gracious and merciful upon us. The Lord who made the stars invites Israel to seek Him, but not in the vain places of sacrifice such as Gilgal, Bathel and Beersheba. Israel perverts justice and treads down the poor. There will be wailing and woe in the day of the Lord. Feast days, sacred assemblies and sacrifices will not be accepted by the Lord.

“Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.” (Amos 5:23) Those who praise the Lord with the wrong intent and scream and shout without truly following the Lord are wicked in the eyes of God.

Chapter 6: Woe unto them of Zion

Woe to you who are at ease in Zion, and trust in Mount Samaria! Woe to those who live the life of luxury, who lie on beds of ivory. When a relative of one of the dead comes to burn the corpses, should he find one person still alive, that person will not permit him to mention the name of the Lord for fear that the Lord will turn his wrath on him. Justice has been turned to gall, and righteousness to wormwood.

Amos 3-4

Amos 3-4

Chapter 3: Prophets

The Lord asks a series of questions, such as:

“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)

(Marriages? Missionaries? Walking two by two)

“Will a lion road in the forest when he hath no prey? …” (Amos 3:4)

“Shall a trumpet be blow in a city, and the people not be afraid? …” (Amos 3:6)

Then after listing a few more questions, Amos reminds the reader; “Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealth his secret unto the servants the prophets.” (Amos 3:7) Here, we re-learn the importance of a Prophet. Prophets are called by God and are only Prophets when given the proper authority from the Lord. Throughout all time, and every generation there has been a prophet. A Prophet is basically the Lord’s mouth piece on the earth and until Jesus Christ returns in the Second Coming there will ALWAYS BE A PROPHET on the Earth! So the question is where is the Prophet for the Modern Day? Today, as of September 22, 2013 that Prophet is; ‘Thomas S. Monson’. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s church on earth TODAY, just as the original church that Jesus Christ established when he was last on the earth.

The children of Israel have not fulfilled their responsibilities as God’s chosen people. The Lord will cause a calamity in the city. Egyptians and Philistines are invited to the mountains of Samaria as witnesses of the punishment of Israel. Israel will be conquered and exiled. The altars of Bethel will be destroyed.

Chapter 4: The Lord makes things hard, so we remember

Women are referred to as “…kine of Bashan…” (Amos 4:1) i.e. ‘the cows of Bashan’ who oppress the needy and demand wine from their husbands. They will be taken away with fishhooks (the Assyrians used to lead people by hooks driven through the lower lip). Rain will be withheld, which will cause some cities to be in drought and others to have water. All teeth shall be ‘clean’ (a good way of saying that the people will be starving) because of lack of bread. Israel will suffer blight and mildew. God asserts himself the former of mountains and the creator of winds.

Amos 1-2

Amos 1-2

Scripture Thought (What I Learned):

In these chapters we find a rhetorical formula that introduces judgment upon each people in this manner; “…For three transgressions of ____, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof…” The blank is replaced with Syria, Edom, Israel, Ammon, etc. Clearly we can see that the Lord is angered by the transgressions. I personally believe that this expression did not literally mean that the transgressions occurred 3 or 4 times… but that they were occurring many times and that was enough to cause a punishment.

Chapter 1: The Lord Judges Syria, Tyre and Edom

Amos shows the Lord’s judgments upon Syria, the Philistines, Tyre, Edom and Ammon. We learn a little about Amos, who is a sheepbreeder of Tekoa; a simple farmer with no prophetic or theological training. Amos lived in the days of Uzziah of Judah and Jeroboam of Israel.

The Lord roars from Zion; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and top of Carmel (in Israel) withers. The people of Damascus shall go captive to Kir in Assyria. Judgment against Gaza and Tyre, because they delivered God’s people to the Edomites. Edom will be punished because of its pitiless anger. Ammon will be punished, because it killed pregnant women in Gilead. The king of the Ammonites will be taken captive.

Chapter 2: The Lord will Judge Moab, Judah and Israel

The Lord will pour out judgments upon Moab; Moab will be destroyed with fire, and its princes slain, because it burned the bones of the king of Edom to lime. Judah will be sent fire, because their lies have led them astray. Israel will be punished for its sins against the righteous, poor and humble. The Lord vanquished the Amorites so the Israelites could occupy their Canaanite land, and the Israelites responded by giving wine to Nazirites and forbidding people from prophesying. The most courageous of men shall flee naked in the Day of Judgment.