“God Must Love Poor People”

Discussion Guide

ONE Message Series
Justice and Mercy: A Study of Amos and Hosea

“God Must Love Poor People”

“Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land” (Amos 8:4).


Amos has affirmed God’s love for the poor and the oppressed throughout this book. (Note:
By one count, nearly 3,000 verses in Scripture deal with justice for the oppressed and some
400 specifically mention the poor!) But doesn’t God love the whole world? Isn’t that what
John 3:16 teaches? Why is Amos so keenly focused on God’s love for the poor?

While the people of Israel certainly were guilty of other spiritual failures, Amos focuses on the
nation’s neglect of its poor during a time of prosperity. Read Amos 2:6-7; 3:15-4:1; 8:4-8.

Relate the teaching of Matthew 6:24 to the Story of the Rich Young Ruler. Was the man’s
problem that he was rich? Or that his wealth was the priority of his life? Explain your answer.
The Bible consistently emphasizes that God blesses people so they can, in turn, bless others.

Read the following texts about Heaven’s concern for the poor: Deuteronomy 15:11; Psalm
35:10; 109:30-31; Proverbs 14:31; 19:17; 1 Timothy 6:17-19; Ephesians 4:28.

What is your reaction to these statistics from public studies of poverty?
• 689 million people (approx 9% of world population) live on $1.90 or less per day
• 98% of Protestant and Catholic missions spend their funds in areas already evangelized
• 34 million people in the United States (10.5%) live below the government poverty line

Rubel told about attending a church business meeting where the concern was “helping
unworthy people” with money, food, and/or rent payments. How should a church balance its
concern for helping the poor versus enabling someone who may be “working the system”?

Note: Since we can’t help everyone in every situation of need, we focused this week’s “Four
Corners Offering” on two ministries with a long track record with our church.

End your study and reflection with a prayer for the poor and homeless, sick and dying,
orphans and abused children.

Note: If you still wish to donate to Sunday’s “Four Corners Offering,” you can use this link
(harpethhills.org/4corners) or mail your check to the church office (1949 Old Hickory Blvd /
Brentwood / 37027) at your convenience.

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