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Summary: There are two ways to prepare to meet God—on our terms or on His terms.

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1. How Israel tried to meet God on their terms

a. They behaved on their own terms (4:1)

b. They worshipped on their own terms (4:4-5)

2. How God persuaded Israel to meet Him on His terms

a. God warned on His terms—His holiness (4:2-3)

b. God persuaded on His terms (4:6-11)

3. The results

a. The result of Israel’s terms (yet have ye not returned to me)

b. The result of God’s terms (prepare to meet thy God, O Israel) (4:12-13)

Sometimes I think that the lawyers have taken over the world. It seems like everything we do has some type of terms we have to agree to. Just listen to a car dealer commercial on the radio sometime. They go through all the commercial telling you about this once in a lifetime sale they’re having. This weekend only. Push, pull or tow your old car in and we’ll give you top-dollar trade in value for it. We’re practically giving cars away. Whoever reads that stuff for the commercial is loud, enthusiastic, and just over the top with excitement. Then comes the part where they have to disclose all the terms. The reader changes his voice to just above a mumble. And he reads faster than any human being can possibly understand. It’s the same thing with all the junk mail I get. Somebody will send a credit card application. All over the front in big 2-inch letters it’ll tell me about all the money they’re going to give me. But then at the bottom or on the back, it’ll give the terms and conditions. Of course, you have to have a magnifying glass to read the print. The only reason they put the terms there in the first place is because the lawyers make them. But they still try to hide them as best as they can. But you can’t hide the fact that nearly everything in life has terms attached to it. Whether you’re buying anything, getting a job, or entering a contract—terms have to be agreed to. Did you know that God has terms as well? Except God is no lawyer—He sets His terms up front. The problem comes in when we try to meet God on our terms instead of on His. That’s what Israel did. Ever since God called up Abraham and promised to make of him a nation, He had laid out His terms to them. And they consistently refused God’s terms. They wanted a relationship with God, but they wanted it on their terms. They wanted to meet Him on their terms, not His. In our passage tonight, God speaks through Amos to review His case against Israel. He reviews the ways Israel tried to meet God on their own terms in spite of His continual persuasion. Even though times have changed, human nature hasn’t. Neither has God’s character. There are still two ways we can prepare to meet God. We can either try to do it on our terms or His. We’ll meet Him either way. Either we’ll meet Him in judgment or in eternal relationship. Each of us is going to meet God. I want each of us here tonight to prepare to meet Him on His terms. In order to do that, we’re going to look at three things. We’ll see how Israel tried to meet God on their terms. We’ll see how God persuaded Israel to meet Him on His terms. And we’ll take a look at the results. First, let’s see how Israel tried to meet God on their terms. Israel tried to meet God on their terms because they behaved on their own terms. Look at verse 1:


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