The Book of Amos was written by Amos probably during the reigns of Jeroboam II of Israel and ing Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah (about 760-750 B.C.)
Amos was not the son of a priest nor the son of a prophet. He was a layperson. He was a shepherd, tending his flocks, and sycamore and fig trees in the Judean country side. He provided for his family, did his job, and worshiped God.
God gives Amos a vision of the future and told him to take his message to Israel, the Northern Kingdom. Amos obeyed. Israel during this time was quite wealthy enjoying peace and prosperity. There is NOTHING wrong with wealth, peace, and prosperity. 1 Timothy 6:10 tells us: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” NOTICE money is NOT the root of all kinds of evil…..but the LOVE OF MONEY is. Israel felt self-sufficient….no need for God…they had grown complacent… they had “wandered from the faith” just as described in 1 Timothy!! Unfortunately they were also oppressing the poor and selling them into slavery. Assyria was not a mega power YET and Israel was thinking they were “sitting pretty.” Things were good for them….they thought they had a good life….and NOTHING could take this away from them. And their religion had NOTHING to do with God. Oh maybe they said the right things and looked the part….but where were their hearts?? NOT on the ONE TRUE GOD!!
Amos uses many metaphors from his life of shepherding and farming to create word pictures for the people listening. His metaphors addressed:
the excessive pursuit of luxury,
going through the motions of religion without any personal relationship with God, and
oppression of the poor
This book is basically a message of judgment: prophecies of judgment on the nations, and against Israel. Amos begins with a series of indictments against the seven neighbors of Israel, which most probably made Israel VERY happy and THEN….Amos brings it “home” to Israel because their actions were NO different that the actions of their enemies…. OUCH!!
The rich were condemned because of their oppression of the poor and for their religious hypocrisy. Religion is more than holding a sacred assembly or a ritualistic hour on Sunday morning; and if we have learned nothing it is that lighting a candle to anyone else, worshiping in a high place, worshiping to any other god, or any other idolatry is DETESTABLE to the Lord. Israel had grown detestable to The Lord. I am sure Israel was grieving the heart of The Lord!!
True religion demands righteous living, and the way people treat others reveals their relationship with God. In case you glossed over that…. THE WAY WE TREAT OTHER PEOPLE REVEALS OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
Amos will remind you of David and Gideon in that they were just doing their job when God called them up to do His work (usually when we least expect things of this nature to happen….right???). Amos goes to Bethel because Bethel was the capital of the Northern Kingdom. Idolatry was everywhere. As you may recall from reading 2 Kings they were worshipping a golden calves and going through the ‘religious motions’. 200 years had passed since the division of THE Nation of Israel into TWO separate Nations (the North and the South)!! God has already sent Elijah, Elisha, and Jonah. With not a single degree of the nation turning from their sinful ways, God now sends people like Amos and Hosea at the same time to warn them. This time the Lord wants the message delivered courageously and directly, and Amos will be fearless and do just that.
If you know people who believe that God is all about wrath and punishment challenge them to dig deep into the Prophecy books. God loves His people so much that He is giving them opportunity after opportunity of warning to repent! And, He is IGNORED OVER and OVER and OVER again!! God will not be mocked. HE is a just God. And truly, HE simply desires the we love HIM with all our hearts, souls, and minds.
Amos is another book that although it was written over 2500+ years ago….it has a great message for TODAY. God loves us so much that HE takes the time and compassion to WARN us. HE is waiting to love on each of us….HE shows us that over and over in HIS Word. However, HE wants us to CHOOSE HIM and ONLY HIM for all the good HE is. HIS arms are open. HIS lap is empty……waiting for us to climb up, sit down, and allow our Abba Father to place HIS arms around us to tell us each personally how much HE loves us….all the wonderful things HE has in store for us. LISTEN…..to HIM.
Amos 5:24 states: “But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never failing stream.”
Jonah 4:2 states: “I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.”
Sharing HIS love,