Amos’s message has had an impact on God’s people throughout the centuries, and it needs to be heard today, by individuals and nations. Although they were divided from their southern brothers and sisters in Judah, the northern Israelites were still God’s people. But they were living beneath a pious veneer of religion, worshiping idols, and oppressing the poor. Amos, a fiery, fearless, and honest shepherd from the south, confronted them with their sin and warned them of the impending judgment.
Amos speaks with brutal frankness in denouncing sin. He collided with the false religious leaders of his day and was not intimidated by priest or king. He continued to speak his message boldly. God requires truth and goodness, justice and righteousness, from all people and nations today as well. Many of the conditions in Israel during Amos’s time are evident in today’s societies. We need Amos’s courage to ignore danger and stand against sin.
As you read Amos’s book, put yourself in the place of those Israelites and listen to God’s message. Have you grown complacent? Have other concerns taken God’s place in your life? Do you ignore those in need or oppress the poor? Picture yourself as Amos, faithfully doing what God calls you to do. You, too, can be God’s person. Listen for his clear call and do what he says, wherever it leads.
The first verse of the book identifies it as the work of Amos, one of “the shepherds of Tekoa.” Nothing else is known about Amos apart from what he says about himself in 7:14-15. There he insists he is n ot a prophet by profession, but a “herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs” whom God entrusted with the special task of carrying a divine message to the people of the northern kingdom.
Probably during the reigns of Jeroboam II of Israel and Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah (about 760-750 B. C.)
To Whom Written:
This letter was written to Israel, the northern kingdom. The theme of the letter is the universal justice of God. The Israelites clearly expected a “day of the Lord” when all their enemies would be judged (1:2-2:5). What they were no prepared for was that the judgment of that day would fall on them as well (2:6-9:10). Far from enjoying favored status, they would be held more accountable than their neighbors.
To view a complete outline of the book of Amos click here.
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