The Book of Amos addresses:
- the excessive pursuit of luxury,
- oppression of the poor which characterized the period of prosperity and success in the Northern Kingdom of Israel under Jeroboam II.
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, then Israel itself. The rich are condemned because of their oppression of the poor and for their religious hypocrisy.
True religion demands righteous living, and the way people treat others reveals their relationship with God. (re-read that)
Amos was a prophet from Judah (southern) with a message to Israel (northern) during the reign of Uzziah (south) and Jeroboam (north). Imagine giving a message of doom to the other team? Ugg. Amos was not a prophet before this, a son of a prophet, or even a priest like Samuel. He was just a sheepherder, however, from his writing, we can assume he was educated.
The two kingdoms during this time are at an all-time high. Peace with neighbors, Assyria was not as powerful, and prosperity was growing. Listen, God is not against prosperity, God is against sin. Unfortunately usually with increased prosperity comes increased sin. 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 calf and going through the ‘religious motions’. Since the division of the nation into North and South 200 years has passed. 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 do just that.
People who think that God is all about wrath and punishment need to dig into the Prophecy books. He loves His people so much that He is giving them opportunity after opportunity of warning to repent! And He is IGNORED.
I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. (Jonah 4:2)
I sat in a canoe today in the foothills of South Carolina with my earbuds in and did a “listen through” of the book of Amos. It was an easy read but I will tell you it rocked my world! I can’t wait for you to read it. (Honestly, I don’t think you will need to read the blog the next 2 days….you got this!)