(Part 1 of 21)
Amos is known as the prophet of justice, and one of the Old Testament’s most powerful and forceful preachers of repentance and the justice of God. Sin is serious enough in the sight of God to warrant judgment. Christians have a hard time understanding the judgments of God because God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts. Amos arrived in Israel at the time of great national prosperity. The nation was also growing in immorality and in indifference to God and His Word. This lesson will bless us if we can see God’s work in it, and His love and how He longs to save a people and a nation. Amos teaches national accountability for national sins, and that each individual man is accountable to God. The historical background is this: King Uzziah was ruling in Judah and Jeroboam was ruling in Israel. Ten tribes (Israel) broke off from Judah after Solomon’s death. Jeroboam led his nation into idolatrous worship; he attempted to change the way God dealt with sin and instituted a counterfeit priesthood (1 Kings 12). Amos was sent by God to prophecy two years before the great earthquake (Amos 1:1). Josephus says that this earthquake came because of Uzziah’s attempt to take the priest’s office (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). Zechariah speaks of this earthquake three hundred years later (Zechariah 14:5).
Both Judah and Israel were prospering. There was lots of wealth and industry, and the military powers were strong. There was a lot of eating and drinking and making merry. Corruption of justice was a common sin. Land seizure was an everyday crime. The rich became richer and the poor became poorer. The love of luxury was placed ahead of everything else. Religion had lost its vitality and power. Militarily, Israel was stronger than any of its neighbors. There was no other nation strong enough to bring it down. But Israel forgot about God. It was into this land that God sent Amos. It didn’t matter how deep Israel’s darkness had become. God always has a human channel available to deliver a message. Prosperity was the big news in the business centers. Peace that came because of military strength brought merchants and trade. New markets opened up and trade expanded. People were prospering. False religions rose up to blot out the presence of God and His Word. The last thing they wanted to have on the scene was a prophet from Judah.
AMOS… The man from Tekoa… “Tekoa” means “a trumpet blast” (prophecy). The name Amos comes from a word meaning “to load a burden upon an animal.” The name Amos then means “a burden-bearer.” Some believe that this was not the real name of this prophet but a nickname given to him by those who hated him. Amos became a “pain”; it was a name of scorn. “Here comes the pain”… “Here comes the so-called holy man; he is a pain.” Today it’s the Christian who is the “pain” in our society. Amos was a shepherd (Amos 1:1). Note Amos 7:14-15: “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit, and the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said to me, Go prophesy unto my people Israel” (KJV). Amos was a layman, a laborer, a shepherd, a tree trimmer and a fruit picker. As a shepherd, he had a caring and compassionate spirit. As a tree trimmer and a fruit picker, he was meticulous and accurate. He was uneducated as far as this world’s systems were concerned, but a man anointed can do much more than an educated man without the anointing. Amos was humble; he made no attempt to hide his occupation, nor was he ashamed to hide his birth. He was an industrious man and a busy man. Amos did not preach over the heads of the people. He used terms that were familiar to the people, but he also used wisdom and intelligence in how he caught the people’s attention by first speaking of Israel’s enemies. Amos was faithful to his call. He was not an ear-tickler, nor was he an eye-pleaser. He refused to be turned away from the work that God had given him to do. His message was, “Thus saith the Lord.” Amos’ success can be seen in Amos 7:10, where the entire land was affected by his words. Amos was a “first-class layman.”
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
Copyright © 2011 by Scripture Nuggets Ministries
All rights reserved