Eight hundred years before the birth of Jesus, God called a very busy man out of his field while he still had a shepherd’s crook in his hand. Although Amos was just a rugged worker and formally uneducated, he received divine training directly from God while tending a herd of sheep in the wild uplands of Judah.
His writing indicates a definite supernatural skill as he poetically illustrates hillside life. Like another shepherd named David, Amos also gazed upon the stars and pondered the beauty of their Creator. Isaiah was a courtier, Jeremiah was a priest, Joel was a baker, and then God chose Amos. This unlikely candidate was a diligent shepherd who was not one accustomed to the noise of the city or its ongoing complaining chatter. He delivered His words point blank!
Amos chapter one “The Lord roars and says “I will not relent from punishing”…I will send fire, I will break down the gates, I will cut off the ruler, and the people will be exiled. Chapter two “I will not relent”…you commanded the prophets to not prophesy, I am about to crush you in your place, escape will fail the swift, the strong one will not prevail by his strength, and the brave will not save his life. I will punish you for all your iniquities, indeed the Lord does nothing without revealing His counsel to His servants the prophets. A Lion has roared who will not fear? Chapter three “An enemy will surround the land. Look the days are coming when you will be taken away with hooks. I caused the stench of your camp to fill your nostrils, yet you did not return to Me. Prepare to meet your God! He is here, the One who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals His thoughts to man, the One who makes the dawn out of darkness and strides on the heights of the earth. Yahweh, the God of Hosts, is His name.” Chapter eight “And in that day, this is the declaration of the Lord God, I will make the sun go down at noon, I will darken the land in the daytime, I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation. Hear this! The days are coming… when I will send a famine through the land, NOT a famine of bread or a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. People will stagger from sea to sea and roam from north to east seeking the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.”
Wisely Amos did not preach over the heads of the common people. With great understanding and compassion he cleverly delivered his message by judging the enemy, not the people. He had a certain rough way of speaking the truth, but the common people found his words refreshing. How much do we value truth today? God fearing people prefer to hear the truth over the lies of the Liar. Amos was a humble man, who feared God, but not man, king or priest. INSIGHT: Today God still balances power through His chosen voices across the globe. The light of Truth will continue to test all governing powers as God holds them accountable.
The bible testifies to God’s love for His people in many ways. Today we are blessed by the continuing stream of the messengers He commissions to share the Truth with His people. In our current generation, we have the added benefit of reading and hearing the Word of God spoken in our own language. “Faith comes from hearing the message” (Romans 10:17)
Undoubtedly, Amos knew the prophet Jonah and possibly even Elisha. Hosea was a peer who was working in Israel at the same time. These two characters were selected by God as His ambassadors during a wild time of history.
Amos prophesied while Uzziah was on the throne of Judah and Jeroboam II was the king of Israel. It was a peaceful and prosperous time for both kingdoms (2 Chron 26 – 2 Kings 14:25) It was also a time when the people of Israel were seeking every pleasure to be had. God sent His two emboldened messengers, Hosea and Amos to warn His people.
King Jeroboam had made Israel flourish and he was not receptive to the courageous words of Amos. The king had the finest cavalry of horses so when this lowly, most likely foul smelling shepherd thundered “And the horseman will not save his life”, the king was furious! Amos also boldly proclaimed that a shepherd would save Israel from the lion’s mouth. (Amos 3:12)
Amos is known as the Prophet of Justice. During a time of prosperity, Amos spoke out for the needs of the poor. He was disrespected among the rich as his words convicted their hard hearts. Amos was not the son of a priest or a prophet.
In chapter 5 Amos pronounced God’s judgment on the people as they were greedy, unclean and profane in the eyes of the Lord. As Amos drew this hard line between good and evil, a priest in Bethel told Amos to go back to the land of Judah as his voice was unwanted in the courts. Heart changing repentance is what our holy God seeks that we may be reconciled. The Lord will not forget anything we have done, but in His mercy, He will forgive those who return to Him. God said that He will turn their religious feasts into mourning and all their singing into weeping.
In chapter 9 Amos speaks HOPE as he voices God’s promise. “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.” (Amos 9:14)
As His church, we are to stand as His voice and pray for those God places in power. We are His chosen ambassadors today and He commands us to speak the truth without fear. “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” (2 Corin 5:20)
Copyright © 2019 by Barbara Alley Hoyle.
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“Behind the Curtain” is a 100 page summary of the New Testament. Ebook 99 cents on Amazon.