Amos is introduced to us as
one who has no earthly credentials as a prophet. He has no special
training or experience that qualify him as a prophet. He however
does have a message from God that is his to deliver.
He has been a
shepherd and a vine dresser. His message is dated at about 760 B.C.
which is during the reigns of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king
of Israel. This was a time of great prosperity and commerce for both
kingdoms, and for this reason the message that Amos brought was not
His message is primarily for Israel, however he gives
a message of impending doom for most of the neighboring nations as
well. In fact a part of the message is that all the people of the
area are judged because of their sin, yet to Israel the prophet
brings the opportunity to repent and turn back to God.
In the 1st and 2nd chapters Amos is introduced to us and he introduces his message
from God. Then the judgment of Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon,
Moab, and Judah are each listed for the people of Israel to
consider. In the latter part of the 2nd chapter the list of the
sins of Israel is also given along with their judgment. The
picture is one of great destruction and terror.
Near the center of chapter
3 the promise is of almost total destruction for the people of
Israel. The example of only small portions of the lamb being left
as the lion has finished feeding is the picture of Israel in the
near future. Chapter 4 shows us a people who are waiting for a
terrible destruction, and the tremendous problem of being very
proud of their righteousness as they are deep in sin.
The 5th chapter says,
"Fallen is Virgin Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own
land, with no one to lift her up." A promise that is very sure in
the mind of the Lord. The invitation is given a number of times in
the chapter, "Seek the Lord and live." In the latter part of the
5th chapter and the 6th chapter we find a lament to those
people who long for the day of the Lord and are complacent in
Zion, yet are not faithful to the Lord. Such pride is of no use
before the Lord.
In chapter 7 Amos
shows the message of the plumb line, which may compare with
Jesus' lesson of the straight and narrow path. In view of
this message he was invited by Amaziah the priest to return to his
home in Judah with his message of woe. In the 8th chapter Amos
saw the basket of ripe fruit, and the Lord declares that the time
is ripe for Israel. The chapter concludes with a description of a
famine in the land. Not a famine for food, but a famine of hearing
the word of God.
The last chapter completes
the picture of the destruction of the people of Israel. The
promise is made to destroy the wicked kingdom from the face of the
earth, with the exception of the house of Jacob. The book ends on a
note of hope for the world thru the house of Jacob. The hope of
Jesus is the only bright spot of this book.