Amos, whose name means ‘burden’, was the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had no prophetic pedigree. A native of Judah, God sent him to prophesy in neighbouring Israel during a time of great peace and prosperity (1:1). His message was simple: the Lord had roared, and was going to destroy Israel for their sins.
Broadly speaking, their sins were of two types. One was indifference and a lack of concern for those who were suffering. This indifference went hand-in-hand with some serious self-indulgence. Examples: 2:6-8, 4:1-3, 5:11-12, 6:3-7, 8:4-6. The second sin was empty religion. They went through all the motions, but their hearts were elsewhere. Examples: 4:4-5, 5:21-23.
Am I the only one who finds it troubling that these same charges can be made against many today who profess to be Christians?
Through Amos, God was warning His wayward people. It would be another 40 years or so before the Assyrians would come and carry off the entire nation. He tries to get their attention through famine, drought, blight, mildew and locusts, plagues and other disasters, but still they didn’t return to Him. Eventually, His patience ran out.
The passage in 9:1-10 is probably the darkest in the book, as God describes the judgment He’ll bring. Then, suddenly, the mood changes as the prophet switches to an oracle of restoration. Restoration for those who seek Him.
The Lord will judge, but He also provides a way to escape His wrath: by entering into a living, loving relationship with Him. That is surely amazing!
Sources: Mike Bullmore, Jonathan Fletcher