Amos is a very neglected book of the Bible. However, our neglect does not detract from its value. “All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable (2 Tm 3:16). Amos is a strong message to unrepentant sinners, yet it contains a message of hope at its end. In some ways we might compare Amos to John the Baptist. We need to remember the time of the message of Amos. It was given in the old covenant era, and he speaks faithfully to the people in conformity with the terms of that covenant. Compare Ex 19:3-6; Dt 7:9-11; 28:1-68.
The book of Amos is highly relevant to us, because it tells of the judgment of God, the failure of people, the grace of God, and the difficulty of the task confronting God’s faithful servants.
I. The setting of the prophecy – 1:1
A. What we know about the human writer
1. His occupation—Amos was a shepherd, like Moses and David. He was not from the “schools of the prophets”, but he came from outside the usual religious institutions. He may have been rich or poor; we are not told much about him. He was already busy; God uses people who are in motion. One thing is clear: he knew God and his message.
Apply: We should accept or reject ministers on the basis of the correctness of the message they teach and the godliness of the way they live. Other matters are far less important.
2. His home—Amos was from Tekoa of Judah, which was six miles southeast of Bethlehem and eleven miles from Jerusalem. However, God sent him to minister to the northern kingdom of Israel.
B. The time and character of the time of his ministry
1. General facts
a. Jeroboam II was king of the northern tribes (2 Ki 14:23-29).
b. Uzziah reigned in the southern kingdom (2 Chrn 26:5-15).
c. Thus it was a time of power and prosperity for the kingdoms in general, but not for all the people, as we shall see, God willing. It was also a time of indulgence, idolatry, immorality, and injustice. (Sounds like twenty-first century America, huh?) Israel had a form of godliness, but denied its power (2 Tm 3:5).
Illustration: It was like an Indian summer before the final descent into winter.
2. Specifically, this prophetic message was given two years before the earthquake (cf. Zech 14:5). This was a notable even, spoken of long afterward.
Comment: Catastrophes alone do not produce repentance, but anger against God. Pray for grace, not judgment if you are truly concerned about our land.
3. Amos was one of the first of the writing prophets. He was a contemporary of Jonah and Hosea. Like we stated previously, he ministered to the northern kingdom, which followed the heresies of Jeroboam I (1 Ki 12:26-33). They had forgotten God and replaced his worship with outright idolatry at this point (Ho 13).
Comment: God did not send Amos on an easy mission. The Lord can put his faithful in tough situations, but in such circumstances the light looks brighter against the darkness.
Apply: We do not minister in colonial America or during the post World War II boom. We are in different times. But tough times bring their own opportunities to serve God.
II. The tone of the prophecy – 1:2
A. Amos speaks as one through whom the Lord was speaking. He is God’s spokesman. “This is what the Lord says.”
1. “The Lord roars” (cf. Am 3:9) – This is a warning before judgment, like a lion would give when he is about to strike (cf. Is 5:29). It is very natural for a shepherd like Amos to use this illustration to warn of serious danger.
2. The Lord speaks “from Zion”, the place of the temple, where God chose to reveal himself (Ex 25:21-22; Num 7:89; cf. 1 Ki 8).
B. The reaction that God’s roaring word causes in his creation
1. God has power over the universe he has made. God acts in history. Even the most remote places (represented by Carmel—the mountains) can’t escape when the Lord extends his hand. The fertile pastures also would be dried up. This judgment would hit hard, producing hunger and poverty.
2. See how dependent the creature is upon God. He can make our pastures dry up! But even if all others are thirsty, God can satisfy our thirst (Jn 7:37-39).
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://christmycovenant.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/frampton-dave.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Pastor Dave Frampton: When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church[/author_info] [/author] [button link=”http://www.newtownsquarebaptist.org/” color=”red” newwindow=”yes”] Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church[/button]