Amos is an Old Testament prophet that denounced the rich for their luxury and selfish cruelty to the poor. Amos came from the village of Tekoah, about 6 miles S of Bethlehem in Judea. He describes himself as "no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was a herdsman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit." The Lord called Amos anyway and he prophesied concerning Israel in the reigns of Ussiah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam, King of Israel 786-746 BC. "The lion has roared, who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken, who can but prophesy?"

Amos was a southerner and called to denounce the north. His mission began two years before an earthquake of about 763 and five years thereafter. Joel, Hosea and Isaiah were also prophesying about this time. Amos prophesies the destruction that would be brought upon Israel for their exploitation and proclaims the judgment of God. "An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down your strength from you and your palaces shall be spoiled." There are so many prophets of today using Amos as proof texts for present truth that it is important that we pay attention to this book.

The prophets had fallen into disrepute, they had become mercenary and insincere. Commerce and religion were flourishing in the north, unequalled since the days of Solomon. Social corruption and the oppression of the poor and helpless were very prevalent. So Amos at Bethel burst forth with: "For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof, but I will send a fire." And is was the same message for different reasons to Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and finally Israel. The bulk of Amos' warnings were directed at Israel who was condemned because "they sold the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of shoes."

Israel has sinned like the nations around, and God will not spare her. Amos saw ho hope for the Northern Kingdom, God has sealed its fate. "Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth, saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob." "All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil will not overtake nor prevent us. In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen and close up the breaches thereof. I will raise up his ruins and I will build it as in the days of old."

Like always, God allows for salvation. "Seek the Lord and you shall live, lest He break out like fire in the house of Joseph." "For I know your manifest transgressions and your mighty sins; they afflict the just, they take a bribe and they turn aside the poor in the gate from their right. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time, for it is an evil time. Seek good and not evil that you may live and so the Lord, the God of hosts shall be with you as you have spoken. Hate the evil and love the good and establish judgment in the gate, it may be that the Lord God of hosts will be gracious unto the remnant of Joseph."
[374, BD, 380]

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