God uses Amos, a lowly herdsman, who is burdened over the sins of the Northern Kingdom (Amos 1:1-2). First a prophecy against their neighbors (1:3 — 2:3). Next against Judah and Israel (2:4-16). Why (3:2,10)? An enemy is coming (3:11). The people talk the talk but don't walk the walk. God wants a river of righteous living (5:23-24).
Amos was only a farm laborer from the village of Tekoa in Judah, but he was willing to speak for God against sin even beyond the borders of the southern kingdom. He delivered his prophecy of impending judgment in Bethel, the site of one of Israel's two false worship centers and one of several residences of King Jeroboam II in the northern kingdom. This took place at a time when the northern kingdom was prospering financially and expanding its boundaries. Since the people of Israel were proud of their prosperity, it must have seemed ridiculous to hear this "outsider" shout: Hear this word that the Lord hath spoken against you, O children of Israel . . . I will punish you for all your iniquities (sins). . . . An adversary there shall be even round about the land; and he shall bring down thy strength from thee, and thy palaces shall be spoiled (plundered) (Amos 3:1-2,11). Because of their sins, destruction was inevitable; but, Amos' message concerning the coming judgment of God was completely ignored (2:6-8; 5:11-12).
Amaziah, the non-Levitical paid priest of King Jeroboam II, was quick to get word to the king about this disagreeable prophet from the southern kingdom. He interpreted the words of Amos to mean that Jeroboam would die by the sword; but the prophet had only stated what God had said: I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. . . . Amaziah said unto Amos . . . go, flee . . . into the land of Judah (7:9-12). The prophecy against the house of Jeroboam was fulfilled when Zachariah, Jeroboam's son, was assassinated by Shallum after reigning only six months. Shallum took his place, but he only reigned for one month before he, in turn, was murdered by Menahem (II Kin. 15:8-10,13-14).
God often uses ordinary people like Amos to proclaim His message. It is not what we possess in talents, nor how popular we may be, but how obedient we are that qualifies us to be used by the Lord. The greatest ability we can offer to God is availability.
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world . . . base things . . . which are despised . . . That no flesh should glory in His presence (I Cor. 1:26-29).
Thought for Today:
The Lord is far from the wicked: but He heareth the prayer of the righteous (Prov. 15:29).
As the fiery (Amos 1:4,7,10,12,14; 2:2,5; 5:6) judge (chap. 1 — 5). Jesus . . . was ordained of God to be the Judge (Acts 10:38-42; also II Tim. 4:1; Rev. 2:18-23). His eyes were as a flame of fire (Rev. 1:14; also 2:18).
2:13 pressed =burdened; 3:5 gin =trap; 3:14 visit =with punishment; 4:1 kine of Bashan were the fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands; but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women who encourage their husbands to do wrong; masters =husbands; 4:3 breaches =breaks in the city wall; cast them into the palace =cast them into the mire (dunghill); 4:9 blasting =blight; 5:21 smell =be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols =harps.
Pray for Staff: Mike Moore • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Rep. Dan Lungren (CA), and Rep. John Tanner (TN) • Country: Brazil (168 million) in South America • Major languages: Portuguese and Spanish • Religious freedom • 67% Catholic; 21% Protestant; 4% spiritist; .7% Buddhist; .7% Muslim; .15% Indigenous; 2.4% Other • Prayer Suggestion: Ask for forgiveness for particular sins (Ps. 51:1-9).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Thessalonians 1:4