Amos 1 -- 5
Amos was only a laborer from the village of Tekoa in Judah, but he was willing to speak out for God against sin, even beyond the borders of his own nation. Amos delivered his prophecy of impending judgment in Bethel at a time when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was prospering economically and expanding its boundaries.
Since the people of Israel were proud of their prosperity, it must have been a rude awakening to hear this "outsider" shout: Hear this Word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt, saying, You only have I known (chosen) of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together, except they be agreed? (Amos 3:1-3).
Amos courageously warned the Northern Kingdom that, because of its sins: Thus says the Lord God; An adversary . . . shall surround the land; and he shall bring down your strongholds, and your palaces shall be spoiled (plundered) (3:11). The prophet's message concerning the judgment of God was both ignored and rejected, while the Israelites' moral and spiritual corruption made their downfall certain (2:6-8; 5:11-12).
Amos spoke as if the death of the nation had already taken place: The virgin of Israel has fallen; she shall no more rise (5:2). However, the people did not take the prophet seriously when he said: The Lord. . . . knows . . . your mighty sins. . . . Seek good, and not evil, that you may live: and so the Lord, the God of hosts, shall be with you (5:4,12,14).
Amaziah, the priest at Bethel, was quick to get word to King Jeroboam II about this disagreeable prophet. He twisted the words of Amos to say that Jeroboam would die by the sword, but the prophet only stated what God had said: I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword. . . . Amaziah said to Amos . . . go, flee away to the land of Judah (7:9-12). However, the prophecy of Amos was fulfilled when Zachariah, Jeroboam's son, was assassinated by Shallum, who took his place and reigned for one month (II Kings 15:8-10,13).
God often uses ordinary people like Amos to proclaim His message. It is not what we possess in talents, or how much wealth we may give, but how obedient we are, that qualifies us to be used and blessed by Him. Regardless of circumstances, opposition, or public opinion, God calls His servants to remain faithful to Him. But Israel ignored her covenant responsibility as the chosen people of God and continued to disregard His commandments.
As Christians, we too have a miraculous heritage. We have been saved from the bondage of sin, delivered from spiritual death and satanic control, and empowered by His Holy Spirit to overcome sin and walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Like the Israelites, we are tempted to be self-sufficient despite the abundant provision the Lord has given us. It's easy to either be pulled down by our own personal problems or to become independent because of our material blessings so that we become ungrateful, ignoring the responsibilities of discipleship.
We need to continually remind ourselves that all of us can do something to teach all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you (Matthew 28:19-20).
You see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh . . . (according to human standards) are called (I Corinthians 1:26).
As the Creator (Amos 5:8). By His Son . . . He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:2-3; also Rev. 4:11).
2:13 pressed means burdened; 3:5 gin means trap; 3:14 visit the transgressions means judge their sins; 4:1 kine of Bashan were the finest fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands -- but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women; masters means husbands; 4:3 breaches means breaks in the city wall; 4:9 blasting means blight; 5:21 smell means be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols means harps.
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