Amos, name means burden or burden-bearer, was a shepherd called by God to prophesy to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. At that time Israel was a very rich and spoiled culture.
Chapter 1 through 2:5 is prophesy against Northern Israel’s neighbors – Damascus, Gaze, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah. Amos uses a paragraph to describe the sins of each kingdom. 2:6-8 Lists of five sins for which Israel will be crushed. Is. 30:10-11 They didn’t want the prophets saying what is right and wrong; they only wanted pleasant things. Stop confronting us with the Holy One, they demanded. Paul speaks of those who have itching ears—who only want to hear good things. Does that sound like contemporary prophets/preachers? 15 God asks for repentance, they answer “No, we’ll just run away on our horses.” Sort of “we’ll do it our own way.”
3:2 Israel was highly favored by God. This makes her even more obligated to serve God. Since she did not do so, her punishment would be most grievous. “To whom much is given, much is required.”
3:7 This verse reminds me of Jesus telling the disciples that he has made known all things to them because they were his friends (John 15:15).
4:1 Women called “cows” who oppressed the poor and needy, lay on couches and ordered their husbands to bring them drinks. WOW!
4:4,5 They were proud of their form of worship, bring sacrifices, tithes, and freewill offerings, even as they were sinning in Bethel and Gilgal. God had tried to get them to repent by various means: Famine (v.6), Drought (v.7,8), Plant disease and locusts (v.9), Plagues and war (v. 10), Fire (v.11). None of these things worked so they are going to account to God “face to face” – meet your God (v.12).
5:3 Ninety percent of the men are going to be killed. 5: 4-6 God renews his call to them to repent “seek me and live” 14 seek good, not evil 5:21-24 God refuses, even hates, ritual worship.
6:4-6 Description of the rich and lazy, selfishly heartless over the ruin coming to their country. Woe to these people. They are v. 2 self confident, 3 procrastinators, 4 lazy, gluttons 5 entertained 6 drinkers, 7:1 Proud. Look over that list. Know any leaders like that?
7:1-9 Three visions: First, locusts bringing devastation to the nation, second, fire continuing the judgment, third, the Lord with a plumb line announcing that he will no longer wait for them to measure up. He will wait no longer. (Amos was likely a contemporary to Joel. Amos predicts the locusts, Joel witnesses the locusts.)
7:5-6 God relented in response to Amos’ intercession regarding the fire. We know he did send the locusts and he stuck with the order to “measure up” v. 8-9
7:10-17 Amaziah, the priest, tells the king, Jeroboam. Then he warns Amos and tells him to stop prophesying and get out. Amos answers that he is not a prophet, he is a shepherd who also took care of sycamore trees, but he has to follow God’s orders. Predicts Amaziah’s family troubles.
8:1-3 Fourth vision, basket of ripe fruit. Israel will no longer be spared; they are “ripe for picking.” 4-6 charges regard rich and greedy taking advantage of the poor. Dangers in a capitalistic system like we have in America. Only works when people are honest and care for each other. Greed is a pitfall of the sinful man. See footnote for my further views on capitalism and socialism. Since our country is in such a socialism/capitalism crises right not, I will probably re-blog these posts before long. Socialism sounds so enticing and “Christian.” It is not.
9:1-8 Fifth vision, the Lord pronouncing curses on the people. But a few will be saved. 11-15 Israel will be restored and blessings and prosperity will return.