Today we begin our look at the book of Amos, written in approximately 762 B.C. Today we start with Amos 1:1-15. Let’s go!
Amos 1:1 (NIV) 1 The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa–
On verse 1a: Who was Amos? In addition to being a prophet, Amos was a shepherd, but no ordinary shepherd. The word Amos uses for “shepherd” in verse 1 is not the common Hebrew word for shepherd but a rare word that suggests that Amos was more a breeder of sheep. In other words, Amos was a businessman who probably owned large herds of sheep and had many shepherds working for him. Later on we will learn that Amos also planted and harvested sycamore trees. A man of standing in his community of Tekoa (about 10 miles south of Jerusalem), Amos was a ranch owner, a farmer and a prophet.
What can we learn from this? Don’t type cast yourself by your profession or job. No matter what your profession or job is, God wants to use you in His kingdom. You can be a businessman and God can use you to speak prophetically in a person’s life. God calls people from all walks of life to serve Him and to represent Him.
Amos 1:1-2 (NIV) 1 …what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. 2 He said: “The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.”
On verse 1b-2: The ancient historian Josephus records that a massive earthquake hit Israel in 760 B.C., so “two years before the earthquake” would suggest that this book was written in approximately 762 B.C. The book of Amos mainly concerns the northern kingdom of Israel at a time when Jeroboam II reigned as king over Israel and was leading Israel through a time of great economic prosperity. What can we learn from this? You might be prospering economically, but God is even more concerned about your condition spiritually.Thus God sends His servants like Amos to speak to that condition.
Amos 1:3-5 (NIV) 3 This is what the LORD says: “For three sins of Damascus, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because she threshed Gilead with sledges having iron teeth, 4 I will send fire upon the house of Hazael that will consume the fortresses of Ben-Hadad. 5 I will break down the gate of Damascus; I will destroy the king who is in the Valley of Aven and the one who holds the scepter in Beth Eden. The people of Aram will go into exile to Kir,” says the LORD.
On verses 3-15: In these verses, Amos delivers a message of judgment to various nations surrounding the Israelites: the Arameans (verses 3-5), the Philistines (verses 6-8), the people of Tyre (verses 9-10), the Edomites (verses 11-12) and the Ammonites (verses 13-15). Each message follows the same pattern:
“For three sins of [name of the nation or a major city in that nation], even for four, I will not turn back. Because of [a sin the nation committed against the people of Israel], I will send fire upon the walls of [that nation’s major city].”
From this I learn the following:
1.God is holy and just. He hates injustice and cannot turn a blind eye to sin.
2.God is incredibly loyal to and protective of His people. Even though Israel has done some things that have grieved God’s heart, God still loves Israel dearly and is fiercely committed to avenging her. Likewise,though we have sinned and broken God’s heart in so many ways, God remains loyal to us and fiercely committed to protecting us. That’s what Jesus did for the woman caught in adultery in John 8. That’s also what Jesus did for us at the cross.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are fiercely committed to protecting me and defending me against my enemies. Thank You for being my strong Protector and my loyal Friend. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!