Amos said of himself, “I am no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit” (7:14). He was from the village of Tekoa (1:1) just south of Jerusalem. Though he was from the southern kingdom, God called him to prophesy to Israel in the north. He began to prophesy two years before an earthquake (also mentioned in Zechariah 14:5), in the reign of Uzziah king of Judah and Jeroboam king of Israel.
His message was not well received. Amaziah, a priest at Bethel, accused Amos of conspiracy against Jeroboam and all Israel (7:10-11) and urged the prophet to return to Judah and never return (7:12-13). In chapters 1-2, Amos focused on the sins of the Philistines, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and Judah before settling on Israel. They had sold their brethren (2:6), committed sexual immorality (2:7), participated in paganism (2:8), disgraced those who were committed to the LORD (2:12), oppressed the poor (4:1), offered profane worship (4:4-5), perverted justice (5:12), praised God in vain (5:23), etc.. Their wickedness was exhaustive.
Amos is direct in speaking about God’s judgment against them. He admonished them: “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel!” (4:12). Some were so filled with contempt for the prophet’s message they invited the day of the LORD to come. Amos responded, “Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! For what good is the day of the LORD to you? It will be darkness, and not light” (5:18).
Amos promises a restoration (9:11-15). Israel was destroyed by Assyria, her people dispersed and the land populated by others. There was no restoration of the northern kingdom. Judah was destroyed by Babylon, but a remnant would return to rebuild the land of Judah. Jeremiah 3:18 indicates there were people from Israel who participated in this also. People from all the tribes of Israel were living in the southern kingdom (1 Chronicles 9:1-3; Ezra 8:24-25, 35; 10:9-10, 18-19, 25; Luke 2:36-38).
Though a return to Judah was commanded by Cyrus, there would ben an even greater restoration which Amos alludes to. James quoted Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:13-19, the Spirit of God indicating through James that Amos foretold the coming of the Messianic kingdom—the church.
Next week we continue with Obadiah…