Amos’s Context: As a contemporary of Hosea and Isaiah, Amos ministered during what was likely the height of Israel’s economic prosperity. However, the nation was spiritually bankrupt. Spiritual idolatry and immorality were rampant and led to severe injustice and oppression of the vulnerable
“In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old, 12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by my name,” declares the Lord who does this. 13 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows the seed; the mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it. 14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit. 15 I will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be uprooted out of the land that I have given them,” says the Lord your God (Amos 9:11-15 ESV)
Amos’s Message – Theological Theme(s): The people had erroneously placed their trust in economic wealth and military power instead of the LORD. This misplaced trust led to corruption at all levels of society and serves as a major theme in Amos’s preaching. The breakdown of justice and oppression of the poor and vulnerable by the rich and powerful is a manifestation of a nation’s sin.
The religious hypocrisy that so characterized the nation of Israel is the second major theme of Amos. Although religion was enthusiastically practiced during this era, it was filled with a lack of faithfulness to God’s precepts. Religion that is orthodox in style but disobedient in personal and social behavior is empty and meaningless.
Significance of Amos’s Message for Christians:
1. The LORD is a mighty King who is the absolute ruler of the nations.
2. Orthodox religious practices must be accompanied by orthodox living.
3. When economics surpass true religion as the chief concern of a society, corruption and oppression are soon to follow.
4. Idolatry is often hidden beneath genuine religious practices.
5. God will rebuild what sin has torn down.
Amos in the New Testament
Amos New Testament
5:25-27 Acts 7:42-43
9:11-12 Acts 15:16-17
Further Study on Amos 3:8 (see also Amos 1:2):
Consider the mandate to proclaim God’s Word in Amos 3:8 in light of the Great Commission given to Christians in Matthew 28:18-20.
1. What metaphor did Amos employ to describe God’s voice (message) in 1:2? Also, how would the use of such a metaphor have been understood by a prophet who had earned a living as a shepherd?
2. According to Amos 3:8, what was one of the motivating factors for preaching God’s Word?
3. Is the Great Commission an option for Christians? Why or why not?