"STUDIES IN THE MINOR PROPHETS" Amos - The Country Prophet (1:1-2:16) INTRODUCTION 1. In our survey of "The Minor Prophets", we have already considered... a. Obadiah, who prophesied of the judgment to befall Edom b. Joel, who proclaimed a locust plague as a harbinger of "the day of the Lord" c. Jonah, God's messenger to the Assyrian city of Nineveh 2. Our next prophet is Amos... a. A shepherd and gatherer of sycamore fruit called by God to prophesy
- Am 7:14-15 b. Who proclaimed God's message concerning eight nations, with an emphasis on the northern kingdom of Israel 3. His book is divided into three sections... a. A series of "oracles" concerning sin and judgment of eight nations (ch. 1-2) b. A series of "sermons" concerning the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 3-6) c. A series of "visions" regarding the sin and judgment of Israel (ch. 7-9) [This lesson will examine the first section, with a look at the "oracles" Amos proclaimed against eight nations. We begin with a reading of Am 1:1-2, which serves as an...] I. INTRODUCTION (1:1-2) A. THE MAN... 1. NAME - Amos means "burden-bearer" 2. HOME - The village of Tekoa a. 12 miles south of Jerusalem, 18 miles west of the Dead Sea b. Near the wilderness of Judea, a very rugged area -- So while he was Judah, he primarily prophesied against Israel in the north 3. OCCUPATION - "a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit."(Am 7:14) a. An outdoorsman, accustomed to the wilds of nature, and of hard, honest toil b. It would be easy for him to have little sympathy for the lazy and materialistic conduct of his northern kinsman 4. CHARACTER a. Not known for his sympathy or warmth, but for his sense of justice and right b. "Not a sob is to be found in his book for the nation of wicked apostates, and there is only a sigh for the poor" (Hailey) c. He is reminiscent of John the Baptist B. THE DATE... 1. He prophesied in the days of: a. Uzziah, king of Judah b. Jeroboam II of Israel 2. Two years before an earthquake 3. While the actual date is unknown, 755 B.C. is often suggested C. THE PEOPLE... 1. His audience is primarily the northern kingdom of Israel 2. Conditions which characterized them at this time: a. Wealthy, enjoying great luxury b. Morally, religiously, and politically corrupt D. HIS MESSAGE... 1. In Am 1:2, we see a vivid picture of the Lord as a lion whose roar to the north reaches all the way to Mt. Carmel 2. This describes what God is doing through Amos, proclaiming a fiery message of condemnation and judgment against Israel and the surrounding nations 3. "The people of Israel were now at the summit of worldly prosperity, but were rapidly filling up the measure of their sins. The mission of Amos was, therefore, rather to threaten than to console. He rebukes, among other things, the corruption of their manners, which kept pace with their prosperity; he charges the great men with partiality as judges, and violence towards the poor; and he foretells, as a punishment from God, the captivity of the ten tribes in a foreign country..." - The Bible Handbook, Angus and Green [With verse 2 as a good preview of the nature of Amos' prophecy, let's now survey the first main section of the book of Amos...] II. THE "ORACLES" OF SIN AND JUDGMENT UPON THE NATIONS (1:3-2:16) A. DAMASCUS - Am 1:3-5 1. SIN - cruelty toward the inhabitants of Gilead (the tribes of Gad and Reuben) 2. JUDGMENT - destruction and captivity a. Hazael was the murderer of Ben-Hadad I, and usurper of his throne - 2Ki 8:7-15 b. Ben-Hadad II was the son of Hazel - cf. 2Ki 13:3,22-25 3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians - cf. 2Ki 16:1-9 B. GAZA (PHILISTIA) - Am 1:6-8 1. SIN - engaging in slave traffic 2. JUDGMENT - total devastation 3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians C. TYRE - Am 1:9-10 1. SIN - slave traffic; did not remember the covenant of "brotherhood" (between Solomon and Hiram? - cf. 1Ki 5:12) 2. JUDGMENT - destruction 3. FULFILLMENT - started by Nebuchadnezzar; finished by Alexander the Great D. EDOM - Am 1:11-12 1. SIN - cruelty to brethren - cf. Ob 1:10-12 2. JUDGMENT - destruction upon Teman (capital) and Bozrah (another chief city) 3. FULFILLMENT - by the Nabateans, ca 400 B.C. E. AMMON - Am 1:13-15 1. SIN - murder of pregnant women in Gilead (the tribes of Gad and Reuben) 2. JUDGMENT - destruction of Rabbah (capital) and captivity 3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon F. MOAB - Am 2:1-3 1. SIN - burned the king of Edom's bones to lime 2. JUDGMENT - destruction of the chief city of Kerioth 3. FULFILLMENT - by the Babylonians G. JUDAH - Am 2:4-5 1. SIN - apostasy from the Law 2. JUDGMENT - Jerusalem (the capital) to be destroyed 3. FULFILLMENT - by Nebuchadnezzar, 586 B.C. H. ISRAEL - Am 2:6-16 1. SIN - several sins are listed... a. Social injustice (slave trade and abuse of the poor) b. Immorality (prostitution) c. Idolatry (worshipping other gods) d. Rebellion against God, who... a. Cast out the Amorites before them b. Delivered them from the land of Egypt c. Gave them prophets and Nazarites, whom they corrupted -- The effect of which weighed God down like a cart full of sheaves - Am 2:13 2. JUDGMENT - their inability to flee when destruction comes upon them 3. FULFILLMENT - by the Assyrians in 722-721 B.C. - 2Ki 17:5-23 [It is apparent that the focus in this section is primarily upon the northern kingdom of Israel, even though Judah did not escape condemnation. What lessons might we glean from these first two chapters...?] III. LESSONS FROM THE "ORACLES" OF AMOS A. GOD HOLDS THE NATIONS OF MEN ACCOUNTABLE... 1. He was not just concerned with His covenant people of Israel 2. As we saw with Obadiah and Jonah, God judged the surrounding nations as well 3 As Farrar says of Amos: "His whole message centers in the common prophetic conviction that God is the sole and righteous Governor of the world, judging the people righteously, and when they rebel, dashing them to pieces like a potter's vessel." 2. The same authority is given to Christ today! - cf. Mt 28:18; Re 1:5; 2:26-27 B. APOSTASY AND CRUELTY TREATED ALIKE... 1. God condemned: a. The heathens for their cruelty b. Judah and Israel for their apostasy from the Law 2. But their judgments were basically the same! C. THE STANDARDS TO WHICH NATIONS WERE HELD ACCOUNTABLE... 1. The heathen were judged for their violation of basic principles of righteousness 2. The people of God were judged by their faithfulness to God's revealed Word! -- Akin to what we find Paul writing in Ro 2:12-15 CONCLUSION 1. In our next lesson we will continue our study of Amos... a. Looking at chapters 3-6, which concentrate on the sins and judgment of Israel b. Where more lessons can be gleaned for us to apply today 2. Having read the judgments God pronounced upon the eight nations... a. We are reminded that God is a righteous GOD b. One who holds men and nations accountable for their actions Are we ready for that great Day of Judgment, in which we will one day be held accountable for our actions? As Paul wrote: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men..." (2Co 5:10-11a) Are you willing to let the Word of God persuade you to do what is right?