Amos 1:1 - 15
ESV - 1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. 2 And he said: "The Lord roars from Zion and utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds mourn, and the top of Carmel withers.
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Rather than having a religious background, Amos was a shepherd. Although he lived in Judah, he was called by God to prophesy to the northern kingdom of Israel. The ten northern tribes of Israel had turned their back on God after the split between Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah (consisting of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) following the death of Solomon (as described in 1 Kings 12). They had turned to the worship of idols and created a new order of priests whom God had not ordained. In the time of Amos, the rich were oppressing the poor, and judges were taking bribes. Amos was sent to them to warn them of impending judgment from God. He prophesied that Israel's king would die, and that Israel itself would be carried off into exile by Assyria, which would be rightful and just punishments for Israel's disobedience. Amos emphasized that God was sovereign, and that nothing could thwart His plans. However, despite this message of condemnation, Amos also offered hope in a prediction that Israel would eventually be restored from its captivity, and once again be reunited with Judah under the line of kings descended from David. Portions of Amos' prophecy were cited in the New Testament by Stephen during his defense before the Sanhedrin (Amos 5:25, quoted in Acts 7:42); and by James in his speech regarding the question of the need to circumcise Gentile converts to Christianity (Amos 9:11-12, quoted in Acts 15:16-17).
Amos was a prophet from Tekoa. Tekoa was a small town on the edge of the wilderness of Judea. It was about 5 miles southeast of Bethlehem. He was referred to himself as a sheepbreeder, he likely owned a few flocks of sheep. In Amos 7:14, He says, " I was no prophet, nor was I the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherded and a tender of sycamore fruit." Amos was taken by the Lord. He had no desire to become a prophet. The sycamore fig tree bears small fruit that isn't desirable. Each fruit had to be hand pierced for it to ripen properly. It was laborious. This was Amos' job,also. Western Judah was the oasis of Jericho. It was here that these figs grew. Shepherds brought their flocks here, in late summer, after other pastures were dried up. Landowners would allow grazing in exchange for piercing on their fruit. Thus the shepherd could feed his flock, while He watched his sheep. Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam. (792-740 B.C.) Amos prophetic time was very short. The theme of Amos' book is God's justice. Justice in a godly way promotes good relationships between people. It also promotes a good relationship with God. Amos' ministry was to call leaders to reform the injustices against the poor and weak.it was necessary to preserve the nation. His stirring call was, "Let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream." (5:24, Amos)
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