Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Introduction to Amos

His name means burden or burden-bearer. Not unlike his fellow minor prophets, Amos had a burden to lay before a people--this time, Israel. A sheepherder from Tekoa, a village south of Jerusalem in Judah, God called Amos to minister to the tribes of northern Israel--Jonah's pre-Nineveh assignment.

Again, as in Jonah's time of service, Israel enjoyed a time of prosperity under King Jeroboam II. Although the nation was physically blessed, Jeroboam II was not a God-honoring king. The story, with Jonah's prophecy for Israel, is found in II Kings 14: 23-27. God's people had experienced great suffering prior to Jeroboam's rule. Out of compassion, God restores them through this evil king, who solidified the borders of the nation to significant status.

This was not a time of war, either, with neither Judah nor Assyria having issues with Israel. My study Bible offers that Assyria was quiet due to the repentance of Nineveh.

Spiritually, however, this was a time of vast decline. With God saving Israel through extraordinary means [again!], one would think it was a time of praise and thanksgiving. Sadly, as is all too evident in our worldly world, His grace went unrecognized, which set the stage for Amos' message.

Amos received God's Word through visions, so we can expect the text to have facts mixed with symbolic references. Israel's specific sins are described in detail and God's judgment is clearly spoken. But, there is hope at the end, as chapter 9 closes with words of restoration.

But, next week, judgment is coming. For whom? ....'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Amos 1: 1-5

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).