Current Message - Amos 7 - 29 - 09
TKC Ministries - Leon Hagins
During my research I found out some interesting things about Amos. Compared to some of the earlier prophets such as Elijah and Elisha, who were known for their deeds rather than their writings, Amos was one of the first prophets to actually write down his messages.
It’s also interesting that Amos was one of fourteen ’busy men that were called’ throughout scripture. Refs. Dakes bible pg. 1518
1 Amos from the flock - Amos 7:14-15
2 Moses from the flock - Exodus 3
3 Gideon from threshing wheat - Judges 6:11
4 Samuel from ministering to Eli - 1 Samuel 2:18-36
5 Saul while hunting his father’s mules - 1 Samuel 9
6 David from the flock - 1 Samuel 16
7 Jeroboam from rulership over the house of Joseph - 1 King 11:28-40
8 Elisha from plowing - 1 Kings 19:19
9 Nehemiah while serving his king as cupbearer - Nehemiah 1:11-2:10
10 Daniel while serving as a enuch in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar - Daniel 1:19
11 Peter and Andrew from fishing - Matthew 4:18-20
12 John and James from fishing - Matthew 4:21-22
13 Matthew from the tax office - Matthew 9:9
14 Paul from persecuting and killing saints - Acts 9:1-25
Amos 1:1 -The words of Amos, who was among the herdmen 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.
Amos 7:14-15 - Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah ( the chief priest, who was no big fan of Amos) , I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycamore fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, go prophesy unto my people Israel.
Many think Amos was a common herdsman or farmer, but actually his writings show he had more knowledge than the common farmhand. His words are beautiful , fiery and richly poetic. They also show a knowledge of the history of Judah and Israel, and the kingdoms and empires that surrounded them - something you wouldn‘t expect from a common farm hand.. He may have been a substantial owner of flocks of sheep and goats and of herds of cattle, and may have owned grooves of sycamore trees, which provided his cattle with feed. It is very likely that the man God called was a relatively prosperous and well educated individual.
Amos made sure he separated himself from the professional prophets of that day who made their living foretelling the future, and often allowing themselves to be corrupted by royal patrons. Amos 7:14 - I am no prophet nor a prophet’s son.
On July 23 2009, a news story broke out of the state of New Jersey. Forty four people, which included some government officials along with some religious leaders, were arrested in a government probe, which had lasted about a year, that had targeted the corruption going on in that state.
Not only was there corruption concerning finances but there were allegations concerning humans organs being purchased at one price and sold with outrageous interest attached.
When Amos appears on the scene in Israel the society was in a similar situation. The rich people were exploiting the poor, cheating their customers, and buying off judges.
What was unfortunate about this scenario was that the people Amos was speaking against, thought that they were on the receiving end of God’s blessing. Jeroboam II had been on the throne for about 25 years. To the northeast of Israel Assyria and Syria had been battling each other to the point where they wore each other down. So Israel, having had trouble in the past, from that region, was now free from pressure from that part of the country. Also Egypt, from the south had declined in power. When Jeroboam had recaptured some of Israel’s lost territory and continued north taking much of Lebanon, it put Israel in control of territory they had not had control of since the days of Solomon - this had to be a clear sign of the blessing of the Lord……unfortunately this was not the case.
The people living under Jeroboam during this time enjoyed prosperity such as the region had seldom seen. They could lie on beds of ivory and eat lambs from the flock, sing idle songs to the sound of the harp, and drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils Amos 6:4-6. They truly felt they were the objects of God’s blessing. Amos observed that in the midst of all this wealth and prosperity the people of Israel were very religious, making continuous rounds of sacrifice at the shrine of Bethel. This is similar to the world in which we live in today, there’s a whole lot of religion but not much of it has to do with the real issues that God is concerned with.
It’s interesting that when Amos first arrives in Israel he begins to tell them what God has revealed to him. Surly the message sounded reassuring, to the belief that God was blessing them. The messages are for seven of Israel’s surrounding neighbors. God has had it with the wickedness of these neighbors, and is getting ready to lower the boom on them. Let’s take a look at the areas and see why God is fixing to give them a good whipping.
Amos’s journey took him from Tekoa across the border into Israel where he entered a kingdom that was prospering and flourishing. The people were living in an era of good feeling. They had exceptional military growth, the economy was booming as was the religious movement. However the religion was full of injustice and corruption in society.
Each of these seven nations were eventually devastated by war either by the Assyrians, Babylonians, or regional armies. By the time Alexander the Great and his Greeks arrive in 300s BC, all seven of these nations are gone. Even the Jews, controlled by Persians , remain a kingless community. Ref. Complete guide to the bible.
The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished. Amos 2:6
Amos has devoted a total of 18 verses to these seven nations. But the last nation, Israel, not only gets the 18 verses, it gets an additional 100 verses.
The prophets biggest complaint is social injustice. He complains about oppression of the poor (Am. 2:6-7) ; sexual immorality (2:7) ; corruption (3:10 ; 8:5) ; injustice in the courts (5:7,12) ; selfishness (6:1-6) ; and the worship of idols (7:9).
As you read through the bible, both old and new testaments , there is on thing that God makes absolutely clear, and that is we are to help the helpless. During that ancient period of time, the society did not have a welfare program. So orphans, widows and immigrants were especially vulnerable. Deuteronomy 10:17-18 - He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed. He ensures that orphans and widows receive justice. He shows love to foreigners living among you and gives them food and clothing.
However, Israel does not follow this model, instead they
1 “sell honorable people for silver, and poor people for a pair of sandals. (Amos 2:6) Some may feel this was an exaggeration, but the point is the rich are collecting the smallest of debts by going so far as to sell the debtors themselves.
2 They trample helpless people in the dust, shove the oppressed out of the way. (Amos 2:7)
3 At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of God they drink wine bought with unjust fines (Amos 2:8). These poor souls have the gall to think they are religious, even though they steal from the poor.
4 How you hate honest judges! You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts (Amos 5:10, 12).
5 “You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent (Amos 5:11).
These are people who would tax widows selling a few loafs of bread and then use the money to buy a cruise ticket to Greece.
Brother Amos has a message for hardcore crooks like these: Prepare to meet your God in judgment (Amos 4:12).
Israel’s judgment day - The people of Israel will certainly become captives in exile, far from their homeland. (Amos 7:17)
I will no longer ignore all her sins (Amos 7:8)
Amos 4:4-1 - God calls the people “fat cows” J
Amos 4:2-3 - Every last one of you will be dragged away like a fish on a hook! You will be led out through the ruins of the wall
In 722 BC. Israel makes the bad decision to stop paying its required annual taxes to the Assyrian Empire. The Assyrian king , Shalmaneser, gets together an invasion force to collect the taxes, along with anything else they so desire. They surround the city and stay there for 3 years, cutting off their supplies. They starving citizen finally surrender.
Shamaneser has had it with this rebellious nation, so he decides deport all of Israel’s leading citizens. Israel and the 10 Jewish tribes that once made up this nation, are scattered abroad. Ref. “The complete guide to the bible” by Stephen M. Miller.
When I consider our present society, and then read the words of Amos, my spirit trembles. We’re dealing with the same God who sent Amos on a task of warning and pending judgment, to a people who are living it up without any consideration of those in need. Not to mention the fact that we also live in a society where having a good relationship with the good Lord is becoming less and less a necessity. Many folks are so entranced with making money, living it up, and having fun, and there‘s nothing wrong with having fun. However most people are totally unaware that God is looking down on this society with disgust. In many cases the same mindset may have set in, as in Amos’s time, where people actually feel that they are prospering due to the hand and blessing of God, only to find out that such is not so
This also can be brought down to an individual level. Where do stand in relationship to God? Do you ever talk to God? , ever read or listen to his word? , Do you ever even consider the things of God? Do you ever help someone in need, or less fortunate than you? These stories in the bible are a tremendous resources for looking into the mind and thoughts of our creator, and how he desires for us to live, help and love one another. We should really take heed to God’s word, and what he tells us to do, otherwise the end shall not be good.
Damascus - capital of Aram in what now is Syria. The Arameans committed war crimes. “They dragged logs with spikes over the people” Amos 1:3 CEVa leading city of the Philistines in what is now Palestinians Gaza Strip. They deported entire Jewish villages and sold many Jews into slavery.
Gaza - a leading city of the Philistines in what is now Palestinians Gaza Strip. They deported entire Jewish villages and sold many Jews into slavery.
Tyre - main seaport city of Phonecia in what is now Lebanon. Ditto the Philistine charge. And add a broken peace treaty.
Edom - in what is now southern Jordan. Descended from Jacob’s brother, Esau, and therefore related to the Jews, Edomites fought the Jews and showed them no mercy.
Ammon - in what is now northern Jordan. Ammonites committed genocide against the Jews, even cutting open pregnant women in merciless attacks.
Moab - in what is now central Jordan. The Moabites desecrated a corpse, burning the bones of Edom’s King. Some ancients taught that cremation deprived the person’s spirit of the rest he or she could enjoy from a burial.
Judah - the southern Jewish nation. They disobeyed God’s law.