Bible Survey Amos
Amos 1:1 the author of the Book of Amos as the Prophet Amos.
Amos was a prophet from the Southern kingdom of Judah called to deliver a message primarily to the Northern tribes of Israel.
He was not of priestly, or noble descent, but worked as a sheep breeder and a tender of sycamore fruit (7:14).
Amos’ name means “burden bearer”.
Amos was a contemporary of the prophets Jonah (2 Kings 14:25), Hosea (Hosea 1:1), and Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).
Amos came from Tekoa, a small town about 18km South of Jerusalem and 8km from Bethlehem.
The village of Tekoa sits on an elevation of 2,700 feet overlooking the wilderness where John the Baptist, eight centuries later, grew up.
As a young boy, Amos would have learned of the ministry of the prophet Jonah and he may have witnessed some of the ministry of Elijah and Elisha.
Later in his ministry he would have known of the ministry of the prophet Hosea who continued his work after Amos concluded his ministry
Amos was humble in not hiding his station in life.
Amos was wise in not preaching over the heads of the people.
Amos was fearless in not tickling their ears, but boldly proclaimed the truth.
Amos was faithful in proclaiming the Word of God, even when it was unpalatable and unpopular to his hearers.
Amos had a refreshing rugged frankness about him as he tore the blinders off peoples’ eyes and showed them the inevitable consequences of their idolatry and injustice.
Although Amos had no religious training and was one of the poorest kind of farmers, God spoke to him and, as he so eloquently put it, “when a lion roars, who can but fear! When the Lord God speaks, who can but proclaim His message?” (Amos 3:8).
God called Amos while he was occupied with his daily work and sent him, with shepherds crook in hand, to gather his straying people.
In much the same way, God had called Gideon while he was busy at the threshing floor and David while he was caring for sheep.
Date of Writing:
The Book of Amos was likely written between 760 and 753 B.C.
The Book of Amos was written in the mid-eighth century B.C. during the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah (790-739 B.C.) and King Jeroboam II of Israel (793-753 B.C.).
Two years before an earthquake (1:1; Zechariah 14:5) about 760 B.C.
Amos ministered while Uzziah was on the throne of Judah and Jeroboam II was king of Israel.
It was a time of great prosperity.
Because of the successful ministry of Jonah to Nineveh, the two kingdoms were at peace and reached the summit of their prosperity (2 Chronicles 26; 2 Kings 14).
Assyria had not yet risen as a great power and there seemed no significant threat that the people of Israel needed to worry about.
God used Amos and Hosea to alert His people to their danger.
Contrasts with the Prophet Hosea
There are some remarkable contrasts between the ministries of Hosea and Amos.
While Hosea was an urban Northerner, Amos was a rural Southerner.
While Hosea wooed the people, Amos warned them.
Hosea made a tender appeal. Amos presented tough accusations.
Hosea focused on the mercy of God. Amos emphasized the justice of God.
While Hosea spoke much of God’s love, Amos proclaimed God’s wrath.
Hosea emphasized God’s pity, while Amos emphasized His purity.
Hosea dealt with spiritual sin, whereas Amos dealt primarily with social sin.
Hosea targeted idolatry. Amos targeted injustice.
Hosea was mostly national in his focus. Amos was international.
The key words in Hosea were: know God.
The main emphasis of Amos was: seek God.
Purpose of Writing:
Amos is a shepherd and a fruit picker from the Judean village of Tekoa when God calls him, even though he lacks an education or a priestly background.
Amos’ mission is directed to his neighbor to the north, Israel.
His messages of impending doom and captivity for the nation because of her sins are largely unpopular and unheeded, however, because not since the days of Solomon have times been so good in Israel.
Amos’ ministry takes place while Jeroboam II reigns over Israel, and Uzziah reigns over Judah.
Amos began his ministry in Bethel.
Bethel was the religious capital of the Northern kingdom of Israel.
There king Jeroboam had set up golden calves for the people to worship (1 Kings 12:25-33).
Amos 2:4, “This is what the LORD says: ‘For three sins of Judah, even for four, I will not turn back [my wrath]. Because they have rejected the law of the LORD and have not kept his decrees, because they have been led astray by false gods, the gods their ancestors followed.”
Amos 3:7, “Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing His plan to His servants the prophets.”
Amos 9:14, “I will bring back my exiled people Israel; they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them. They will plant vineyards and drink their wine; they will make gardens and eat their fruit.”
Amos can see that beneath Israel’s external prosperity and power, internally the nation is corrupt to the core.
The sins for which Amos chastens the people are extensive: neglect of God’s Word, idolatry, pagan worship, greed, corrupted leadership, and oppression of the poor.
Amos begins by pronouncing a judgment upon all the surrounding nations, then upon his own nation of Judah, and finally the harshest judgment is given to Israel.
His visions from God reveal the same emphatic message: judgment is near. The book ends with God’s promise to Amos of future restoration of the remnant.
The Book of Amos ends with a glorious promise for the future.
“’I will plant Israel in their own land, never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,’ says the LORD your God” (9:15).
The ultimate fulfillment of God’s land promise to Abraham (Gen. 12:7; 15:7; 17:8) will occur during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (see Joel 2:26,27). Revelation 20 describes the thousand-year reign of Christ on the earth, a time of peace and joy under the perfect government of the Savior Himself.
At that time, believing Israel and the Gentile Christians will be combined in the Church and will live and reign with Christ.
Sometimes we think we are a “just-a ________”!
We are just-a salesman, farmer, or housewife.
Amos would be considered a “just-a.”
He wasn’t a prophet or priest or the son of either.
He was just a shepherd, a small businessman in Judah.
Who would listen to him?
But instead of making excuses, Amos obeyed and became God’s powerful voice for change.
God has used ordinary people such as shepherds, carpenters, and fishermen all through the Bible.
Whatever you are in this life,
God can use you as long as you are true to His WORD and stay close to His HEART.