Wednesday 09 May 2018

Bible Book:

“Surely the Lord God does nothing, without revealing his secret to his servants the prophets.” (v. 7)

Amos 3:1-15 Wednesday 9 May 2018

Psalm: Psalm 56


Amos, a sheep breeder from Judah was active as a prophet around 750BC. He was not a professional prophet. Amos reminded the Israelites how God rescued them from Egypt and sent them prophets to warn them of judgement. He warned they would be conquered by their enemies and foretold their near annihilation.

Amos addressed the whole people, everyone, whom God brought out of slavery in Egypt. They were specially chosen and thus expected a special blessing. But in an unexpected twist, Amos informed them they would be punished for immoral behaviour.

Verses 3-8 present a series of images of natural causes and effects. Maybe Amos was defending his right to prophesy. When God spoke, revealing God’s own will to the prophet, the prophet had no choice but to allow God to speak through him. The role of the prophet was to speak God’s warning, to give the opportunity for repentance and so bring hope and avert disaster.

Another interpretation of the cause and effect imagery might be that when a people were corrupt, and God could not help but act because God’s nature is just. Many Israelites would not have considered their society particularly immoral. Maybe like us?

As in a trial, Ashdod (Assyria) and Egypt (neighbours of Israel) were called on by Amos to bear witness to the evils of Israel (verses 9-10). This was a complete contrast to many professional prophets in Israel who would have condemned the enemies of Israel for their immoral behaviour (as in Amos chapter 1). Here the enemies were to condemn Israel.

Amos outlined the judgement of the court in which Israel was found guilty. Punishment would come in the form of military conquest (verse 11). It would be devastating. And just enough of the nation would be left to show it once existed, just as a shepherd keeps the mangled remains of a sheep to prove it has been killed by a wild animal (verse 12).

Finally, Israel’s principal sanctuary at Bethel (and where Amos was likely prophesying) would be destroyed, along with the luxurious palaces and houses where the ruling elite lived.

To Ponder

  • Who do you think are our modern-day prophets? What are they saying to us?
  • What do you consider to be the role of a genuine prophet in the Christian tradition?
  • If Amos stood up in your church next Sunday, what might he say to you and your congregation? And what would your reaction be?
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