by Rev. Chris Skinner
Amos lived and worked around the period 790-750BCE and was called by the Lord to go to the Northern Kingdom although he lived in the southern kingdom at Tekoa. He had no formal education only a burning desire to serve the Lord and coming from a different part of the country he could look at the problems objectively.
The book itself has 9 chapters most of which are occupied with setting out the transgressions of the Israelites by prophesies, sermons and visions. Very expressive examples are given of the state of the people of the time and the way the Lord works. Locusts and a plumb line appear in Chapter 7 and in the first two chapters a litany of the woes of the times are shown.
Amos could see the evil that prevailed due to self-seeking and self intelligence, idolatry and social injustice and moral and spiritual degradation and the message of the book is repentance or a turning away from wickedness and turning to the Lord.
In Chapters 1 and 2 a list of places is given where evil is rampant and if you look at the Hebrew meaning of the word of each place it can be seen that the qualities that these towns represent are only adhered to very superficially. The people are in external not internal worship because their whole lives are based on self. I am, sure we can reflect on the way our life is barren when we only think of ourselves and not of others.
At the very beginning of the book it says the Lord roars which means that the Lord was in great distress at the state of the people hence His call to Amos. an uneducated man. It is an example to us that we do not have to be educated to serve and minister for the Lord, only commitment love of God and the willingness to serve.
Finding God is about being alive to His presence in our life as we live it. By making the decision to change, the dynamics of our life change.
Towards the end of the last Chapter the whole mood changes to one of hope and the coming of the Lord. It talks about the Day of the Lord to come and the changes that will occur. In our lives we have visions and hopes for our lives, marriage, careers, friendships etc. If we only think of our needs and not others then these visions will struggle to come to fruition. Even if we are less selfish there are times when we will have to hang in there against many obstacles.
The last few verses look at a sieve being used and the mountains and hills flowing with wine and the land planted with what is given by the Lord. These are images of how our life can gain if the evil is sifted out and we bring together love and truth into acts of use. How if the seeds of our life are planted in the land given by the Lord then it will be stable, fruitful and satisfying.
The whole book shows the contrast between looking after ourselves and looking after others. Can we not see how governments, professionals etc if they make plans based on their own outlook rather then the needs of others it will not truly serve and be useful. This is the same in our life.
Suggested Application during the week
May we reflect on how much we are looking at life from our own perspective and not from others. Help us to see that the true coming of the Lord in our life can and will change our outlook and our ways.