Series: Best Book In the BibleEvery Christian knows the importance of reading their Bible, but many are overwhelmed with the task of devouring such a monstrous book! Often times, when Christians lose steam in their yearly reading plans, they can become frustrated and feel defeated. It is for this reason that individual book studies can be a lifesaver. In the Best Book in the Bible series, we will provide entry points into faithful study through “selling” you on why you should fall in love with the various books of the Bible.
The Word of God is the most valuable thing we have in the world today. In it, we find the revelation of the Lord Jesus, the righteous requirement of God, and the gospel by which sinners can be saved. While the Bible tells us that “faith comes by hearing… the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17), the absence of the Word renders saving faith impossible. When a people become rebellious toward God, and their hearts are hardened, they invite His judgment. And in the Lord’s judgment, He removes His blessings, His protection, and His Word. However, when the absence of God’s grace is felt, the realization of His righteous character is manifested.
Main Themes: The Righteousness of God
“’Therefore, thus I will do to you, O Israel; because I shall do this to do, prepare to meet your God, O Israel.’ For behold, He who forms mountains and creates the wind and declares to man what are His thoughts, He who makes dawn into darkness and treads on the high places of the earth, the Lord God of hosts is His name.” (Amos 4:12-13)
“‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, “When I will send a famine on the land, not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for hearing the words of the Lord.'” (Amos 8:11)
For a general introduction to the Minor Prophets, see “Profiting from the Prophets“
At the height of Israel’s apostasy, God sent a series of prophets to preach His commands and call for the repentance of the people. The kingdoms of Judah and Israel prospered materially under their kings, Uzziah and Jeroboam, the hearts of the people were far from God. They were rebelling in every way possible. The prophet Amos is sent to preach judgment, in order that they might repent and be spared from the coming wrath of God.
(1:1-2:16) Amos’ prophecies.
Chapter 1 deals with the judgment of God which falls on all the nations who oppose Israel–the Syrians (1:3-5), the Philistines (1:6-8), the Phoenicians (1:9-10), the Edomites (1:11-12), the Ammonites (1:13-15), and the Moabites (2:1-3). The remainder of chapter 2 directly addresses the people of God, Judah and Israel. While judgment would come a hundred years later for Judah, the bulk of the prophecy addresses Israel’s apostasy and coming judgment.
(3:1-6:14) Amos’ sermons.
The next four chapters deal with the coming doom of Israel (3:1-15), their sinful condition (4:1-13), the coming destruction (5:1-17), followed by Amos’ rebuke (6:1-14). The end of chapter 5 brings a sobering word, as the Day of the Lord is declared. This would be the coming judgment of God that would lay waste to everything there. The Lord cites the people’s false religion as a major factor in provoking God’s judgment. While they carried on with their religious activities, their hearts were sinfully wicked. Therefore, God declares,
“I hate, I reject your festivals, nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them. And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5:21-24)
(7:1-9:15) Amos’ visions.
The remainder of the book consists of various visions given by Amos, all pertaining to the coming judgment of God. One of the most poignant warnings comes in 8:11, where Amos declares that the Lord will be sending a severe famine, “not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, but rather for the hearing of the words of the Lord.” This is terrifying because it will bring about spiritual condemnation for those who will not have ears to hear.
The book ends on a hopeful note, as Amos shares a vision of future blessing (9:11-15). The Lord promises the restoration of the Davidic dynasty (v. 11), the supremacy of Israel over all the nations (v. 12), the conversion of the nations (v. 12), the fruitfulness of the land (v. 13), the rebuilding of the cities (v. 14), and the permanent settlement of Israel in her own land after her return from captivity (v. 15).
What Makes This Book is So Great:
At first glance, the book’s value may not seem obvious, but upon further examination, its value begins to stand out. First, the righteousness of God can be seen by examining the contrasting sinfulness of Israel. When God laments the mistreatment of disenfranchised people, it shows His kindness toward such people. When God laments false worship and false religiosity, it shows His love for genuineness and sincerity in worship. The goodness of God is magnified in His wrath against the wickedness of the people. Second, the book has rays of hope shining in the midst of darkness; future glory for Israel. When studied together with other OT prophetic passages, we begin to get a picture of the future blessings to come.
The chapters in Amos are short, but it may still be helpful to split the book into two parts for study. Note all the places where God condemns the sin of the people; what does it tell you about His righteous character? Look for ways to interrogate yourself. Are there sins committed by the people of Israel that you yourself are guilty of committing? What is the solution given in the text? Further, compare Amos’ prophecy to the other OT prophets. What are the thematic similarities? When taken with the rest of the Prophets, Amos is seen to be an essential and colorful addition to the catalogue of prophetic literature.
Note: Don’t miss the introduction to the prophets series here: Entreatingfavor.com/Profiting-from-the-Prophets/
Note: Find the rest of the Best Book in the Bible series here: EntreatingFavor.com/BestBookInTheBible