750 BC

Amos, a simple herdsman and dresser of sycamore trees from a little town south of Bethlehem, was called by God to denounce the social and moral degeneracy of Israel during the days of King Jereboam II (793-753 B.C.). After prophesying for one year, he returned to his humble home in the kingdom of Judah.

1. Judgement on Israel’s neighbours. Syria, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab and Judah are each condemned in turn. Their offences are many. God will punish each and every one. Amos 1:15 & 2:1-5.
2. Israel’s crimes. The other prophets make it plain that Israel’s basic sin was in turning away from God to worship idols. Amos emphasizes the moral decline which resulted. They have grown hard and callous in their dealings with others; young and old make use of temple prostitutes; and they have gagged God’s spokesmen. No-one will escape God’s punishment. Amos 2:6-16.
3. Punishment: certain and severe. Israel has broken the covenant with God and must suffer punishment. It is simple cause and effect - God has spoken; he will act. Of beautiful Samaria, with its great stone houses and exquisite ivory panels, only a trace will be left; just enough to show that the city once existed. And God will demolish the trappings of debased religion at Bethel. Amos 3:1-15.
4. The impiety of Israel rebuked. The luxury-loving women of Samaria, living it up at the expense of the poor, will be led away on hooks. While they crushed their fellow men, the people still kept up the religous facade. By famine and drought, blight and disease God warned them where they were heading - all to no avail. Amos 4:1-13.
5. An exhortation to return to God. The lament is quickly followed by an appeal. God calls on his people to save their lives by seeking him. And this means reformed living - a return to God’s standards of justice and right. Otherwise the ‘the day of the Lord’ will be a terrible day of condemnation for God’s people. Amos 5:1-27.
6. Pride and luxury of Israel. Affluence and comfortable living insulate men from the real issues, and breed false security. Amos 6:1-14.
7. The evils coming upon Israel. Twice Amos prevails on God to stay his hand; but judgement cannot be delayed for ever. Israel does not begin to measure up against the straight line of God’s standards. God’s man and ‘official religion’ meet head-on in the confrontation between Amos and Amaziah. The prophet has God’s authority for his message and will not be silenced. Amaziah will die in exile. The invading army will abuse his wife, kill his children and seize his land. Amos 7:1-17.
8. Israel ripe for ruin. Men like to think their ‘little sins’ too small for God to notice. But he sees everything: greed and sharp practice; short weight and sub- standard goods. The poor, who always come off worst, are his special concern. Amos 8:1-14.
9. Evil destroyed; the faithful remnant restored. For the nation as a whole judgement will be inescapable. God will deal with them like any foreign nation. But for the faithful few the future holds unimagined blessing. Amos 9:1-15