KEY VERSE FOR MEMORIZATION
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11)
Amos, whose name means “burden” or “burden-bearer,” was a shepherd and fig grower from Tekoa, which was located ten miles south of Jerusalem. He prophesied to the Northern Kingdom of Israel, having been given a message from God condemning the nations who had sinned against Him and harmed His people. He started by condemning Syria, then Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and, finally, Amos’ homeland of Judah. Amos then confronted the northern Israelites regarding their sins and warned them of impending judgment.
Israel had become politically and spiritually corrupt due to prosperity and idol worship. Wealth caused the people to become complacent in their religious practices and oppressive to the poor, even to the point of selling them into slavery. Their economic prosperity was due in part to military successes during the early part of the reign of King Jeroboam II. Idolatry was practiced throughout the land, including Bethel, which was supposed to be the nation’s religious center.
The worship of the Canaanite god Baal had been incorporated into Israel’s worship of God. Baal, which means “lord” or “husband,” was the name commonly given to the Canaanite storm god, Hadad. This god was often represented as a bull, the symbol of fertility. The images of bulls built by Jeroboam I at Dan and Bethel (1 Kings 12:28-33) most likely provided occasion for mixing the worship of Baal with the worship of God.
Amos is thought to have prophesied and written this book from about 793 B.C. to 740 B.C., during the reigns of King Jeroboam II of Israel and King Uzziah of Judah.
May God help us to be willing to leave our comfort zones and share His message with the unsaved before His judgment falls on them. We may feel unqualified to spread God’s Word, yet we can be assured that He will be with us, just as He was with Amos.