Bible Reading for SEP21: Amos 1-5

Amos wrote his book about 25 years before the fall of
Israel. In it we are visiting the city of Bethel, where
King Jeroboam II has his private chapel, and Amaziah is
his priest. The nation is enjoying peace and
prosperity; in fact, they are living in luxury.

Amos was God’s man for his time. He was a
simple shepherd from Tekoa, a hill country town about
10 miles south of Jerusalem, and a dresser of sycamore
fruit. He was called to be a prophet to the whole house
of Jacob (chapter 3:1), but chiefly to the Northern
Kingdom at the main sanctuary in Bethel. He met with
the opposition of the high priest, and was reported to
Jeroboam II by him. Amos reduced his prophecies to
writing shortly after he returned to Tekoa. He began
his message by looking around at the nations and
announcing eight judgments.

Verse 2 of chapter 1 makes it clear that God is
roaring in wrath, like a lion leaping on its prey. Amos
begins with Syria and accuses her of cruelty in war. He
then points to Philistia and condemns her for the sin
of slavery. The Phoenicians are next, and they are
judged for cruel slavery and the selling of slaves.
Israel’s old enemy Edom is accused of not showing pity,
but maintaining a constant hatred. Ammon is judged for
her violent crimes and selfish greed; Moab for her
cruelty to Edom; and Judah for rejecting the Law of

Perhaps it pleased the people of Israel as they
listened to Amos condemn their neighbors, but judgment
number eight was reserved for Israel. In chapter 2:6-16
the prophet names the sins of the people of Israel;
and, in verse 13, he says he is pressed by the burden
of that sin.

Having announced judgment to the nations. Amos
now explains why judgment is coming. We must remember
that Israel was enjoying a time of peace, prosperity,
and religious revival. People were attending religious
services and bringing generous offerings. However, God
does not look on the outward appearance, but on the
heart. Amos knew the hearts of the people were far from

In chapters 3, 4, and 5 Amos brings three
sermons to the people. He prefaces each sermon with,
“Hear this word.” The first message is one of
explanation (chapter 3:1-15); the second message is one
of accusation (chapter 4:1-13); and the third message
is one of lamentation (chapters 5:1–6:14).

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