Learning from Amos
1:1-2:16 - ‘The Lord roars’. ‘The Lord thunders’ (1:2). God’s Word comes to us from above - ‘The Lord will roar from on high’. He speaks to us from heaven - ‘He will thunder from His holy dwelling’. We dare not ignore the Word of the Lord. His Word comes to us as a Word of warning - ‘He will shout against all who live on the earth’ - and a Word of judgment - ‘He will bring judgment on all mankind’. God is calling for our attention: ‘Look! Disaster is spreading from nation to nation; a mighty storm is rising from the ends of the earth’. God speaks to us about His ‘fierce anger’. He calls us to turn from our sin. Let us return to the Lord and hear His Word of salvation: ‘I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more (Jeremiah 25:30-32,37; 31:34).
3:1-5:5 - ‘You only have I chosen... therefore I will punish you for all your sins’ (3:2). Along with the privilege of being ‘chosen’ to belong to the Lord comes the responsibility of living as the servants of the Lord. God’s Word is not to be taken lightly - ‘The lion has roared - who will not fear?’ (3:8). God speaks to us very directly about the way we are living - ‘You have not returned to Me’ (4:6,8-11). We must take Him seriously: ‘Prepare to meet your God’ (4:12). God calls us to ‘seek Him and live’: ‘Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the evil man his thoughts, Let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon’ (5:4; Isaiah 55:6-7).
5:6-6:14 - ‘Seek the Lord and live’. ‘Seek good, not evil...’ (5:6,14). Those who truly seek the Lord are to live a godly life. God sees right through hypocritical religion. He is not pleased with it: ‘I hate your show and pretence - your hypocrisy of ‘honouring’ Me with your religious feasts and solemn assemblies... Away with your hymns of praise - they are mere noise to My ears. I will not listen to your music, no matter how lovely it is’ (21,23). God is looking for true obedience: ‘a mighty flood of justice - a torrent of doing good’ - ‘Let justice flow like a river and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream’ (24). God speaks to us about our sins - ‘Many and great are your sins. I know them so well’ - so that we might learn to ‘hate evil’ and ‘love good’ (5:12,15).
7:1-9:15 - ‘That’s enough, prophet! Go back to Judah and do your preaching there... Don’t prophesy here at Bethel any more’ (7:12-13). Amos was a faithful preacher of God’s Word - but his hearers wanted to get rid of him! This was the beginning of a time of great darkness: ‘The days are coming when I will send a famine through the land - not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord. Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the Word of the Lord, but they will not find it’ (8:11-12). There were dark times ahead - but God was looking beyond them to a brighter future: ‘I will restore the fortunes of My people Israel’ (9:14). ‘Restore us again, O God of our salvation...’ (Psalm 85:4-7).