Monday, May 4, 2009

Amos 1 & 2 - The Lion Roars!

Monday - Amos 1
Tuesday - Amos 2

by Katrina

Amos was not a prophet by birth or profession. He was a shepherd and fig grower. He was from the southern kingdom of Judah and traveled to the northern kingdom of Israel with his message from God around 760-750 B.C. At the time he prophesied, Uzziah was king of Judah, and Jeroboam II was king of Israel. Judah and Israel were both wealthy and powerful then. The two nations were at peace with their neighbors. The people lived in great luxury and arrogance. Their hearts were far from the LORD, and their lives were immoral. So, God sent Amos with a message to Israel.

Here is a map of their world around that time.

The book of Amos begins with a brief introduction of Amos and the time of his prophecy. Then judgment is declared against all the countries surrounding Israel and Judah, followed by Judah, then Israel herself. The capital (or a major city) is often used to refer to a nation. Each judgment begins with the phrase, "for three transgressions . . . and for four." This is a figure of speech for an incalculable number. It means that the measure of iniquity is full and wrath must fall upon the wicked. (Feinberg) The Lord is in Zion (Jerusalem) and roars out his wrath against the nations.

  • Damascus - capital of Syria (to the northeast of Israel) - judged for the cruel treatment of the people of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh east of the Jordan. The Syrian king Hazael had oppressed Israel during the reigns of Jehu and Jehoahaz (2 Kings 10:32, 33; 13:3-7) and had mangled their bodies with threshing instruments.
  • Gaza - city of Philistia (along the Mediterranean coast west of Judah) - judged for selling Jews, probably prisoners of war, to Edom as slaves.
  • Tyre - city of Phoenicia (along the Mediterranean coast northwest of Israel) - also sold prisoners of war as slaves
  • Edom (south and southeast of Judah) - descendants of Esau, who continually fought against Jacob and his descendants
  • Ammon (east of Israel) - Ammonites were descendants of Lot and his younger daughter. There son was Ben-ammi, father of the Ammonites. They would be punished for their inhumane treatment of women and children in Judah.
  • Moab (east of Judah) - descendants of Lot and his older daughter
  • Judah - God's own people deserve judgment as well because they have rejected the LORD.
  • Israel - Immorality, greed, oppression of the poor, open idolatry, and disregard for the Law bring judgment from God to Israel. God's indictment against Israel will continue in the following chapters.

The Gentile nations were responsible to God for their actions and would be punished for their inhumane treatment of other people and for fighting against the LORD's people. There is a moral standard of God that applies to all people. God's own people were guilty of rejecting God and living lives of idolatry and immorality.

All nations will be judged by God. Are we taking/sending the message of salvation to all peoples? I am challenged by Carol's application from Jonah the other day, and I know this is an area that I need to work on.

Lord, help us to be concerned for the lost people around us and take your message of salvation to them. Amen.

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