-Amos, the sheepherder from Tekoa (10 miles south of Jerusalem in the hill country), relates his visions given to him during the reign of Judah’s King Uzziah and Israel’s King Jeroboam II two years before the earthquake (Zechariah 14:5). *Application* Amos was not what most would consider to be a holy man of God. He is what we would refer to today as being a layperson, or one who is not in vocational ministry. He was simply a man doing his work and going about his business of life, no pedigree, and no family history of being a prophet. He was just available and God spoke through him to His people and the surrounding nations for judgment. How available are you today? Would you be willing to be used in a mighty way as the LORD directs, guides, and speaks? Surrender to His will and plan knowing anything is possible as we see here in an unconventional servant of the Master.
-The prophesy starts out with God’s announcement of judgment on the surrounding areas near Israel and Judah. God is pictured as a roaring lion from His dwelling in Zion with power and authority much the same as in Hosea 11:10. The phrase “for three transgressions….and for four I will not revoke its punishment” is repeated often. What this indicates is that these nations had sinned again and again, over and over repeatedly. God is evaluating their refusal to follow His commands. They were persistently ignoring that they were doing anything wrong even though they had been warned. *Application* A pattern of sin is very difficult to break. In fact it is impossible without the cleansing work of Christ Jesus in one’s life. Confession is the road to repentance and forgiveness when God convicts you of an imperfection in your life. Turn away from the things that keep you from God, and by faith trust in Him to cleanse you and give you the power to never go back to those transgressions that will easily beset you and take you off track.
-The areas that judgment was pronounced against begin with Aram and its capital of Damascus. This is the area northeast of the Sea of Galilee. Gaza is next, which is to the southwest of Judah along the coastline of the Mediterranean. This is the area where the Philistines came from (remember Goliath and many other altercations with Israel from this group?). Tyre is north and west of the Promised Land and was one of the two major cities of Phoenicia. Edom was south and east of the Dead Sea area, the descendents of Esau (Genesis 25:19-28; 27). They had a long history of fighting with Israel in brotherly conflict. Ammon was to the west past Moab and Gilead. Ammon were descendents from the incestuous relationship between Lot and his younger daughter post Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:30-38). They were idol worshippers who influenced Israel and had many conflicts with them. Saul’s first victory as the new king of Israel was over the Ammonites (1 Samuel 11). Rabbah was its capital city. Ammon’s destruction was realized and fulfilled through the Assyrian invasion that would eventually disperse the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
Verse to Memorize: Amos 1:2