April 19, 2023
Thank you for praying for our prodigals and for revival. It’s our privilege to send you weekly devotionals designed to bring encouragement, transformation, and hope into your life. We thank God for you!
Amos was not always a prophet. The introduction describes him as an ordinary working man from the small town of Tekoa, about 12 miles south of Jerusalem in Judah. He was a shepherd, a herdsman, and a fig orchard farmer (Amos 1:1, 7:14). This is who God chose to be His mouthpiece for His people.
Although Amos was from the southern area of Judah, God called him to speak to the northern tribes in Israel during the reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam II, who from God’s perspective was one of the worst kings ever (Amos 1:1). These were times of great prosperity, expansion, and stability in the two kingdoms (2 Chronicles 26, 2 Kings 14:25).
One of the tragic dangers of human nature is that when life is good, we tend to forget God’s goodness and stray from true worship. This was the case during the time of Amos.
Because of the increased land borders, God’s people had more control over the major trade routes and wealth began to accumulate in their cities. Commerce flourished (Amos 8:5), an upper class materialized (Amos 4:1-3), and expensive dwellings were being built (Amos 3:15).
Peaceful times replaced war. Luxury replaced poverty. Worldly pleasure replaced true worship. And comfort and self-sufficiency replaced dependence upon God.
When God allows good times to come our way, it should bring reflection, thankfulness, and an overwhelming desire to honor Him! Such was not the case with Israel.
In Chapters 1 and 2, there are a series of short judgment poems with messages from God to the nations that surrounded Israel and Judah including them in it.
In Chapters 3 to 6, Amos directs his attention towards Israel and its leaders. They had forsaken the principles of God by selling the innocent for silver, oppressing the poor, forgetting righteousness, and engaging in cruel practices. All this was done while maintaining their outward religion of tithing and sacrifices, which God despised (Amos 4:4).
All throughout his message there were pleas for His people to return to the one true God. Chapter 5 is a clear example, where 3 times God tells His people to seek Him and seek what is good (Amos 5:4,6,14).
God’s desire was that their hearts would be drawn back to Him and as a result their actions would demonstrate His justice and righteousness. “Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream” (Amos 5:24).
In Chapters 7 to 9, Amos provided a number of vivid warning visions that described the coming judgment of God known as the Day of the LORD. One such vision was that of the plumb line.
A plumb line (a line with a weight at the bottom that would hang at a perfect 90 degrees) is used by builders to ensure that walls are square. The plumb line of God was used to show the crookedness of the people. It is exactly what the Word of God is to us today.
His Word will keep our lives plumb or straight. As our hearts are drawn to Him, as we see the beauty of His person, our lives will be changed to reflect the same.
Obedience to our God, which is living with justice and righteousness is an act of true worship. It would be good for us to ask ourselves, “Where do I see injustice and unrighteousness, and how can I speak into it with my life and voice?”
Think about your local church. Are there people being neglected? Is there an undercurrent of racism? Is the church reaching out to the poor and hungry? How are the women of your church being treated?
These are just the start of good questions we should be asking ourselves as we move closer to God’s ideal.
The book of Amos closes on a bright note of hope. He lifts the eyes of God’s people to a future day of restoration. A time when breaches will be repaired, ruins will be rebuilt, harvests will come quickly, vineyards will drip with delicious wine, and God’s people will dwell together in unity.
We too, look forward to these glorious days when our Lord and Savior will reign supreme!
Love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel