AMOS, THE PROPHET OF GOD

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[Amos:1:1-15]; [Amos:2:4-8]; [Amos:4:11-13]; [Amos:5:18-20]; [Amos:7:10-17]; [Amos:8:4-13]; [Amos:9:11-15].

Lesson No.: 
329
Class: 
Junior
Memory Verse: 

“The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgements of the LORD are true and righteous altogether” (Psalm 19:9).

Notes: 

From Shepherd to Prophet
Many times in the history of Israel, God sent prophets to tell His chosen people of future events. As Israel so often turned to the worship of idols, the prophets’ messages were usually warnings of judgement.

Among the prophets was Amos, a shepherd from Tekoa, a village located about ten miles south of Jerusalem. He had never been to the school of the prophets, nor was he born into an outstanding family; but God looked into his heart and saw that here was a man He could trust to give Israel a message from Heaven.

Amos did not particularly enjoy telling the Israelites about all the grief that would come upon them, but what could he do when the call of God was upon him? “The Lord GOD hath spoken, who can but prophesy?” [Amos:3:8]). Forty times in his prophecy we read: “thus saith the LORD.” Amos could but speak the things that God told him to say.

For Three Transgressions
The nations to whom Amos first spoke were nations that had done harm to Israel. When God had called Abram to become the father of the Jewish race, He had said: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” [Genesis:12:3]). Many heathen nations had mistreated Israel, and all their sins had been noted. Now they were going to be punished for them. “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.” Many times Amos used that expression: “For three transgressions . . ., and for four,” meaning that it was not for one or two sins that they were going to suffer, but that they had many times done wicked deeds that deserved punishment. Of course, even one sin will bring judgement upon the sinner. How much more guilty were these people who had committed many sins.

There are people today who feel that they are the elect of God, and that no matter how much sin they commit they are still the children of God and will go to Heaven. But the Bible says: “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” [Ezekiel:18:4]), regardless of who he is.

The Rich Oppressors
After Amos’ words of judgement against the heathen, he turned to Israel and told them what God had against them. At this time Israel was a conquering nation, and proud of her strength. There were many rich people in the land who lived in luxury, and who oppressed the poor. These Israelites had even been selling the people for slaves.

The theme of Amos’ sermons was the righteousness of God. God wants His people to love one another, to be kind to the poor, to lend a helping hand to the needy, and, above all, to judge fairly and equally. Again and again Amos told the people that in order to live together happily, and to enjoy the favour of God, they must be good to one another and love mercy.

The selfish people who think only of themselves and their own families, and spend all their time getting things for themselves, are not happy. The happy people are those who give to others and try to help those who are in need.

Blessings Promised on Condition
God had indeed said that Israel was His chose people. “Thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth” [Deuteronomy:7:6]). But the promise of blessings had been given them only on condition that they obey the commandments of God. Amos now had to tell them that they had not kept those commandments, and therefore were not entitled to the blessings they thought were theirs.

When Moses said that God would keep His covenant with those who loved Him, even to a thousand generations, he added, “And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them” [Deuteronomy:7:9-10]).

The judgements of God are very sure. Anything that God has said will come to pass. Parents may sometimes threaten to punish their children for disobedience and then, when the child is disobedient, forget to give the punishment. But not so with God. What He has said will come to pass. How careful we should be to obey the rules God has given us in the Bible so that we will enjoy the blessings He has promised, rather than suffer the judgements, which will come upon the disobedient.

Closed Ears
The people of Israel did not like the words of Amos and asked him not to speak so to them. Many people today do not want to hear about the judgements of God, but the judgements will come anyway, even if they do not hear them. Would you not rather know the dangers that lies ahead, so that you could avoid it? If your house were on fire, would you want people to keep the truth from you because it was unpleasant news? Would you not rather know the truth so that you could call the fire department before you house had burned down?

Amos was trying to help the Israelites. He did not want to see them suffer. But his efforts were not appreciated even by the religious people. The high priest sent word to the king that Amos was a traitor to his country. Amos did prophesy that the king would die, and that the Israelites would be captured by the enemy, but it was the truth and was not the fault of Amos. God was sending judgements for Israel’s sins.

When Jesus was on earth He warned people to repent or they would perish. They did not listen to Him, but said, “Away with Him.” They killed Him just as they had killed many prophets before Him. But the words He spoke began to be fulfilled very soon; and within 40 years, more than a million Jews had died and many millions more suffered cruel hardships. Let us always remember that the things God has spoken will come to pass.

Mercy Granted
Some of the judgements that God told Amos to proclaim were so terrible that Amos began to pray for the people. “O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.” Amos was pleading for mercy upon the Israelites. God heard that prayer, and held back the judgement. But still Israel did not repent.

Judgement has been held back long from our nation because there are yet many people who are praying for God’s mercy. There are still people who will be saved. But how long judgement will be withheld we do not know. Any day God may say, “It is enough.” He will take His righteous people out of the world, and all the fury of the Tribulation will break upon those who have refused to listen.

Visions
The first judgements God gave to Amos were by spoken word. But as time went on, the revelation became stronger, and God showed Amos visions of things to come. Finally Amos saw a vision of the Lord standing by the altar proclaiming that all the sinners would die. “Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: . . . and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them” [Amos:9:1-3]).

The Day of the Lord
The Israelites were looking for the day of the Lord. They thought that God would surely pour out punishments upon the heathen, and give Israel dominion over all the world. But Amos warned: “Prepare to meet thy God.” He said that the day of the Lord would be a day of thick darkness, and not light. If they thought they were going to get relief in that day they were like the man who runs from a bear and then has to face a lion; or who goes into his house, thinking he will find shelter, and there a snake bites him. The bite of the snake is worse than if the bear had bitten him. There was only one way to escape the wrath of God, and that was to repent and turn from all their sins.

No matter how much people talk about the Bible and claim to be Christians, if they have not been born again there is no hope of escaping God’s judgements for them.

Famine for the Word
Amos told of a time when there will be a greater famine than a famine for bread. People suffer terribly when they cannot get food; and they think they can get along very well without the Bible. But there is a time coming when people will wander from sea to sea, even running, to try to hear the Word of God. The people who have neglected to learn the commandments of God, who have laughed at the teachings of Jesus, who have said as the Jews, “Away with him,” will want to hear the Truth, but will not be able to find it. Their only hope will be gone.

How we should treasure the Word of God! The Word is our Light to guide us through an unfriendly world, and take us safe to Glory. It is our comfort here. It is our food from heaven, healing for our bodies, strength for every task.

The Millennium
Amos still held out hope to the Israelites. Though God would bring all these judgements upon Israel, yet He would save a remnant. A few would yet turn to God and enjoy the blessings of Canaan when the curse is lifted. “I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”

Amos was faithful in telling Israel all the fierce judgements that would befall them, and God gave him the joy of holding up the hope of the Millennium which all who live godly in Christ Jesus will enjoy.

Questions: 

1. Who was Amos?
2. What qualifications did he have to be a prophet?
3. To whom did Amos speak first?
4. Why was judgement coming upon those nations?
5. Why did Israel think they would not suffer punishment?
6. What did the Israelites believe about the day of the Lord?
7. What did Amos say about a famine for the Word of God?
8. What will God do for the Jews in the Millennium?