“Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel” (Amos 4:12). These words are very serious and is applied today for someone who is not saved and does not know the Lord as Saviour. However, these words were intended for Israel to come back to God and be prepared to meet Him as their gracious God and not as the Judge of the nation. The name Amos means “to burden.”
The book of Amos is a very interesting book that has prophecies relating to the neighbouring nations of Israel, even though he was from a town called Tekoa in Judah. Amos’ knowledge of farming is set out in his prophecy. He was a herdsman and gathered sycamore fruit (Amos 1:1; 7:14), and in his messages, we can pick out his knowledge of farming life, see Amos 2:13; 3:12 for example.
In the book of Amos, we first have judgment on the Gentile nations. This is because Joel spoke of the Day of the Lord, and how the Gentiles who persecuted the Jews would be judged. Then, the Lord would deal with His people, yet in grace delighting to restore them.
If we are to enjoy reading this prophecy, we need to look for Christ, or for references in the New Testament that are quoted from this book. Christ is the Shepherd that will deliver Israel in chapter 3:12. There are two references to Amos in the New Testament, coming from quotations in the book of Acts. Amos 5:25-27 is quoted in Acts 7:42-43, and Amos 9:11 is quoted in Acts 15:16, referring to Christ, the true David spoken of. Christ in this prophecy of Amos has all the authority to judge, as we read chapters 1-9, but He will also restore His people as we read in chapter 9:11-15.
The words of Amos show the Lord’s mercy towards a people who were not deserving and were unworthy. The kings and inhabitants of the northern kingdom (Israel) had turned their back on the Lord and therefore could no longer be entitled to His promises. And yet they thought that no evil could come upon them, as they were the people of God. In their hearts they were far away from the Lord. Justice had become worthless, and Amos appears with the warning of God’s judgment to this people.
The book of Amos can be divided as follows:
- Amos 1-2 describes judgement of the nations around Israel, and judgement over Israel and Judah.
- Amos 3-6 brings before us the prophetic messages and judgements over the whole of Israel, especially talking to the condition of the people.
- Amos 7-9 presents the five visions of Amos, which is full of instruction. In this section, farming life is brought out, but relating to Israel and the coming judgement and restoration in the future.
This outline is adapted, but NOT intended to directly copy from Arend Remmers and Arno Gaebelein’s notes on the book of Amos, from www.biblecentre.org. a rich website full of resources for both young and old.