The background of prophet Amos
- Amos started his prophetic mission during the reign of king jeroboam II of Israel and uzziah of Judah, during this period Israel did not have any external threat hence attaining great prosperity economically.
- Peace prevailed in both Judah and Israel.
- Before the calling, Amos was a herdsman i.e. shepherd and dresser of fig trees.
- His home was in tekoa near Jerusalem in Judah.
- Amos was not a professional prophet but was sent by God to proclaim his message.
- During this time, the people of Israel worship, idol and were too greedy in their business.
- The wealth people were becoming rich at the expense of the poor.
- They had switched their items of trade to wine and oil i.e. they were drunkard.
- They understood the judgment in as the coming of the “Day of the Lord.”
- God was going to punish the Israel for forsaking him and worshipping idols and oppressing the poor
The call of Amos
- The word of the lord came to Amos while he was a shepherd in tekoa and the word of the lord came to him during the reign of king uzziah of Judah and jeroboam II of Israel.
- The lord sent him to go and prophecy in the northern kingdom.
- Amos prophesied temble things about Israel that the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid to waste and the lord shall rise against the house of jeroboam with the sword.
- He prophesied that jeroboam shall die by the sword and Israel must go into exile away from his land.
- He was ordered to flee from the land of Judah by amaziah the priest but Amos responded that he was not a prophet’s son not a prophet but a herdsman sent to prophesy to the people of Israel.
Visions of prophet Amos
- God was sending locust to eat all their plants as a punishment for Israelites for their sins. Amos pleaded with God and the punishment was withdrawn.
- A great fire started to burn up the land from the sea. Amos prayed and pleaded God and the punishment was withdrawn.
- The crooked wall was checked by a plumb-line, this symbolized the crooked ways of the people of Israel.
- Amos remained silence due to sinful ways of the people of Israel.
- Amos saw lord standing by the altar. The lord was commanding destruction of the temple. This was because of it had became a centre of evil activities.
- The destruction was total and nobody was to escape.
- The lord showed Amos a basket of ripe fruits meaning the time had come for the Israelites to be punished because they trampled over the ready false balances and buying the poor with silver.
The main teachings of prophet Amos
- Social justice and responsibilities
- Hypocritical religion in Israel
- Judgement and punishment against Israel and other nations
- Israel’s election
- The day of the lord
- The remnant and restoration
- The Israelites forgot their responsibilities to the covenant demands. There was rampant social injustices committed by the rich rulers, court officials and more others
- Robbery with violence
- Land grabbling
- Sexual immorality like incest and cultic prostitution
- Drunkenness where even the Nazarites were forced to drink wine
- Pride in material possession and false sense of security
- Cheating in business i.e. use of false measures, selling of bad foodstuffs
- Selling of the poor into slavery because they were unable to pay debts
- Living a luxurious life by the women of Samaria in expenses of the poor
- Religious syncretism where they worshipped idols alongside Yahweh
- Insincere worship which involved man elaborate sacrifices without inner faith.
- Idolatry flourished in Israel where people began to worship other gods such as sakkuth
The punishment will be as follows:
- Israel will be punished due to hypocrisy and idol worshipping
- God would use earthquake to destroy the houses of the rich and poor people in Israel.
- They would be struck by plagues and the survivors would be haunted by silence.
- They enslaved those from poor background.
- They practiced bribery in the court of law.
- They practiced hypocrisy and worshipped idols.
- They grabbed poor’s land.
- High sexual immorality.
- High interest charges levied on loans borrowed by the poor.
- Judah was to be punished because of forsaking God’s covenant treaty.
- There would be earthquakes
- God would cover the land total
- Judgement of Israel would be severe than that of other nations because they were God’s chosen people and knew the law of God which they had forsaken
- The people would hunger for the word of God
- Amaziah the priest and the king would die by the sword
- The rich who had oppressed the poor would lose their properties
- Their land would be occupied by foreigners
- The people of Israel would be taken into exile
- The holy places would be destroyed
- Israel would be surrounded by their enemies
- Punishment would be effected on the day of the lord
Repentance and hope
- God promised to restore the exiles.
- To rebuild the ruined cities.
- To spare the remnant.
- To raise a Davidic descendant to rule the people of God.
- To prosper in agriculture.
- The Israelites had obligations to make the will of God known to other nations.
- God had promised great blessings to the Israelites who were God chosen people.
- The Israelites were called to serve God.
- Her election did not mean special privileges
- God’s continued favour to them would be determined by their obedience to him
- Israelites were given special land to inherit
- God made Israelites his only chosen people bound to him through the Sinai covenant.
- God delivered Israelites out of slavery land due to love
The Day of the Lord
According to them the day of the lord would intervene and restore them back to the lost glory.
Concept of the day of the lord
- It would be a day of prosperity.
- A day when justice would prevail.
- A day of light and brightness.
- A day of rejoicing for all Israelites.
- Israel’s victory against their enemies.
- A day of excitement of the people of Israel.
- A day of establishment of God’s will to them.
The day of the lord from Amos teachings
- The Israelites who survived after conquest were the remnant.
- The eye of the lord would only be sent against sinful kingdom only.
- There would be re-union of the kingdom of David.
- Israel would conquer their enemies.
- The exiles would be restored back to their land.
- The cities would be rebuilt.
- They would settle in their promised land permanently.
Revision questions on Prophet Amos
- State four ways in which the poor were oppressed by the rich during the time of prophet Amos. ( 8 mks)
- Name and explain five visions of prophet Amos. (10 mks )
- Describe the background of prophet Amos. (8 mks )
- Indentify different forms of punishment that would befall Judah and other nations (8 mks )
- What factors hinder people from worshipping God I modern society today (7 mks )
- Indentify different ways in which the people of Israel commit injustices sins (8 mks )
- Describe the teachings of prophet Amos on the day of the lord (6 mks )
- Give Israelites understanding on the day of the lord (6 mks)
- How does Christians assist the church leaders in Kenya today (6 mks)
- Describe the call of prophet Amos (5 mks )