Most Christians have little if any knowledge of this unique man of God. Many of today’s seminaries (called “cemeteries” by punsters like me) would omit study on Amos as well because they are busy learning the marketing techniques and methodology of the emerging church. You see, Amos is not “relevant.” But, my Bible says that “God always has His remnant,” so for the sake of those who still love to learn from the often overlooked passages in the Holy Scriptures, let us examine this spiritual giant. Amos is often referred to as the “Plumbline Prophet,” and for good reason—– in chapter seven he found Israel to be plumb out of line. Amos was a farmer, a herdsman and grower of sycamore. This rugged, bucolic prophet hailed from Tekoa, a distant suburb of Jerusalem. Today we would say he lived out in the sticks. Amos was a prophet from Judah, yet the lion’s share of his ministry was directed towards Israel’s capital city of Samaria. He preached to the infamous House of Omri whose most well known king was Ahab. In this book you can read about the leaders of Samaria chilling in palaces of ivory, totally surrounded by all of the state of the art opulence imaginable. The poor, the widows and the orphans were treated like dirt, abused, and sold into slavery. Some noteworthy items in this book that should be addressed are the following: A great earthquake is mentioned at the very beginning, verse 1:1. This same earthquake is also mentioned in the book of Zechariah. Amos 3:3 asks us “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (King Jehoshaphat needed to read this because of his many unwise alliances with King Ahab!) This verse is the Old Testament counterpart to the New Testament warning in Corinthians “….not to be unequally yoked.” I believe this is a warning to Christians NOT to marry unbelievers nor make business alliances with them, nor do ANYTHING with them that could jeopardize one’s faith. Amos 7:14 reveals that Amos eschewed even the title of a prophet: “…I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet…” That reminds me of the prince of preachers from Victorian England, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, who refused ordination and he likewise refused the title of Reverend. These men of God knew that God called them and that was all that mattered. Another fascinating passage in this incredible book suggests that God would withhold His truth and his Word from the people of the land. Amos 8:11-12 “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord God, that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.” This is true today as well. Praise God that we have the Word of God in our Bibles but I believe there is a famine for HEARING the Word of God. A church or ministry with balanced doctrine is a rare find indeed. Many ministries that claim to be Christian lack the practice of church discipline, a mention of the foundation of salvation namely repentance (Luke 13:3,5), the cross is seen as an offense hence minimized or totally ignored (Galatians 6:14), and a major emphasis on the reality of sin, hell, judgment and the wrath of God is not be be found. True Christianity preaches the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth. A ministry based on any other foundation will be full of false converts. Omitting major doctrine is equivalent to a lie. My favorite scripture in Amos is one that I have seen in large print and on the top of barns of more than one farmer. It is Amos 4:12B and needs no commentary: “….prepare to meet thy God.” Never underestimate the power of the Gospel. Even though I saw this verse often, it never failed to help me put everything into the right perspective.
Lest someone who reads this believes this tremendous book is not “relevant,” may we briefly expound on Amos and how this book relates to current events. It would not be difficult to compare Samaria with the movers and shakers in our nation. As our morals and values plummet, so does our economy, way of life, families and marriages, jobs and vocations, stability, security and our weather. This is the spiritual law of sowing and reaping (Galatians 6:7). Why just yesterday I was watching the weather channel and the folks were commenting on what a shame it was that a depression was parked over the Middle Atlantic states as well as over New England. It kept raining and is still drenching this area, like a Maytag stuck in the second rinse cycle. Roads have become rivers and parking lots have become ponds and cars are seen only by their roofs. The weather commentators said how awful it was that Texas was getting no rain and are still in a major league drought along with a lot of the south. The weather experts said they were all unlucky and perhaps the weatherman could put a spell on the situation to straighten it out. Amos has something to say about this but our secular world would say it is not PC and very intolerant. Amos 4:7 “And also I have withholden the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city: one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.” Because of the sins of the Israelites, Amos also said in chapter 4 that people lacked bread, mildew and pestilence were prominent and enemies were at the gates. It would behoove our nation’s politicians to seek God while He can be found. I respect Texas Governor/Presidential Candidate Rick Perry for hosting a concerted prayer meeting in Texas—inviting all of our governors and pastors to attend. Now that he is in the public eye and running for public office, you and I can be sure that he will be vilified by our liberal press. If you and I are really concerned about our nation, then prayer meetings in our respective churches will be well attended and seen as a priority in our lives, and not an addendum to tack on only when the planets align and there is nothing else to do. Satan must be doing a good job, because the most important thing we can do in the body of Christ (prayer) is the least attended event. I remember that 9/11/01 did not even make much of a change in attendance at the church where I served at that time, and our prayer meeting was the following day after the tragedy! Blessings, Pastor Steve