by J.R. Hudberg

Amos begins his prophetic career during the reigns of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel by calling out the sins of Israel’s neighbours. As he travels from the southern to the northern kingdom of Israel, he declares seven times that the fire of the LORD will descend and destroy the people around Israel. But Amos’ final and most critical accusation springs like a trap on Israel herself.

In a series of speeches, Amos broadcasts God’s evaluation of Israel’s society and religious practices. He exposes their social injustices and religious formalism. Their indifference to the poor and their perversion of justice has filled the cup, and now it must be drained, right down to the dregs. Judgment is coming.

Following these speeches, which receive an unsurprisingly cold reception from the people of Israel, Amos is exiled back to Judah. There, he receives a series of visions about the future of Israel. They show him just how far Israel truly is from the LORD’s standards. Through various images, the LORD shows Amos the coming punishment and fate of the people of Israel. In God’s eyes, they have acted no different from the other nations. Of all people, they should have known better. Therefore, discipline is coming. But even when hope seems lost, God speaks of restoration. After the judgment, He will again plant His people in their own land.

The Structure of Amos

Charges against the nations, Judah, and Israel

Speeches of judgment against God’s chosen people

Visions of discipline and restoration

Key Verse
Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the LORD has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.” -Amos 3:1–2

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