- Amos 1:1-4:13
In the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam II, king of Israel, GOD called a shepherd named Amos from Tekoah, near Bethlehem, to prophesy. Not surprisingly, GOD is very displeased at the situation among the nations with all of the idolatry and violence, and He begins His message through Amos with forceful language:
“The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers.”
(Amos 1:2 NIV)
GOD pronounces guilt upon the nations of Syria, Philistia, Edom, Moab, Judah and Israel, and upon the city of Tyre. Each pronouncement includes judgments of coming punishment and destruction. Consider what GOD said would happen to the people of Israel:
1 Hear this word, people of Israel, the word the LORD has spoken against you—against the whole family I brought up out of Egypt: 2 “You only have I chosen of all the families of the earth; therefore I will punish you for all your sins.” 3 Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? 4 Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing? 5 Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there? Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything? 6 When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it? 7 Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. 8 The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken—who can but prophesy?
9 Proclaim to the fortresses of Ashdod and to the fortresses of Egypt: “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria; see the great unrest within her and the oppression among her people.” 10 “They do not know how to do right,” declares the LORD, “who store up in their fortresses what they have plundered and looted.”
(Amos 3:1-10 NIV)
13 “Hear this and testify against the descendants of Jacob,” declares the Lord, the LORD God Almighty. 14 “On the day I punish Israel for her sins, I will destroy the altars of Bethel; the horns of the altar will be cut off and fall to the ground. 15 I will tear down the winter house along with the summer house; the houses adorned with ivory will be destroyed and the mansions will be demolished,” declares the LORD.
(Amos 3:13-15 NIV)
This is GOD’s concluding statement to Israel regarding their future end:
12 “Therefore this is what I will do to you, Israel, and because I will do this to you, Israel, prepare to meet your God.” 13 He who forms the mountains, who creates the wind, and who reveals his thoughts to mankind, who turns dawn to darkness, and treads on the heights of the earth—the LORD God Almighty is his name.
(Amos 4:12-13 NIV)
To put it in our terms, GOD was quite serious about purging the evil from His people and punishing them for their sins. GOD’s wrath is the most fierce thing in the universe and should be feared above all else.