THE PROPHECY OF AMOS
Amos, who was probably a man of Judah, Ch. 7:12, exercised his prophetic ministry in Israel the northern kingdom in the reign of Jeroboam II, who was an able but idolatrous king. Nothing seemed more unlikely than the fulfillment of the warnings of the prophet, but within fifty years the Assyrian captivity had taken place, and the kingdom was destroyed. Amos did not confine his prediction to only the northern kingdom, but also included the whole “house of Judah.”
The book of Amos can be divided into four parts:
1. Chs. 1 to 2:3. Judgments on neighboring peoples.
2. Ch. 2:4-16. Judgments on Judah and Israel.
3. Chs. 3 to 9:10. Jehovah’s controversy with the whole house of Jacob.
4. Ch. 9:11-15. The future millennial blessing of Israel.
JUDGMENTS ON NEIGHBORING PEOPLES.
The prophet Amos was a man of lowly rank having been a herdsman as he himself confesses, Ch. 7:14. By the inward illumination of the Spirit, he saw coming judgments by the hand of the invading armies of Assyria and Babylon. Not only would it touch Israel and Judah, but the neighboring peoples would likewise be affected. Damascus, the chief city of Syria; Gaza and other cities of the Philistines; Tyhrus; Edom; Ammon and Moab and all mentioned, Ch. 1 to 2:3.
JUDGMENTS ON JUDAH AND ISRAEL.
The judgment of Judah was predicted and same came to pass in their seventy years captivity. The sins of Israel were exposed. Her guilt was especially heavy because of the great things God had done for her in the past, Ch. 2:9-11.
JEHOVAH’S CONTROVERSY WITH THE WHOLE HOSE OF JACOB.
In Ch.3 God enlarges upon His former good treatment of Israel, but now that she is settled down in uncleanness her sacrifices were an offence to Him, Ch. 4:1-5. She is then informed that the cause of her temporal adversity can be traced to her evil behavior. God is the mighty Creator, but instead of blessing as He alone can do, His people must not meet Him in His wrath, vs. 12-13.
It is no pleasure for God to deal thus. Even as He pronounces His judgments His words are interspersed with exhortations to return unto Him and live, Ch. 5:14-15. The day of the Lord is then mentioned, which will be a day of darkness for the sinful people, vs. 16-20. They were exhorted to “let judgment rum down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream”, v.24, otherwise their feast days, and their songs of praise were only an aggravation to God. A rebuke was directed against those who were at ease in Zion, Ch.6:1, for the invader would surely come and overthrow them all, vs. 13-14.
In Ch. 7:1-9 we read how Amos learned that though God had heard and answered his intercessions in the past, his prayers could not avail anymore. For speaking plainly about the downfall of king Jeroboam, the prophet was rebuked by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, vs. 10-13. Because of this Amos explains about his past lowly life, and how the Lord told him to prophesy, and then he pronounced a judgment on the man who rebuked him, vs.14-17.
By a vision of a basket of summer fruit which Amos saw God made it clear that Israel was now to reap the harvest of her doings, and that He would not pass by them anymore, Ch. 8:1-3. He enumerated her many sins and foretold days of trouble when these would be a famine for the Word of God, so that people in their distress would not be able to hear from Him, vs. 11-12.
This was followed by the pronouncement that Israel would be
sifted among all the nations of the earth, Ch. 9:9, and same is true to this
day. Then as a beautiful climax God talks out all His heart, and shows how in
the day of restoration He will “raise up again the tabernacle of David”, v.11,
and peace and prosperity shall follow as an everlasting blessing, vs. 13-15,
because of the sure mercies of God to His servant David.
THE PROPHECY OF OBADIAH.
Obadiah is believed to have prophesied about 587 B.C. This cannot be decided with certainty, but it is probable he was contemporary with Jeremiah and Ezekiel, who pronounced the same judgments on Edom, as a punishment for their pride, and for the way they cruelly insulted the Jews after the city of Jerusalem was destroyed.
The book may be divided into two parts:
1. Verses 1 to 14. The humiliation of Edom.
2. Verses 15 to 21. The exaltation of Mount Zion.
THE HUMILIATION OF EDOM.
In his prophecy Obadiah has more to say about Edom than he has of the children of Israel. When Jerusalem was overthrown by Nebuchadnezzar the descendants of Esau made light of the matter, and spoke proudly of the downfall of God’s people and of His holy city. Because of this, and for their violent treatment of the remnant of the Jews, the Lord was angry, vs. 8, 10, and said they should be cut off forever.
THE EXALTATION OF MOUNT ZION.
Though God had to punish His people because of their sins, He very much resented what others said about them. Edom would suffer, but Mt. Zion, the pride of the Jewish nation is to be restored, and the house of Jacob shall possess their possessions, v.17. While in the day of their calamity they were the victims of Edom’s pride, the prophet foresaw that in the day of the Lord the house of Esau should be burned as stubble, and the day of the Lord the house of Esau should be burned as stubble, and the house of JACOB AND THE HOUSE OF Joseph would be the fire to bring this to pass, v.18. Thus God deals with those who oppose of His people.
This is an important lesson we would all do well to learn. We must not touch God’s anointed nor do His prophets harm, for they are as precious to Him as the apple of His eye.