The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
The book containing the prophecy of God through Amos is one of the twelve books commonly called the “minor prophets,” called so, not because of the relative significance of their content, but rather their length as compared to the four longer writings of Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.
Amos was a native of Tekoa, a small village about ten miles south of Jerusalem in Judah. This area is described as a wilderness (2 Chr 20:20), so we can deduce that Amos learned to endure hardness in his work tending sheep and dressing sycamore trees. Amos had no formal training in any “prophetic school,” where he could be equipped for what he was called by God to prophecy, nor had he assumed that this was his calling (Amos 7:14). Yet, during the reign of Jeroboam II (786-746 B.C.) in Israel, God called this simple shepherd, to leave his home in Judah to prophecy to the northern kingdom of Israel, which stood at the zenith of its power and material prosperity. In obedience to the summons, Amos set out for Bethel, the chief seat of idol worship in the north. His message was one of divine judgment upon the covenant people of God who strayed from His commandments. This was no easy task: Amos was a Southerner ministering in the North, a countryman facing the nobility and sophistication of a professional priesthood, a prophet a doom in an age of comfort and secure materialism.
While untrained, Amos was not unskilled; his prophecy reveals a deep understanding of the times in which he lived as well as an accomplished understanding of the Law. Amos not only knew the Word of God, but also knew how to interpret it to supply an answer to the covenant people of God in an apostate age. So in Amos we find a man prepared, equipped, disciplined and enabled by God. The call of God is always based on exact knowledge and the sufficiency of His power to equip. How confident we can be as we face the wise and noble of this world, knowing that God does not call the qualified, but qualifies the called (2 Cor 3:5-6). Amos provides us with a reminder that God chooses to exalt the humble; that not many wise men after the flesh are called; that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise, that no flesh should glory in His presence (1 Cor 1:25-31).
Look up Ex 3:1-2, Judg 6:11-12, I Kings 19:19, Mark 1:16. Take note of how the call of God comes to these men as they diligently labor in their present task.
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