He didn’t have the usual background—the prophet training or priestly background that others could boast. But Amos had one solid reason to disgrace the northern kingdom of Israel for her evil deeds: God called him to do it. Though he had enjoyed a rural and quiet life as a shepherd, livestock breeder and sycamore tree dresser, Amos left everything to tend to matters far greater.
Traveling to various cities within Israel, Amos warned the king and the people about God’s impending judgment of their idolatry and social injustices. Though they continued to carry out the letter of the law Moses prescribed, their hearts had drifted far from the One they refused to worship. Despite their religious façade, they oppressed the poor, neglected the orphans, and greedily sought their own gain. God saw straight through the empty rituals to their superficial souls, white-washed tombs that looked clean on the outside while harboring death and filth inside. Through Amos God beckoned His people to return, reminding them that He desires life and goodness for His people, not death and destruction. Yet His holiness could not allow them to remain rebellious in their sin any longer. They would suffer the consequences in devastating separation from Him and each other in exile by enemy nations if they didn’t repent.
As with other prophets who preached the unpopular truth, Israel turned a deaf ear to Amos’ warnings. Ultimately, her hardened heart led to the predicted captivity and exile, a definitive punishment for her pride and wickedness. But again, God does not abandon His children. Amos also spoke of a future hope, One the people would see only after their years of suffering. God’s only Son, Jesus, would come to reign as King over all His people. In the final day of His triumphant return, Christ will usher in a new age of utter righteousness, peace and love with and in His people who had placed their hope in Him. Even the pallor of pain experienced under God’s temporary judgment would pale in comparison to the hope and joy that awaits believers.
As members of God’s family today, we still rejoice in this hope. Real oneness with God begins with a true forgiving heart. We can reject sin and walk in the abundant life God provides through His Son and Spirit if we will fully surrender our hearts to Him.