Hosea, Joel, Amos and Obadiah, each one of these men lived and served the Lord throughout different times and yet all dealt with many of the same cultural influences that continued to pull the people of Israel away from God. As I read through each of these books I begin to see a pattern that is similar to that of the Judges, a pattern that has its high and low points in the spiritual lives of the Israelites. Hosea describes what sounds like a time of depression or low point spiritually for the people. Joel and Amos tell us how the people become accustomed to living in sin and how it had become a way of life. During the time of Amos the people had come out of a time of depression and lived well, enjoying peace and prosperity all the while leaving God behind.
Gods timing and plan called for times of blessing and times of suffering, He wanted the people to know who He was and through His divine power He could alter their paths. When we get to Obadiah we begin to see a fall back into a place of fear and judgment as the people come up against the people of Edom. Through the words of Obadiah we read about the promise of restoration to the faithful remnant. Through the lives of these prophets God was calling His people back to Him, wanting them to turn away from the ways of other cultures and people.
What an amazing example again of God’s love and grace, He does not give up on His people when they turn away. We have assurances and promises today through Christ that when He comes again we will be with Him in heaven. Our culture today has a hard time understanding what this means. Our culture much like those in the days of the prophets pulls us in a different direction, opposite to that of our loving gracious God. As I work in a position of leadership I pray that I can effectively be “pulling” on God’s side helping people to know His love.
Reflections founded on the book of Amos as a whole.
I never really have spent much time in the book of Amos even after reading through it a few times this past week I found it to be a difficult read. One thing I can identify with is who Amos was, he was a regular guy who had a regular job and was called out of that life by God to a specific ministry. Amos was called to a ministry that carried the heavy weight of bringing a message of warning to people of Israel who once again have forgotten who God is and the covenant they made with Him. Amos was dealing with people much like those in the culture that surrounds us today, a wealthy, greedy, self centered and materialistic group of people.
Through the words of the Lord Amos became noticed by the priests and the king, the words Amos was prophesying were making waves; they were reaching people and making them uncomfortable. God chose Amos for a reason, just as he chooses each of us for a specific purpose or purposes. Amos was chosen for an extraordinary task, an everyday ordinary guy proclaiming the doom and gloom of the judgment of God as a warrior over all those who opposed Him. I often put myself into shoes of the person or situation that I am reading about or try to relate with how their lives translate into our culture today. Sometimes I get pretty comfortable sitting behind my desk learning and reflecting on what God has done in the past; often I am inspired by these men of God to take action in being on task with presenting the good news to others.
It isn’t right till the end of the book of Amos that we hear of the hope that gives us a picture of God’s great love and mercy for his people. Here Amos tells us of the few faithful people that will be left standing to carry on with the work of the Lord, a following that would one day see the fulfillment of the promised blessing of the Lord. Amos was an ordinary man and did extraordinary things through the power of God; we should be expectant and hopeful that God will do the same with us.