Around 750 BCE, Amos, a shepherd from Judah, goes north to preach against the sinful kingdom of Israel. Amos was a prophet from the town of Tekoh in Juda. He was unassuming, but bold and fearless when called to bear witness against the evils of his day. Prior to his call to the prophetic office, Amos was a shepherd who devoted a part of his time to tending sycamore trees and gathering their fruit. Amos is sometimes called the “gloomy shepherd. ” He was not known for his sympathy or warmth, but for his sense of justice and of pride.
Amos directed his message to the wealthy people who oppressed the poor. His primary audience was the Northern Kingdom of Israel. These people were wealthy and enjoyed great luxury. However, they were morally, religiously and politically corrupt. Amos preached his message because the people of Israel were at the summit of worldly prosperity, but rapidly filling up the measure of their sins. The mission of Amos was therefor, rather to threaten than to console. Amos rebuked, among other things, the corruption of their manners, which kept pace with their prosperity.
He charged the great men with partiality as judges, and violence towards the poor; and he foretells, as a punishment from God, the capacity of the ten tribes in a foreign country. Amos’ message is largely a “cry for justice. ” Amos’ message then was to spread justice to all people, especially the weak and the poor. Amos was angered because the rich people were disregarding God’s law. God’s law was designed to protect people and share justice for all. For example, Amos condemns the rich women of Samaria for lying around and acting like fat cattle.
He warns them that someday this lavish lifestyle they live, will not exist. They too, will get theirs. ” Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an everflowing stream. ” (Amos 5:14) Through this, Amos says that the Lord abominates processions, sacrifices, and hymns singing that do not come from sincere hearts. Justice is not being served. Based on Amos’ message and style of writing, I think that his message today would reach out to all of the socially and economically challenged people.
He would direct that people should love and treat all as equal status citizens. When Jesus said,” to love your neighbor, ” he meant to love all of your neighbors, weather they be next door, next state, or even in another country. However, Amos would say to especially reach out to the ones that are poor and weak. I think he would stress that life is too short, and God gave us a good one. Meaning that we should take advantage of it, and befriend and take care of all.