We are in the Exile Stream starting the book of Amos. Yes, he’s famous! We are reading from The Message this week.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord of Heaven: It is numbing to see how bad and profane and sinful and willful people can be. May we be agents who operate against such darkness and call sinners to you. Amen.
Amos’ prophecy is right around 750 B.C. Isaiah is beginning his writings right on the heels of Amos. Amos was young as Jonah was in his twilight years – Amos could well have heard first hand of Jonah’s revival in Nineveh that shook the known world. Amos was among the earlier of the 17 OT prophets. He was a contemporary of Elisha, but young to have met Elijah. Hosea was younger than Amos and would have continued upon Amos’ departure. Micah was also younger than Amos and would have some right after (as with Isaiah).
For some historical perspective, the very first stones are being laid in a new area that would be called “Rome” following Romulus’ celebration of their first military victory. [ There is about 30 years until the Northern Kingdom of Israel would be terrorized and cleaned OUT by Assyria, ]
The Ionian Greeks founded the city of Naples on the Gulf of Naples about as Amos starts writing. Uzziah was king in Judah and Jeroboam II was king of Israel. For what it’s worth, II Chronicles 26 is a contemporary chapter with Amos. It is of the years when King Uzziah was ‘going askew”.
Amos 1 – 2: The word commences two years before “the BIG earthquake”. It was terribly traumatizing for all in the land as it was talked about still, 200 years later, by the Prophet Zechariah as he compared the Amos 1:1 earthquake to the earth’s final judgment which became mentioned by John in Revelation 16:18.
Amos is reading ‘the dirty lowdown’ about and to the whole region: Syria, Gaza, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel. Amos uses the same literative tactic employed in Proverbs 30: “there are three things, actually four…” This adds intrigue as Amos drops the gavel on the rabble-rousing attitude of the leaders and people in the whole region east of the Mediterranean Sea that scholars call “The Levant” [luh-VAUNT]
Damascus in Syria will be burned and busted, Gaza of the Philistines will be burned, devoured, cut off and killed. Tyre will be burned flat as will Edom with her cities, along with the Ammonites as the Ammonite King and princes get exiled. Fire will consume Moab as God sees to it that the entire Royal family dies. Judah and Israel are none the less guilty. They were given a covenant before God. They knew better and disobeyed with robust disgust! So guess what… you guessed right –> Judah will be burned to the ground (much later than Israel, however)
The judgment against Israel in much more “at hand” so it is detailed and stinging.
Israel is oppressing its own people, prostitution is rampant, along with drunkenness, the Prophets are shunned. Israel is slapping God in the face and doubly-arrogant about it. So God is on the verge of crushing them. It will be a bludgeoning like they’ve never known – and they will not recover from it.