This Sunday we start a new study of the book of Amos.
Who was Amos?
Amos was herdsman who also picked figs. He had no religious pedigree or prominence. He was a country farmer whom God called to preach. His preaching style is simple and to the point. His illustrations are very down to earth and easy to understand. Although he was from Judah his ministry was predominantly in the nation of Israel.
When did he preach?
Amos preached around 765 B.C. during the reign of Jeroboam II of Israel and Uzziah (Azariah) of Judah. The nation of Israel had been oppressed and taxed by the surrounding nations and had been constantly at war. There was a slight reprieve from these nations that resulted in several years of great economic prosperity. However, this prosperity never made its way down to the common people. The rich got richer and the powerful gained more power. In 722 B.C. the nation of Israel was carried off into captivity.
What was his message?
Amos was a preacher of social justice. He decried the injustices of the surrounding nations, but he especially focused on the injustices of Israel. He focused most of his ministry in speaking out against the rich and powerful who took advantage of the poor. His message was that injustice within a society would bring the judgment of God. In light of this he called people to repent for the sins of their nation.
Social justice and the Gospel
The main point of Amos is that social justice is not antithetical to the Gospel and does not replace the Gospel; they are inseparable. If we preach social justice without the Gospel we are wasting our time; the Gospel is what changes a society. If we preach the Gospel without addressing the injustices of our times we are preaching a perverted Gospel that cannot save; we are merely making the Gospel a pathway to heaven not the transformation of a dead sinner into the likeness of Christ. The injustices of a society merit God’s wrath; therefore we must repent and run to Christ. Jesus not only forgives us, but He also changes us and makes us just.
Will you run to Jesus for the transformation of life that He gives?