Amos was a farmer, a shepherd and a tender of sycamore fruit in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. His very name meant “Burden” or “Burden-bearer”. He was destined by the will of God to deliver a message of warning and rebuke to the idolatrous Northern Kingdom. There was no prophet or priest in his family line; no formal training. But his words were articulate and his message as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel.
Many of the warnings ring true in our age:
1. You have assimilated the idolatry and false hopes of your neighbours.
2. You see no coming rod of correction.
3. You delight in the excess of ill-gotten gain snatched from the poor and the vulnerable.
4. You see nothing but clear skies ahead.
5. You can hardly tolerate the pause of the sabbath.
6. Your sacrifices are insincere. I will not smell them.
7. Your praise is irreverent. I will not listen.
8. Your idea of the Day of the Lord is simply more pandering of yourselves.
9. If you were to serve me in truth, there would be much more charity and social justice.
10. You are experiencing a famine for the Word of God in progressive measure.
11. I have laid a plumb-line to that which you have built; found it grievously wanting; intend serious judgment.
12. Many a difficulty, many a disaster have I set before you to cause you to return to me.
13. A remnant shall be saved and brought again to blessing and security.
If one looks at the last recorded messages of Jesus in the Letters to the Seven Churches in Revelation one sees much of the same “burden”. (See Robert Murray M’Cheyne’s excellent book on this. Banner of Truth Trust) Today’s churches miss this. They emphasize that Jesus is love; Jesus is inclusive; Jesus’ mercy rejoices against judgment. Pastors will not issue the necessary rebukes. Sometimes even when they try, the message falls upon deaf ears. (Ezekiel 33: 30-33) Is it too late?
Be warned! The “famine” is coming; has already come.