There was a willfulness to the ignorance of the wealthy Israelite elite. It is not simply that they were unaware of the problems of their people and of their time. The evidence was all around them, as Amos had been pointing out, yet they were refusing to acknowledge that evidence, choosing instead to live in a constructed reality that was favorable to them. They only saw their own wealth and apparent safety, because that was all they wanted to see.
Category Archives: Bite-Sized Exegesis
Are They Better Than These Kingdoms? – Amos 6:1-2
Using a heavy dose of sarcasm, Amos challenges the idea that Israel and Judah are the greatest nations on earth and that nothing could harm them.
I Hate, I Despise Your Festivals – Amos 5:21-25
What we do for God is important and God appreciates it and takes it seriously. However, unless we are treating our fellow humans with fairness, kindness, and generosity, God doesn’t have any use for our tithes and offerings.
Misunderstanding the Day of the LORD – Amos 5:18-20
The Israelites were longing for the Day of the Lord, thinking that it would be a day of blessing for them. Amos, however, says it won’t be what you think it will be, and you won’t be on the side of it that you think you will be.
Days of Intense Mourning are Coming – Amos 5:16-17
Amos 5:16-17 describe a time of intense mourning for the people of Israel as a result of Yahweh “crossing over into their midst.” Reminiscent of the 10th Egyptian plague, this phrase reverses the typical significance of Yahweh being with or among his people from indicating favor or good fortune to indicating judgment.
A Final Call to Repentance – Amos 5:14-15
Amos calls on Israel to repent so that God will be with them to protect and prosper them the way they think he is. Because no matter how far we have fallen, we can always know that God will be merciful when no one else would be.
The Fate of Those Who Despise Truth – Amos 5:10-13
In Amos 5:10-13, we see a corrupt society where the wealthy elite maintain their wealth and power by dishonestly fixing the system in their favor. A just judge is despised. God’s punishment is appropriate: whatever you use your wealth to build will be taken from you before you can enjoy it.
God Alone Is Master of the Heavens – Amos 5:8-9
God alone created the stars, so why would we consult the stars about our destinies when we can consult God? God alone gives us rain and provides for our needs, so why would we seek out another god to provide for us or, worse, to push God out of the picture altogether?
A Series of Calamities – Amos 4:6-13
Amos 4:6-13 tells us how, in an effort to bring Israel to her senses, God sent a series of calamities, including famine, drought, blight, pestilence, disease, and violence. Nevertheless, Israel wouldn’t turn back to God. This list of calamities is strongly reminiscent of the curse list in Deuteronomy 28, suggesting a covenant context for Amos 4.
The Trajectory of Hebrew Prophecy – Amos 4:4-5
Amos 4:4-5 sits in the middle of the trajectory of Hebrew prophecy by declaring that only worship that proceeds from a heart that loves God and loves its neighbor is acceptable to God. Amos sounds a lot like Jesus.