By Gladys McElmore
Amos came with much needed unbelievable news from God. Ordinary people like Amos are often used by God to accomplish tasks. Amos was a tree farmer, a sheep herder, a Hebrew prophet and most definitely a man of God. Given visions of the future of Judah and Israel, Amos took messages to the people (Amos 2:4-16).
More references include Amos 4:1-1; Amos 3:1-6; Amos 5:21-24 and including opportunities for repentance with many warnings of punishment. Did Amos fear men of high status? He was not silenced or intimidated by the hierarchy of his time.
God gave Amos boldness to speak his truth. Judah and Israel were condemned for several sins which included enslavement of poor people, immorality, collection of money illegally from poor people, idol worship, exploitation of less fortunate people and greed that caused many problems then just as they do presently (Amos 3-6). The Israelites forgot God’s blessings just as we sometimes elevate ourselves and forget the source of our help.
In so many experiences we, without a doubt, know that all of our help comes from God who wants us to be judged fairly just as He directed Amos not to twist justice or to show partiality. After much reading, we see how many people then and now do not heed the teachings of the Bible.
God reminded the Israelites of His faithfulness to them. He helped them cross bridges, fight battles, subdue enemies and rescued their ancestors from the Egyptians after years of bondage.
Are our problems so much different today? There are changes with each new generation, but one thing never changes is the fact that we make choices. We can choose to live God’s way, even if it may seem hard sometimes or we can do as some of the Israelites. We can choose to follow other plans. God never changes; we change. He loves us and wants us to enjoy peace and prosperity.
Check out the news media and we can match worldwide, national and local problems with any of the same kinds of conflicts Amos encountered. All over the world people are greedy, unfair, take advantage of the less fortunate through credit arrangements, fraud scams, illegal investments, bribery and cheating family and friends. Low morals exist and idol worship can come with our abundant material possessions and wealth. Helpless people are trampled in the dust (Amos 2:7). Sometimes they see no way to advance themselves.
(1) How can prosperity bring corruption in our lives?
(2) What positive character traits will help us and others?
(3) What was oppression in Amos’ time? What is it now?
(4) What steps can we take now to improve our lives spiritually? How can we use our gifts?
(5) What can we learn from Amos about being complacent while others suffer? How can we change ourselves to show more compassion to others?
Let all of us try to move forward as servants in whom the Lord delights. Why not use some time to prayerfully consider God’s blessings with gratitude that He is still applying mercy and love in our lives! The manner in which we treat others and how we respond to the mistreatment of others can indicate the depth of our faith in God.
Let’s ask God for more help as we continue to obey His word.
Mrs. Gladys McElmore, a resident of Norfolk’s Middle Town Arch Community, is a New Journal and Guide Freelance Contributor on religion. She is a native of Essex County, Va.