Introduction: This week we begin a new study which turns our
attention to the Old Testament book of Amos. Amos is known
as one of the “minor” prophets of the Old Testament. His
book is only nine chapters long.

If this makes you think Amos is unimportant, consider that
the decision to study this book at this time was made long
ago. Yet, as I read through Amos this week, I was struck by
the “hard” lessons it contains for us today. Amos 9:1 is
eerily familiar. It says, “Strike the tops of the Temple
columns so hard that the foundation will shake. Smash the
columns so the roof will crash down on the people below….
No one will escape!” (NLT) Are recent events a call to us in
America to repent? We will see. Right now, let’s dive into
our introduction to this important little book!

  1. Amos the Shepherd

    1. Let’s read Amos 1:1 and 7:14-15. What kind of a job
      did Amos have? (He was a shepherd and a fruit
      picker/tree tender.)

      1. Was he the “head” shepherd? (No. Amos 1:1
        tells us he was just one of the shepherds in
        this one town.)

      2. What kind of status did a shepherd have? How
        about fruit pickers? Were these the leaders of
        a country? Were these the intellectuals of the
        day? Thought leaders? ( Genesis 46:33-34
        indicates that Egyptians detested shepherds.)

      3. Do you think Amos thought it was odd that he
        was called to speak for God? (Let’s read the
        context for Amos 7:14. Read Amos 7:13-15. When
        Amos is told by the priest of Bethel to go
        somewhere else, Amos essentially says, “Look,
        this wasn’t my idea. I’m not a prophet or even
        the son of a prophet. But God told me to do

    2. How do you react when someone with less education
      and less “sophistication” than you tells you what
      to do?

      1. We don’t have any farmers or fruit pickers in
        our local church. What if a fruit picker
        wandered into your church and then started
        telling you how to run it? How would you

      2. Tekoa, Amos’ home, was located in Judah (the
        Southern kingdom). The text we just read from
        Amos chapter 7 has him giving warnings for the
        king of the Northern kingdom. What if a
        stranger came to your church and told you that
        you needed to change things all around? Let’s
        say a layman from your pastor’s or priest’s
        old church or parish showed up one day and
        started making changes in your church. How
        would you react? (That actually happened in my
        church. The “old friends” decided to re-arrange the platform of the church. They
        decided that we needed “racially diverse”
        pictures in the church lobby (we had no
        pictures at all)- even though the “old
        friends” come from a place where there is no
        racial diversity at all. The general reaction
        to this “help” was “What do they know about
        our aesthetics and our approach to harmony?”)

  2. Amos the Messenger

    1. Why do you think God picked Amos to give His
      message? (He might not have had an extensive formal
      education, but he was gifted. R.K. Harrison notes
      that Amos was not an ignorant peasant. His style of
      writing “exhibited poetic gifts, and his oracles
      are models of articulate speech….” (Elwell,
      Evangelical Commentary, p. 625) God gave Amos His
      message because he was willing and he was able –
      even though he did not have high “status” here.)

    2. Let’s go back to Amos 1:1 again. What do you
      understand Amos to mean when he writes “the words
      of Amos” and then says that “he saw” things
      concerning Israel? (He is telling the people he has
      a message from God.)

    3. Read Amos 1:2. What would be your reaction if
      someone said they had a prophetic message in which
      God “roared” and “thundered?” Would this be a
      message you should put off? One you could ignore?

      1. Amos says the pastures of the shepherds dry up
        and the top of Carmel withers. What does this
        mean for the people? What is in store for
        them? (A drought – tough times.)

      2. What level of importance would you attach to
        this message? (God comes roaring in with
        disaster in mind. I’d being paying close

  3. Conditions in Israel

    1. Let’s look at some texts that give us a view of
      conditions at the time of Amos’ prophecy. Read Amos
      3:10. What is wrong here?

      1. Is being rich the problem? (The problem is
        getting the wealth unjustly.)

      2. Our text says that God’s people “do not know
        how to do right.” Did they once know? How did
        they get to this point? (Sin is a gradual
        progression. You keep walking away from God
        until finally your sense of what is right is
        so corrupted you do not know how to do right.
        These people were far from God.)

      3. Our text says that they get their wealth
        unjustly in “their fortresses.” What does that
        add to our picture of the times? (This seems
        to say it was “official policy.” The “thought
        leaders” of the day were doing it.)

      4. Let’s add Amos 3:9 to verse 10 to get a better
        insight. Are Ashdod and Egypt historically
        nations which were under God’s special care?
        (No! These are the “enemy” of Israel and

        1. What is God telling Israel’s enemies to
          do? (He is telling them to come over and
          observe the sin and then watch what is
          going to happen.)

          1. What is going to happen? (Read Amos
            3:11. It says that God is going to
            punish His people.)

          2. Why would God want their enemies to
            watch? (This is something we do not
            always realize. God uses His people
            as an object lesson to the world. His
            dealings with us are in part a
            witness to the world.)

    2. Read Amos 5:10-11. Who “reproves in court?”
      (Generally, it is the judge who does that.)

      1. What sins do we see described here? (The
        people hate honest judges and honest
        witnesses. We see a picture of a people who
        are working to corrupt the judicial system.)

      2. Read Amos 5:12. Are they successful in
        corrupting the judicial system? (Yes.)

        1. What is the problem with giving and taking
          bribes? Who gets hurt in such a situation?
          (The decision of the judge is not made
          based on what is just, as opposed to who
          is richer.)

    3. Read Amos 5:4-5. What other evil was done by God’s
      people? (They were not worshiping Him. As we
      continue our study of this book we will see that
      this is a reference to cities where other gods were

  4. A God Who Gives Advance Warning

    1. Read Amos 3:3. Here is a famous text. What is your

    2. Read Amos 3:4. What is your answer to these

    3. Read Amos 3:5. What are your answers here?

    4. Read Amos 3:6. What answer do you have here?

      1. Why does God ask all of these questions? What
        is God’s point?

        1. Go back over each of these verses and tell
          me what you think God’s “point” is on
          each? (Verse 3: Unless the people and God
          agree, they are not going to be walking
          together. Verse 4: God is making all of
          this “noise” because He has a real problem
          with the people. He is not just talking.
          Verse 5: The people have fallen into evil
          by deciding to turn to evil things. Verse
          6: God is in charge of events. Since God
          is warning them of their evil ways,
          shouldn’t they be paying attention?!)

      2. Why doesn’t God just get “to the point”
        instead of asking all of these questions? (By
        linking His “point” to real life experiences,
        God hopes to get them to understand the truth
        of what He is telling them.)

    5. Read Amos 3:7. Another famous text. Does this give
      you comfort? Do you think this applies to our
      current situation in the U.S.? (Whenever you have
      the “intersection” of disobedience to God and
      trouble, you should always ask yourself: “Is this
      God’s judgment for our correction?” It may not be,
      but you should always consider this question.)

      1. Does this apply to God’s people everywhere?
        (Yes! In every place God interacts with His
        people and warns them when they turn from

    6. Friend, if recent events have gotten you attention,
      continue to study with us as we try to understand
      God’s lessons for today in Amos.

  5. Next Week: Sins of the Neighbors