Over the next two months our 8am and 10am congregations will be delving into the book of Amos. Here’s some historical context from our 8am pastor, Noel Bowditch, to get us started.
The opening verse of the book gives us its historical setting – the 8th century BC (Uzziah was king of Judah, Jeroboam II king of Israel). The situation described in the book leads most scholars to date the ministry of Amos to around 760-755BC. Since the death of King Solomon, about 170 years earlier, the once united kingdom of Israel had existed as two separate entities – a southern kingdom which became known as Judah and a northern kingdom which retained the name of Israel. Between these two kingdoms there was significant hostility.
Amos was a shepherd from the village of Tekoa near Jerusalem in the southern kingdom of Judah, who was called by God to proclaim the word of the Lord to the people of the northern kingdom of Israel. At the time it was experiencing unprecedented prosperity. Amos’ message warned them of God’s impending judgment and called them to repentance.
But before he delivers his message to Israel, he first declares God’s judgment on the surrounding nations, including his own nation of Judah. That God was not pleased with the sins of others was a messages Israel would have had no problem with, but then much more confrontingly (starting in 2:6) he turns his attention to the sins of Israel.
Check out this 7 minute video that gives a really helpful introduction and overview of the whole book.