This week we are starting a 3 part series on the book of Amos. Amos is considered a minor prophet not because he is less important but because the books of the minor prophets are shorter in length. Sometimes people have a misconception that the God of the Old Testament is just a God of wrath. And our study in the book of Amos won't necessarily change that opinion. But in this world today, many people are angry. Protesters in Hong Kong are angry at the government, people are angry at the protesters. People in Ferguson, Missouri are angry with the police and people are angry at situation in the Middle East. If we are angry, how much more does God have a right to be angry? God is angry because He cares! He loves His creation. He wants to be in relationship with them and He wants them to be in relationship with each other. In the Old Testament, when God was angry he would send a prophet: a person God chose to speak His words, to bring His people back to Him.
In Amos 1:1 and 7:14-15, Amos tells us that he was a shepherd of Tekoa (in Judah) and a farmer when God told him to go and prophesy to Israel. And he went! He also tells us that it was during the reign of Uzziah in Judah and Jeroboam II in Israel. This was a time of relative peace and prosperity for both kingdoms. It was a time of blessing.
But God was angry. In Amos 1:2, Amos says "Yahweh roars from Zion and he utters his voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds wither and the top of Carmel dries up.
What is making God angry? In Amos 1:3-2:3 God lists six nations that He is angry with. These nations have been brutal towards Israel, engaged in slave-trading whole communities, pursuing old rivalries and betrayals and desecrating the dead.
Though they are Gentile nations and not under the Law, these nations were responsible to the Creator God for what they did. Their disregard for human life is an attack on God's image in human beings. God is a God of justice and He would send His punishment. God is angry.
But God is not only angry with the nations who aren't under the Law. He is also angry with Judah with for breaking the Law. The Law was a means of grace, an invitation to relationship with a holy God. And in Exodus 24:3, the people committed themselves to follow: "All the words which the Lord has said, we will do." But they didn't. God is angry.
So here God is speaking through Amos that all of Israel's enemies (including Judah) were in trouble with God. They may have listened with delight until Amos condemns the nation of Israel in Amos 2:6-9. God is angry with Israel for their social injustice (v.6-7); their sexual immorality (v.7) and their idolatry (v.8). Their blessing didn't result in blessing others, instead it was a means of indulging themselves and treating people worse!
Even more convicting, God reminds them of His faithfulness in Amos 2:9-12. God is the one who led them out of slavery in Egypt, invited them to be His people through the Law and brought them to the Promised Land. And how do they repay Him?
Does God not have a right to be angry? What is making God really angry is not only the way they are treating Him but the way in which they are treating others.
Have you been making God angry by the way you have been treating others? Spend some time in confession and repentance and receive Christ's forgiveness that was purchased for you on the cross. Who may God be calling you to care for this week? Spend some time asking God to lead you into loving actions you can take.