The affluent people of Israel were enjoying their life of luxury and prosperity. They had become careless, and complacent, mistreating poor people, and selling them into servitude. Before long, Israel would be vanquished by Assyria, and the rich would become slaves. Then in walks a God-called man from a small country town, prophesying judgment, and preaching repentance.
The Prophet Amos:
Amos was a common countryman, a sheepherder, and a sycamore tree gardener. He was undoubtedly content with tending to his flock and working in the sycamore orchard. This type of sycamore was of the fig variety, a common food staple in the area. (Amos 1:1, 7:14). He originated from working with long-haired sheep to the very much prepped goats of the city. He originated from a position in agriculture to a position in culture.
I can imagine the high society people looking down their noses at the country preacher, because I see it in churches today. It is a shame that some churches will not hear a preacher if he does not have a plethora of letters behind his name.
This was during the time of Jeroboam II, king of Israel, and Uzziah, king of Judah. He answered the call from God to deliver a message to the surrounding nations of Judah and to Israel and Judah as well. He was a courageous spiritual statesman, not a priest or politician. In a sense, you could say he was a traveling minister.
The Prophecy of Amos:
In Chapters 1 & 2, he gives announcements for the surrounding nations, each starting with "Thus saith the Lord", He states the punishment for the transgressions of Damascus, Gaza, Tyrus, Edom, Ammon, Moab, then to Judah and Israel.
In Chapters 3-6, he gives the reasons why God would bring the judgments to the children of Israel. Amos grieves for Israel and how God detests Israel's pride. The three discourses begin with "Hear this word."
In Chapters 7-9, there are five visions. The motivation behind the visions is to strengthen the truth that the anticipated judgment could not be turned away.
The Preaching of Amos:
Amos's preaching announced the coming judgment as "The Lord will roar from Zion" (Amos 1:2) and "The lion hath roared, who will not fear? The Lord hath spoken, who can but prophesy" (Amos 3:8). As a lion roars its warning, there is no escaping from God.
Amos saw the union of justice and righteousness in daily life, which was a burden to him that Israel did not see or have. He understood the sovereignty of God and viewed God as dealing out punishment according to disobedience. Amos preached that the Day of the Lord would be a day of darkness and not the unconditional guarantee of security to God's elect as the Israelites believed.
Amos also preached that privilege indicates responsibility. As God's chosen, the Israelites assumed that their prosperity meant having God's favor, but they were accountable for their inward as well as their outward actions. Amos's most annihilating judgment was focused on the hard negligence for the rights and necessities of others, such as the persecuted poor.
But hope was to come. "Seek ye me, and ye shall live" (Amos 5:4), "seek the Lord, and ye shall live" (Amos 5:6), repentance and deliverance were still there (Amos 5:15), and restoration (Amos 9:11-12).
The hope that Amos preached was fulfilled in Christ. What applied back then still applies today.