Amos’ words remind us of the warp and the woof of a skilled weaver. Back and forth his words go, around the neighboring nations of Israel in the eighth century before Christ. East and west, north and south, Amos, the prophet of God, spins a web of judgment and of indictment to the nations that neighbor the people of God.
One of the burdens of Amos concerned the neighboring nations to the people of God. The thrust of the burden of the prophet spoke to their inhumanity, their barbarity, and their sometimes atrocities as national expressions, as political organizations, as governmental functions. The God of Amos was not locked up in the sanctuary in Jerusalem. He was God turned loose on the world of the eighth century before Christ. His concern was not exhausted with the order of service in the temple. He was a God whose eyes ran to and fro in the earth, seeking out injustice that needed to be righted, barbarity that needed to be turned into humanity, and atrocities that needed the address of the judgment of a living God.
In days like our days that call for concern, for justice—not only on a national level but also on an international level—the message of Amos becomes somehow suddenly contemporary. The thrust of Amos’ message is that every national expression, every governmental organization, every political body stands before a living God who weighs that expression, that body, or that organization in the balance of his own justice.
The presupposition of Amos’ message to the international scene eight centuries before Christ is Amos’ God’s belief that there ...
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Dr. Joel C. Gregory is Director of the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching, holder of the George W. Truett Endowed Chair of Preaching and Evangelism at Baylor's Truett Seminary, and the founder of Joel Gregory Ministries.