October 24, 2021
“The words of Amos who was one of the sheep breeders from Tekoa – what he saw regarding Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam...”
“The words of Amos who was one of the sheep breeders from Tekoa – what he saw regarding Israel in the days of Uzziah, king of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. He said: the Lord roars from Zion and raises His voice from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the summit of Carmel withers.” Amos 1:1-2
Concerning Amos, we have much more biographical information than we had of Joel (or any of the other “minor” prophets). Amos gives us several autobiographical notes of deep interest. Amos was a prophet, but he probably was not a contemporary of Joel and Isaiah. He was not a prophet by trade nor a member of the “company of prophets.” Amos was a sheep breeder, a businessman who prophesied.
This mere fact should encourage every layman: prophecy is not exclusively a calling for the “professionals.” As a matter of fact, the apostle Paul said that the ability to prophesy was something that every believer should petition the Lord for.
“Pursue love and desire spiritual gifts, and above all that you may prophesy.” 1 Corinthians 14:1
Paul goes on to say the reason that believers prophesy is to speak to people for edification, encouragement, and consolation, building up the community of believers. (1 Corinthians 14:3-4) Simply put, we should seek God and ask that He reveal His Word (the Bible) to us, with the intent that we would share that revelation with others. That’s how an everyday person like you and me (and Amos) prophesies. God reveals the Truth of His Word, so we will share it, which is precisely what I am doing right now!
Amos was not just any businessman; he was a shepherd. (In chapter 7, we will find that he was also a gatherer of figs, which I will discuss when we reach that chapter.) God is partial to shepherds. David was a shepherd. When Jesus was born, the angels appeared first to shepherds; Jesus called Himself the “Good Shepherd.” Whenever the prophets railed against Israel’s spiritual and political leaders, they were always compared to evil, wicked shepherds. Do you have a shepherd’s heart? Then you should be inclined to alter your life’s plans to rescue and care for God’s “sheep.” Remember: Jesus’ last exhortation to Peter was a three-time command to “Feed My sheep.”
Not only was Amos a regular guy and a shepherd, but he was also from Tekoa, about 12 miles outside of Jerusalem. Joab sent a “wise woman” from Tekoa to persuade David to permit Absalom to return to him, in plain violation of the Torah. (2 Samuel 14:2). Ira, the son of Ikkesh, one of David’s mighty men, was born in Tekoa. (2 Samuel 23:26). The zeal of the men of Tekoa is spoken of, but their nobles were reproved in connection with the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 3:5, 27) Tekoa was a desert town, isolated and surrounded by large hills, a humble place from which God separated Amos and called him to be a prophet. Sometimes, as believers, it can feel like we are alone in the World. But that is the perfect place from which the Lord can call you!