Prepare to meet your God, O Israel! For behold He who forms mountains, and creates the wind, who declares to man what his thought is, and makes the morning darkness, who treads the high places of the earth…..the Lord God of Hosts is His name.” Amos 4:12b,13
Amos, a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit, was sent by God to proclaim a word of coming judgment upon the northern ten tribes, known as Israel. He was not a man of priestly or noble descent, but he was a contemporary with such men as Jonah, Hosea and Isaiah.
At the time that he was sent to give this message, Israel, politically speaking, was doing quite well. They were at peace with their neighbors to the south, Judah, and with the menace of the constant aggravating Assyrians to their north. Perhaps they were finding some relief from the Assyrians as a result of the preaching of Jonah to the great city of Nineveh. When the inhabitants of Nineveh heard Jonah, they repented.
Spiritually though, Israel was in the throw of moral decay and all kinds of perversion.
When he first began to proclaim the message that God had given to him to speak, Israel was quite attentive. You see, they thought that his message was for everyone else but them.
It wasn’t long before Amos’ words were directed specifically toward them. At that point they accuse him of conspiracy against the king. The priest of Bethel, Amaziah, after warning the king of Amos’ strong rebuke toward Israel and its leadership, said to Amos, “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah, there eat bread, and there prophecy. But never again prophecy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the royal residence.”
Amos responds by telling them that he was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet…. “I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit. Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go prophecy to My people Israel.’” He told them, “You say don’t prophecy against Israel.” Well he goes on to tell them of impending judgment and doom upon their cities and their inhabitants because of their sin.
It’s a tough place to be for a prophet when he is commanded of God to tell a people to prepare to meet their God.
It was difficult for Amos and it is troublesome for men of God to speak to people living in rebellion and moral corruption today as well. Yet the word must be spoken….. “Prepare to meet your God.” Men’s eternity will be determined upon their response to such a high and holy challenge.
I sure wish we’d all been ready!