Like a lot of preachers, Amos confessed he had no aspirations of being one. He told his critics that he was happy being a simple farmer, but that God had pressed him into service and commissioned him to call his generation to repentance (7:14-15). Being the unassuming man he was, he put his convicting sermons in the simplest of terms. He told the compromised “people of God” it was high time to “seek good, and not evil” (5:14). Their hearts, he said, needed to learn once again to “hate evil, and love good” (5:15).
Unfortunately, there were few who heeded his message due to the intoxication of the prosperous times under king Jeroboam. “Life is good,” the people thought. “We go to ‘church’, God seems to be blessing us, surely he’s happy with us” (Am.4:4ff., 6:1ff.). But Amos warned them, as Paul would later write, “do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Rom.2:4).
Because Amos’ peers were more in tune with their feelings than the precepts of God’s law they failed to detect what any simple country preacher could see – their lives stood in stark contrast to the lyrics of their worship songs (5:23-24). Perhaps it is so with us. And maybe what we really need is not the depth of some new theological insight, but just an honest look at ourselves, and an unsophisticated call to repent.
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