Amos 1:1-2

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.




Amos 1

Amos is not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible, and yet his message was so important a whole book has been attributed to him. His name means burden or burden-bearer. When we read his message for Israel we can understand how appropriate his name was. It was not an easy message to deliver.

Amos had had no theological or prophetic training – he was just a shepherd from a remote area of Judah. He lived in Tekoa which was about 16 kilometres from Jerusalem. He himself spoke of his background and the place where he delivered his message (7:13-15). He went to Bethel, a city in the south of Israel, not very far from Amos’ home town.

Amos described himself as a raiser of sheep, rather than a shepherd. He was no shepherd in the spiritual sense but a true shepherd with a flock of sheep. He added that he also tended sycamore trees. God had come to him as he was caring for his sheep and commanded him to go to the northern kingdom of Israel.

Whilst Amos’ message was primarily for Israel he also spoke of other nations. His message can be dated between 760BC and 750BC. The people of God lived in a divided nation at this time. The southern kingdom, where Amos lived, was known as Judah and it had good kings and bad kings during the time Israel was divided in this way. The northern kingdom was called Israel and it had one ungodly king after another. At this time the king of Israel, Jeroboam, son of Joash, was one of the better kings although he did not follow God.

Israel’s neighbour, Syria, had been an on-going enemy of Israel for a long time. But at the time of King Jeroboam the country had been defeated by the Assyrians which meant that Syria was no longer such a threat to Israel and the northern kingdom was prosperous.

When Amos said God spoke from Jerusalem he was reminding the people that God had commanded them to keep the centre of worship in that city, but they had rejected His command and had set up other centres in Dan, Bethel and Gilgal.

The earthquake that is mentioned is not recorded in any other writings so it does not help in dating the events when Amos gave his message for the Lord.

Amos gave a message of the forthcoming judgment of God which would happen against Gentile nations and then against Judah and Israel. As a shepherd he knew how God’s judgment could affect the land. God could stop the rain, bring about plagues or allow countries to be conquered. All these would affect the actual land and the shepherds in the fields would mourn what was happening.

Mount Carmel is a mountain in the north of Israel where Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal long before Amos was prophesying. He may have been reminding the people of God’s victory over the gods the people were worshipping in Elijah’s time.


When you meet someone for the first time, how do you introduce yourself? Why is it important to you that they know these details about you?


  • Who has God called to speak to you in the past? How would you describe the person/people whom God used? Do you consider them to be ultra-spiritual people? Why/why not? How have you recognised His voice when they spoke to you?
  • How has God used you to speak on His behalf? Are you willing to speak out for Him? What would make you do so? How do you feel about being His spokesperson?
  • Is God more likely to use someone who works on the Church staff, or who has some form of theological qualification – or you? Why do you respond in this way?
  • What is happening in your immediate world today that you think God may be upset or angry about? Where do you see injustice? Would you describe the people around you as self-sufficient, or reliant on God? What difference does the source of their strength make to the way they deal with day to day issues?
  • How can you be a light in the darkness with the load-shedding that is taking place at the moment? What hope can you give – to the Eskom workers? To the people in the street?
  • How do you feel about roaring like a lion over the injustices you see? Do you believe God can use you to great effect to be His voice in the darkness? Why/why not?
  • How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?


Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.


Who can you help this week who is struggling with injustice of any sort? How can you help them? Take a step towards doing so – in God’s strength. Report back to the group what happens.


Amos Chapter 1

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