As Amos continued his message from God, he pronounced a woe upon those who were “at ease in Zion, And trust in Mount Samaria.” They considered themselves to be invincible to other kingdoms. He further stated a woe against those who were living in vast luxury and ignoring the warnings of impeding destruction. They would be afflicted completely from Hamath in the north to the Valley of the Arabah in the south.
Amos was a native of Judah—a sheep breeder and tender of sycamore fruit by occupation. Tending sycamore fruit was a job for the poor. None of his ancestors had been prophets. It was probably during his call from God that he had been confronted with a series of visions. In the first two, he saw a swarm of locusts devouring Israel’s late crop and later a great consuming fire from God. He was successful in persuading God to relent from the destruction that he had seen in those visions. However, the third vision was more serious in which Israel had failed the test of God’s plumb line. The message from that third vision was the impending destruction about which Amos was warning Israel.
Many times, it is tempting to “shoot the messenger.” The messenger, Amos was confronted by Amaziah, the idolatrous priest of Bethel. Bethel was one of the chief places of worship that Jeroboam had set up at the beginning of the division of Israel and Judah.
The message was too harsh for the priest. “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah…never again prophesy at Bethel…it is the royal residence.”
Amos reminded Amaziah that the Lord had called him to prophesy and that the message was from the Lord. He concluded by stating the fate of the priest’s own family and that “Israel shall surely be led away captive From his own land.”
The prophet was shown a basket of summer fruit in a vision. As that fruit had come at the end of summer, so had Israel come to the end of their days.
In addition to worshipping idols, Israel was guilty of oppressing the poor in various ways instead of protecting and caring for them as required by the Law of Moses.
Their punishment for disobeying God would be very intense according to the words of Amos. In addition to being intense, Israel’s punishment would be thorough. There would be no escaping. They had enjoyed the privilege of being God’s chosen people, but He also cared for other nations. God has an undying love for all people. He also does not tolerate sin. There was/is a price to pay for sin.
As Amos concluded his prophecy against Israel, he relayed a promise of redemption from God. However, that promise was a spiritual promise instead of physical. Gentiles would also be subjects of that new kingdom that had been promised to David many years earlier.