Explain the Relevance of the Ministry of the Prophet Amos, a Prophet of Social Justice to Our Present Day Setting.

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  • Published : November 9, 2006
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Explain the relevance of the ministry of the prophet Amos, a prophet of social justice to our present day setting.

"Writing at a time of prosperity, when a sharp contrast existed between the luxurious life of the nation's leaders and the oppression of the poor was the prophet Amos" (John W. Ritenbaugh) During the reign of Jeroboam II Israel had become a wealthy and prosperous nation. It was a golden age for Israel, a time of political stability and economic growth. This wealth however was not enjoyed by everyone, as the northern kingdom became more urbanised it saw an emergence of a wealthy middle class and a widening gulf between them and the poor. It was against this social backdrop that the prophet Amos preached. As the people of Israel enjoyed this ‘golden age' their religious worship became little more than an empty ritual. ‘This prosperity and military success gave Israel a false sense of security. Israel was still involved in the worship of Baal and the Golden Calf' (The Grace Institute). Yahweh needed to call someone who would lead the people back to him and proclaim his judgement to Israel, he chose Amos. Amos was a shepherd who also tended sycamore trees, unlike many prophets of the day he was not a professional prophet ‘I was no prophet neither did I belong to any of the brotherhoods of the prophets' (Chp.7 v14). He was in fact a shepherd from Tekoa, a small village south of Jerusalem, ‘It was Yahweh who took me from herding the flock, and Yahweh who said, "Go, prophesy to my people of Israel"' (Chp.7 v.15-16). As the book of Amos opens, God gives Amos his judgement of Israel and the surrounding nations, Damascus, Philistia, Phoenicia, Edom, Ammon, Moab and Judah. For each one God opens with ‘for the three crimes, the four crimes of….', and then addresses the multiple sins they have committed against each other. The nations surrounding Israel did not know God, therefore God does not punish them for their crimes against him, instead their...
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