When Paul Harvey gave his famous speech, “So God Made a Farmer,” at a 1978 convention of the Future Farmers of America, he began:
“God said, ‘I need someone willing to get up before dawn, milk cows, work all day in the fields, milk cows again, eat supper, and then go to town and stay past midnight at a meeting of the school board.’ So God made a farmer.”
Well, I have a feeling Amos would have liked that speech, Amos was a farmer – a sheep breeder and fruit grower – from the town of Tekoa in Judah.
In the 18th century B.C., when God needed a plainspoken man to deliver His message to Samaria He chose a farmer – Amos.
Amos traveled north and preached during a period of prosperity. Worship was hollow and injustice filled the land, with the rich trampling the rights of the poor.
The book of Amos is a collection of sermons condemning the nations – including Judah and Samaria – for the absence of true worship and the presence of true injustice.
- The first two chapters of Amos focus on God’s judgment on the nations.
- The next several chapters warn of judgment on Judah and Samaria.
- The last half of the final chapter is a beautiful promise of hope and restoration.
Amos tells us God despises the exercise of empty religious ritual. Our conduct must always grow from an authentic desire to love others and please Him, and our lives should always produce a true harvest of justice and righteousness.
God hates oppression. His justice will roll down like a river, and His righteousness like a mighty stream.
“But let judgment run down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.
And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.
And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God” (Amos 9:13-15).
Our religious practices are worthless unless we treat others with integrity and compassion.