Amos, Prophet to Israel
Thank you for continuing this journey of The Gospel Project® for Kids. Over the next four weeks, our Bible stories will focus on four prophets whose messages to God’s people foreshadowed Jesus Christ. In today’s Bible story, Amos was a regular, hard-working man who raised sheep in the Southern Kingdom of Judah. God called Amos to prophesy to the people of Israel.
On the outside, the Northern Kingdom of Israel looked good. They were prospering economically, their borders were expanding, and sure, King Jeroboam was an evil and ungodly man, but he could have been worse. But God was not pleased with His people. Their hearts were far from Him. They ignored God’s laws, worshiped idols, and mistreated the poor. They were greedy, hypocritical, and prideful. So God called Amos to tell Israel that God was going to judge them for their sin.
Taking God’s message to the people of Israel was no easy task. When Amos told Israel through three sermons that God’s judgment would also fall on them, they told him to go away. The Israelites’ refusal to turn back to God eventually led to their exile and brought an end to their time of prosperity.
God is holy and just, but He is also loving and gracious. God wanted His people to turn back to Him, but they refused. Israel faced the punishment for their sin. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin. God accepts anyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Amos, Prophet to Israel
God’s people had been divided into two kingdoms for many years: the Kingdom of Judah in the south, and the Kingdom of Israel in the north. Amos lived in Judah. He raised sheep and grew fruit. One day, God called Amos. God said, “Go, prophesy to My people Israel.” Amos had never been a prophet. He was a farmer! Amos obeyed God. He went to Israel to tell the people God’s message.
Everything seemed to be going well for the people of Israel. They were successful and powerful. They were ruled by King Jeroboam. Jeroboam was an evil, ungodly king, but the people knew he could have been worse.
God could see what no one else could see. God could see His people’s hearts. The people did not love God. They were greedy and unfair. They sinned a lot.
God is holy, and He punishes sin. God was planning to punish the people of Israel for their sins. Amos’s job was to warn the people. Amos told them how God was going to punish them.
First, Amos said that God was going to punish the countries around Israel because they had done terrible things. But God’s judgment didn’t stop there. When Amos announced that God was going to judge Judah and Israel, too, that was news God’s people did not want to hear!
It made sense that God was going to punish Israel’s enemies; they did not know and love God. But God’s own people were not that different from the people around them. They mistreated the poor and worshiped idols. The people of Israel knew that God had been faithful to them and that He had saved His people from slavery in Egypt, but they rejected Him anyway.
Amos told Israel what God was planning to do: “An enemy will come and take away your power and steal everything you have.” Amos reminded the people of what they did wrong and of all the times they turned away from God.
“Seek God and live!” Amos said. “Don’t you know where you are? God is in control of everything! God put the stars in the sky. He tells the sun when to rise and when to set, and He brings the rain. God created all of this, and He can destroy it too!”
Amos told Israel it was time to wake up! God didn’t want people to just pretend they loved God. He didn’t want them to make offerings or sing songs to Him if they didn’t mean it. God wanted His people to be righteous. He handed down their punishment: “I will send you into exile.” God’s people would be forced to leave their country.
God showed Amos visions of what Israel’s punishment would be like. A vision is like a dream, except Amos wasn’t sleeping. He was awake. First, God showed that He was going to send locusts. The locusts ate up all the crops. Amos prayed and asked God not to send the locusts. God agreed.
Then God showed Amos a re. The re burned up the land. Amos said, “God, please stop!” So God agreed not to send the re. Then God showed Amos a plumb line. A plumb line is a tool used to measure how upright, or straight, something is. God would use the plumb line to measure the righteousness of Israel. “I will punish them for their sins,” God said.
A priest named Amaziah told King Jeroboam about the things Amos said. Amaziah went to Amos. “Go away!” Amaziah said. “We don’t want you here! Go back to Judah.” Amos told Amaziah, “God will do what He said, and the people will be taken far from home.”
God showed Amos another vision. Amos saw a basket of ripe summer fruit. God compared the fruit to Israel. Ripe fruit would soon be rotten. God would soon throw Israel out. Then in the last vision, Amos saw God standing beside the altar.
The message to Israel ended with a reminder: God is merciful and loving. God’s plan wouldn’t end with Israel’s punishment. When the time of punishment was over, God would rebuild the family of King David. God promised to bless Israel and make the people successful again. Then God promised that His people would never again be taken from their land.
Christ Connection: God is holy and just, but He is also loving and gracious. God wanted His people to turn back to Him, but they refused. Israel faced the punishment for their sin. God sent Jesus to take the punishment for our sin. God accepts anyone who trusts in Jesus as Lord and Savior.