November 3 | Amos 9:7-15
Not Your Great-Grandma’s Cross-stitch
by Kristin Schoeff
How many people do you know who say that Amos is their favorite book of the Bible? I’m pretty sure that no one ever wrote Amos 9:7-10 on a greeting card to encourage a friend! And all those little girls who faithfully cross-stitched Bible promises on samplers a century or more ago – I am certain that not one chose those verses from Amos as their text!
But I’m reminded of 2 Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness." Let’s dig in and find what the Holy Spirit might say to us through this passage.
Amos tells us in Amos 1:1 and 7:14 that he was a simple shepherd and farmer from the southern kingdom of Judah whom God called to go and prophesy to His people in the northern kingdom of Israel. Times were good both in Judah and Israel. It was a time of political peace, prosperity, and the outward appearance of faithful practice of the worship of God. But inwardly, there was idolatry, indulgence, hypocrisy, and oppression of the poor and needy.
Reading through the entire prophetic book of Amos, one hears again, as in so many of the other books of prophecy, God’s efforts to reach the people of Israel and bring them to repentance. Amos 5:4 says, “This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me and live.’” Chapter 9 is the culmination of His frustration and, yes, anger with His people who again and again refuse to turn to Him, yet maintain their religious observance of sacrifices, offerings and tithes, and acts of “worship.” God is outraged at the treatment of the poor and downtrodden among the people while the religious folks continue to perform their “duty” to Him.