Amos and Social Justice

Amos 3The book of Amos forecasts disaster for the northern kingdom of Israel in the form of Assyrian invasion and exile as a result of entrenched religious hypocrisy and social injustice. Amos is known as the prophet of social justice, writing during the pre-exilic period. One can safely assume that Amos committed his revelations to writing and that he is the genuine author of the work. During the reigns of King Uzziah of Judah and King Jeroboam II of Israel, the Israelites were deeply religious, but were not holding true to the covenant stipulations outlined in the Mosaic covenant. The prophets of God, however, looked past the façade of the so-called golden age to the dry rot of social and moral decay in both Israel and Judah. Amos was wise in the way he chose to deliver his message. After being invited in to Israel to speak, he began by outlining all of the sins of the surrounding areas. For example, the Assyrians committed war crimes by running threshing boards over the wounded after the battle. The Phoenicians were violating international treaties, and the Philistines and Edomites were involved in slave trade. Upon hearing these accusations, the Israelites would have most certainly thought they were holier than the surrounding nations. However, when the time comes for Amos to evaluate Israel, he charges her with walking away from covenant relationship. Yahweh increases futility in their lives. Israel was taking advantage of the poor and the needy, and was not promoting social justice. Thus, Yahweh set a prophet to enlighten Israel of her ways.

amos2A modern reader of the book of Amos should focus on social justice. True biblical faith manifests itself in wholesome talk, compassionate social concern, and sound doctrine informing godly behavior. Similar to the message of Amos, modern Christians should concern themselves with promoting and protecting social justice. The Lord’s grace manifests true repentance and restoration in those who follow. The Lord loves justice and hates evil, therefore, Christians should do the same. If the Church believes that we are responsible to be an agent for reconciliation and restoration in this world, we should be outspoken advocates for world-wide social justice.

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