You probably know most of the prophets in the Bible like Isaiah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Daniel, and the others with Old Testament books named for them, but the bible identifies many more prophets. In this blog series we will get to know most of the prophets of the Bible, the ones with books named with books after them, and those whose names you may not know at all.
In case you forgot here’s what the word prophet means and how someone is given that title. The English word prophet in the Old Testament comes from the Hebrew word “nabiy” which means “spokesman” or “speaker”. The Greek word for prophet is “prophētēs”, which can mean “one who speaks forth” or “advocate.” Prophets are also called “seers,” because of their spiritual insight or their ability to “see” the future, as directed by God.
The first prophet in the series was Able who we would not have thought of as a prophet at all if Jesus hadn’t called him one.
Luke 11:50-51 (NLT)50 “As a result, this generation will be held responsible for the murder of all God’s prophets from the creation of the world--51 from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, it will certainly be charged against this generation.
Then Abraham who God, Himself announced that he was His prophet.
Genesis 20:6-7 (NLT)6 In the dream God responded, “Yes, I know you are innocent. That’s why I kept you from sinning against me, and why I did not let you touch her.7 Now return the woman to her husband, and he will pray for you, for he is a prophet. Then you will live. But if you don’t return her to him, you can be sure that you and all your people will die.”
Our next prophet is Amos. In the book that bears his name Amos is described as shepherd from Tekoa, a town in Judah. He was called by God and received his prophetic message via visions.
Amos 1:1 (NLT)1 This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel.
Amos 7:14-15 (NLT)14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees.15 But the LORD called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’
He lived and prophesied in the middle of the eighth century BC. as evidenced by the references made to an earthquake and the reigns of Uzziah and Jeroboam. This was a time of peace and prosperity in Israel.
Although he was from a town in Judah his prophecies were directed to Israel which was ruled by Jeroboam who encouraged encouraged the practices of fertility cults.
2 Kings 14:23-25 (NLT)23 Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, began to rule over Israel in the fifteenth year of King Amaziah’s reign in Judah. Jeroboam reigned in Samaria forty-one years.24 He did what was evil in the LORD’s sight. He refused to turn from the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel to commit.25 Jeroboam II recovered the territories of Israel between Lebo-hamath and the Dead Sea, just as the LORD, the God of Israel, had promised through Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath-hepher.
Life in the nation was characterized by adultery, robbery, and murder. The luxury of the wealthy was built upon injustice and oppression of the poor. The main message of Amos is a cry for justice.
Amos 2:6-8 (NLT)6 This is what the LORD says: “The people of Israel have sinned again and again, and I will not let them go unpunished! They sell honorable people for silver and poor people for a pair of sandals.7 They trample helpless people in the dust and shove the oppressed out of the way. Both father and son sleep with the same woman, corrupting my holy name.8 At their religious festivals, they lounge in clothing their debtors put up as security. In the house of their god, they drink wine bought with unjust fines.
Amos 4:1 (NLT)1 Listen to me, you fat cows living in Samaria, you women who oppress the poor and crush the needy, and who are always calling to your husbands, “Bring us another drink!”
Amos 5:7-12 (NLT)7 You twist justice, making it a bitter pill for the oppressed. You treat the righteous like dirt.8 It is the LORD who created the stars, the Pleiades and Orion. He turns darkness into morning and day into night. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The LORD is his name!9 With blinding speed and power he destroys the strong, crushing all their defenses.10 How you hate honest judges! How you despise people who tell the truth!11 You trample the poor, stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent. Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses, you will never live in them. Though you plant lush vineyards, you will never drink wine from them.12 For I know the vast number of your sins and the depth of your rebellions. You oppress good people by taking bribes and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
Amos’ Message To Us Today
Today when we look at the United States things are much like they were when Amos delivered God’s message to Israel. Like Israel we are in a time of relative peace and prosperity but we are taking credit for it and ignoring the fact that all this comes from God.Everyone is out for himself of herself. There is little thought given to those less fortunate. Take a look at the rising number of homeless especially our homeless veterans. The rich get richer and the poor poorer. Corporate profits are getting bigger yet wages are losing ground. Those less fortunate are looked down on as being lazy or shiftless. There are divisions because of race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or income. Our political and religious leaders all seem to have their own agendas none of which are based on the love of God as expressed in His Word. They are like the leader described by Paul in his letter to Timothy.
2 Timothy 3:5 (NLT)5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
We should take note of the judgement of Israel.
Amos 9:1-10 (NLT)1 Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar. He said, “Strike the tops of the Temple columns, so that the foundation will shake. Bring down the roof on the heads of the people below. I will kill with the sword those who survive. No one will escape!2 “Even if they dig down to the place of the dead, I will reach down and pull them up. Even if they climb up into the heavens, I will bring them down.3 Even if they hide at the very top of Mount Carmel, I will search them out and capture them. Even if they hide at the bottom of the ocean, I will send the sea serpent after them to bite them.4 Even if their enemies drive them into exile, I will command the sword to kill them there. I am determined to bring disaster upon them and not to help them.”5 The Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, touches the land and it melts, and all its people mourn. The ground rises like the Nile River at floodtime, and then it sinks again.6 The LORD’s home reaches up to the heavens, while its foundation is on the earth. He draws up water from the oceans and pours it down as rain on the land. The LORD is his name!
7 “Are you Israelites more important to me than the Ethiopians?” asks the LORD. “I brought Israel out of Egypt, but I also brought the Philistines from Crete and led the Arameans out of Kir.8 “I, the Sovereign LORD, am watching this sinful nation of Israel. I will destroy it from the face of the earth. But I will never completely destroy the family of Israel,” says the LORD.9 “For I will give the command and will shake Israel along with the other nations as grain is shaken in a sieve, yet not one true kernel will be lost.10 But all the sinners will die by the sword— all those who say, ‘Nothing bad will happen to us.’
But all is not lost.
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NLT)13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you.
14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.
As God restored Israel He will restore us.
Amos 9:11-15 (NLT)11 “In that day I will restore the fallen house of David. I will repair its damaged walls. From the ruins I will rebuild it and restore its former glory.12 And Israel will possess what is left of Edom and all the nations I have called to be mine.” The LORD has spoken, and he will do these things.13 “The time will come,” says the LORD, “when the grain and grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested. Then the terraced vineyards on the hills of Israel will drip with sweet wine!14 I will bring my exiled people of Israel back from distant lands, and they will rebuild their ruined cities and live in them again. They will plant vineyards and gardens; they will eat their crops and drink their wine.15 I will firmly plant them there in their own land. They will never again be uprooted from the land I have given them,” says the LORD your God.
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Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.