The key to the book of Amos is the vision of the justice of God.
Amos was a rustic visionary who lived seven and a half centuries before Christ.
He was a shepherd and a woodsman – not a college trained preacher from one of the guilds of the prophets. He was in fact a lay preacher gripped by one over-riding truth about God, namely, that the nature of the one true God is perfect justice (remember that the word righteousness in the Bible is the same as the word justice. It’s the inside and outside of the same thing).
Because God’s nature is perfect justice, nothing unjust or unrighteous can please Him. This is the searchlight beam that Amos throws on to everything – on society and its morals, its religion, its ritual worship, even, its courts of justice. He is scathing. By this light, Amos sees foreign nations, past, present and future. A handy outline of the book is seen if you divide it into three.
The first one and a half chapters. “God’s justice and them”. That is how God sees the nations of the world – and how He judges them.
The second part is the remainder of chapter 2 to the end of chapter 6. “God’s justice and us”. How God sees the people whom He has called to embody His justice: the demanding privileges of this calling.
The third section, the last three chapters, is about “God’s justice over all”. This includes five visions or pictures about justice in any society at any time.

The book of Amos does what the Greek philosophers couldn’t do centuries later – it goes to the root of our present world problem – it expounds and applies justice not as an abstract ideal but as the nature of God.

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