Summary: Introduction to Hosea and Amos
The place was New York City, during the time of the subway rush in the evening of a hot summer day. People were manning into the subway cars as they were moving out of the station and each car was loaded to capacity. One man happened to be just the last man to push and jam his way inside of a car, and he stood facing the door. The doors closed and the car moved off. He stood there, packed against this door, pressed up against it with the awful push of humanity in the car. As it went down the tracks, waving and swaying, he began to feel a little sick. The further he went, the sicker he got, and just at the critical moment, the car came into a station and the door opened and he got sick all over the man standing there. But without anybody moving, the door suddenly closed and the car moved out of the station. The man on the platform stood there looking at himself, and then he shrugged his shoulders and said, “Why me?”
That’s how Israelites felt with Hosea and Amos. Even though they deserved God’s rebuke, they felt like everyone around them was worse–and besides, they were God’s chosen people.
Thesis: Why preach from Hosea and Amos?
They are wild but effective communicators
Isaiah named his children to communicate a message. One of his sons he named Shear-Jashub, which means a remnant shall return (Isaiah 7:3). Another son he named Maher-ShalalHash-Baz, which means quick to the plunder, swift to the spoil (Isaiah 8:3).
Hosea got his family into the act much more than Isaiah did. The Lord told Hosea to marry a woman named Gomer (not the Gomer from the Andy Griffith Show) who was an adulterous wife in Hosea 1. Like Isaiah Hosea named his children to communicate a message. Go over the first two at another time. The last one, Lo-Ammi, which means not my people seems to indicate that this last child was not even Hosea’s. In Hosea chapter 3 we see that Hosea and Gomer are no longer together. Evidently Gomer has gone after her lovers and things have not gone well for her. She is sold into slavery and brought to the auction block. The Lord tells Hosea to buy her and bring her back into his house and love her once again. This whole episode is used as an object lesson on how the Lord loves the Israelites. Hosea 3:1- Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes. Hosea uses this many times through his book in pleading with the Israelites to repent.
Hosea was a hometown boy. He lived in the northern Israelite nation called Israel. The writings we find in Hosea seem to be bits and pieces from sermons that he preached throughout his many years of prophesying.
Amos on the other hand was not a hometown boy. He was from the southern Israelite nation of Judah and he was told by the Lord to minister to the northern nation of Israel. Like Jonah (contemporary of Amos) he was called to go to a place that was not his home. He prophesied to Israel for a few years but after some fierce persecution he was driven back to his home country of Judah. He prophesied to the southern nation for a few years and then drops off the scene. In total his ministry probably only lasted a couple of years.
Amos began his book by denouncing Israel’s enemies. Part of this was probably to get the Israelites attention and affection. In the middle of Amos 2, Amos begins to denounce the sins of Israel. He prophesies against them until chapter 7. Evidently Amos is so effective in his ministry that the priests of Israel want him out. In the middle of chapter 7 Amaziah the priest of Bethel opposes Amos and evidently drives him out of Israel back to Judah.
Amos probably preceded Hosea by just a bit but they were contemporaries. Hosea’s ministry lasted for about 3 decades. Amos’s was more like an exploding rocket in fourth of July fireworks display. Hosea is more loving while Amos is more condemning. Grace and truth
They are relevant for today.
In their day there was political and national stability
In the northern nation of Israel where Hosea and Amos ministered, King Jeroboam II reigned for 41 years. He and the kings of Judah (Uzziah and Jotham) extended the borders of the Israelites to the area of the time of King Solomon.
Interesting to note that after the death of King Jeroboam II the northern nation of Israel survived only 30 years. Many bloody takeovers after Jeroboam’s death. Jeroboam must have been capable leader. Not godly but an effective worldly leader. The dynasty of Jehu had reached its peak with Jeroboam.