Amos was a humble shepherd of Judah who prophesied to the affluent nation of Israel while it was steeped in religious apostasy. Assyria had destroyed Israel’s nemesis, Syria, but was itself then in a period of weakness. This created a power vacuum in the region which worked to Israel’s distinct advantage. It became the trading mecca of the region and its economy boomed.
Unfortunately, this prosperity gave Israel a false sense of strength and security. Times were good when God sent the humble Amos to proclaim God’s judgment on the nation. The people of Israel had never had it so good, so Amos’s warnings fell on deaf ears. Long religiously apostate, the pursuit of wealth now became paramount in Israel. The result was social injustice (unrighteousness) in the culture. This pursuit of wealth led to the mistreatment of the poor, moral lawlessness, and corruption in the name of justice. Far removed from God’s law, the system in play in Israel came to benefit the wealthy at the expense of the poor and weak.
Amos was the last prophet to Israel, and his warning to the nation was to “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.”