Amos 1-2; 4-5 “The Lord Will Roar from Zion”
The name Amos means “burden” or “to carry,” which can be taken to mean “to be carried by God.” The ministry of Amos was in the northern kingdom of Israel in about 780-740 BC, during the time that Isaiah was the prophet in the southern kingdom of Judah.
What things has the Lord done to help you repent? In chapter 1, Amos informs Israel’s neighboring countries five times that “the Lord will not turn away the punishment” for their transgressions (verses 3, 6, 9, 11, 13). Of course, through sincere repentance we may gain forgiveness from the Lord, but it is not always possible to escape the consequences of our sins.
Again, in chapter 2, “I will not turn away the punishment” appears three more times (verses 1, 4, 6), this time pertaining to Judah and Israel. What does the Lord say in Amos 2:4, 6-8 and Amos 5:10-12, 18-23 are the numerous reasons for their judgment? How did the Lord say these sins affect Him, in Amos 2:13? We burden Him with our sins, and as the name “Amos” suggests, He is “pressed” under us when we sin against Him.
Chapter 4 outlines some of the judgments that had already come upon the people. Find these punishing plagues in verses 6-11. Note that at the end of verses 6, 8, 9, 10, and 11 the Lord says, “yet have ye not returned unto me.” Therefore, He concludes, “prepare to meet thy God, O Israel”! But always willing to extend mercy, in Amos 5:4 the Lord says, “Seek ye me, and ye shall live” (see also 5:6, 14-15, 24). Read 2 Nephi 9:14; Mormon 9:5.
Amos 3:6-7 “He Revealeth His Secret”
- The Joseph Smith Translation for Amos 3:6 changes the word done to known; and n verse 7 it changes the word but to until.
- Read these two verses with the corrected reading from the JST. What does verse 6 tell you about the Lord in our lives?
- Can you think of a change or adjustment you have made in your life, because of a teaching from a living prophet?
- What things has the Lord recently revealed to “his servants the prophets”?
Amos 6 “Wo to Them That Are at Ease”
- In Amos 6:1, the prophet pronounces “wo” (curse) against those who ignore the Lord and His commandments.
- Read also Amos 6:3-7; 2 Nephi 28:24-28. What do you think it means to be “at ease in Zion” today?
- What does Amos say in Amos 6:18-19 to those who “desire the day of the Lord” (His coming), but are not spiritually prepared?
Amos 7:10-17 “Amos Hath Conspired Against Thee”
- At the end of the April 2000 general conference, as President Gordon B. Hinckley began his fourth talk of the conference, he said, “I’m sure you are rather weary of listening to me. I’ll do my best.”
- Surely President Hinckley was speaking at least partially in jest, but ponder this: Do you ever grow weary of the Prophet’s words?
- As is often the case with prophets of God, Amos encounters opposition—in this case from Amaziah, “the priest of Beth-el,” where there was a temple of false worship. He accused Amos of conspiracy against Jeroboam, the king of Israel, saying that they could not “bear all his words” (verse 10; see also 1 Nephi 16:1-2; 2 Nephi 5:1-3).
- What did Amaziah tell Amos to do, in Amos 7:12-13? What was Amos’s response, in verses 14-17?
Amos 8 “O Ye That Swallow Up the Needy”
Amos again accuses the people and leaders of Israel of one of their more serious sins, which was their neglect and mistreatment of the poor and the weak—the very people they should have been helping (see also Amos 2:6-7; 4:1; 5:11-12):
- Amos 8:4-6 speaks particularly of dishonest business practices that victimize the most vulnerable of their society.
- What is your understanding of the duty of disciples regarding the poor and needy? What is your contribution to their relief? (See Mosiah 4:16-27.)
- As a result of their selfish and wicked behavior, the Lord asserts, “Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein?” (Amos 8:8).
- According to verses 9-13, what additional consequences does the Lord pronounce upon unrepentant Israel?
- Note that verses 11-12 have been frequently cited as prophecy of the “great apostasy” that would eventually become worldwide, after the death of Jesus’s apostles and leading up to the latter-day Restoration. However, some have pointed out that in their context it appears that the prophesied “famine” and “thirst” (verse 11) only apply to the people of Israel in Old Testament times. (But, as with many prophetic scriptures, it can be reasonable to concede the possibility of multiple fulfillments.)
- Not having the scriptures or the words of prophets would feel like a famine to us. The bottom line of Amos 8:11-12 is that when we reject the Lord’s prophets and their teachings, we forfeit the blessing of hearing the word of the Lord.
Amos 9 “I Will Plant Them Upon Their Land”
In verses 1-9 the Lord speaks of the destruction of the “sinful kingdom” (verse 8), except for His preservation of some of “the house of Jacob” (or Israel), whom He will “sift” (scatter) “among all nations” (verse 9). In the verses that follow, the Book of Amos concludes with prophecies of the eventual gathering and prosperity of the house of Israel. The latter-day work of gathering Israel is a great part of the fulfillment of these prophecies.
Obadiah To Serve and to Help Save
This prophet’s name means “Servant of the Lord.” It is believed that he ministered in the southern kingdom of Judah around 590-586 BC, contemporary with Jeremiah.
- In verses 1-16, Obadiah chastises the people of Edom (also known as Idumea; a land neighboring Israel whose inhabitants were descendants of Esau, Jacob’s twin brother). He chastises them for their failure to assist the people of Judah when Jerusalem was being overrun (likely referring to the Babylonian invasion).
- Obadiah accuses the Edomites of being “as one of them” (the conquerors; verse 11), of “rejoicing” over Judah’s destruction (verse 12), of helping themselves to the spoils of Judah (verse 13), and of blocking the escape of Judah’s survivors (verse 14).
- As a result, Obadiah prophesies the Lord’s destruction of Edom (verses 8-10, 15; see also D&C 1:36).
- Despite Judah’s troubles, what did Obadiah prophesy in verse 17 for the house of Jacob? How do you think this prophecy relates to the work of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?
In verse 21, Obadiah prophesied that the Lord’s people will eventually rule over the people of Edom. Additionally, he reveals that “saviours shall come up on mount Zion [which can refer to the temple] … and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s.”
Beginning with Joseph Smith, latter-day prophets have related this prophecy to those who labor in behalf of the deceased, searching and submitting names for proxy temple ordinances. Thus, we may become “saviours.” What experiences have you had in finding ancestors’ names and performing temple ordinances in their behalf?