The Nation of Israel was enjoying a time of prosperity…but with this great prosperity came great division between the rich and poor. And because of it, the people became self-reliant, prideful, and walked away from God. Amos’s message to the people was that of denouncing their privileged life-style that exploited the poor, and calling them to repentance. He warned them of the consequences of their complacency in not doing what was morally right and just for all. Amos was a contemporary of the Prophet Isaiah who wrote in Isaiah 1:17, “Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of fatherless, plead the case of the widow.”
Amos came from humble shepherd roots when God thrust him into the role of prophet to the kingdom of Israel. This was during the time Israel was enjoying a peak in their material and political success, and so hearing Amos denounce their prideful smugness was treasonous. To them, the day of the Lord would be a day of total triumph over all their enemies… for don’t you know, we’re the chosen race, and God’s superior group here on earth! But Amos was warning them that because of their unbelief and wickedness, the day of the Lord would be a day of judgement instead. Anytime elitism rears its ugly head…God’s judgement will follow.