Realizing the presence, promise, and power of the Kingdom of God.
The DEEP

Why Prophesy

Make them think.

Amos 1:1–2

The words of Amos, who was among the sheepbreeders of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.

And he said:

“The LORD roars from Zion,
And utters His voice from Jerusalem;
The pastures of the shepherds mourn,
And the top of Carmel withers.”

Some translations call Amos a shepherd, but shepherd in Hebrew is roe-ay (רעה). The word in verse one is no-qed (נקד). It’s doubtful Amos was a mere shepherd. “Sheepbreeder,” as it’s translated here in the New King James, is more likely.

So, Amos has connections, which he’s going to need. Like most prophets, he’s going to preach a message no one wants to hear— that God is not happy.

There’s a point to this. Prophecy provides context for events. If a prophet says, “Because of X, God is going to inflict you with Y,” and everyone responds with, “No way,” that sets the stage. It preps people’s eyes. When Y happens, they remember the prophecy. It wasn’t random. Then they start thinking about X.

But the prophet needs to be heard for all this to happen. That usually isn’t through writing. The book of Amos was written later, as evidenced by the way it mentions the earthquake. That’s not a prediction.

Amos was literally heard because of who he was.


Verse two is a warmup for the blasts that are coming. The word “roar” indicates the LORD’s aggressive anger. The pastures mourning and the Carmel mountaintop withering are chilling metaphors.

Mount Carmel is the place where the fire of the LORD came down, proving the prophets of Baal false.

Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that You are the LORD God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.”

Then the fire of the LORD fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, “The LORD, He is God! The LORD, He is God!”

And Elijah said to them, “Seize the prophets of Baal! Do not let one of them escape!” So they seized them; and Elijah brought them down to the Brook Kishon and executed them there. — 1 Kings 18:37–40

To see so grand a place wither, is like seeing God’s glory fade. The light is going out.


These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/community

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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