The Old Testament prophets had a really difficult job. We know that God spoke to the people through the prophets, and often the message from God to Israel was not something they wanted to hear. God's chosen people had the reputation of being "roller-coaster" followers. They had made vows and declarations of their allegiance to God, but ultimately they disobeyed him and strayed from him. There were times when they sought and received forgiveness and God blessed them and fulfilled numerous promises he had made. Before long they would find themselves straying again.
In the arrangement of the Old Testament, scholars have made a distinction between the "major prophets," and the "minor prophets." That might indicate to us the message of God through the minor prophets was less important than the messages revealed through the major prophets. I assure you that is not the case. In fact, some of the most important revelation from God for that day came from those we call the minor prophets.
One such prophet was Amos. In doing some research on another topic, a Bible reference led me to a section of Amos and before I left that short book of the Old Testament, I noticed something I had read before but just today started to sink in. Remember, the messages are from God, through the prophet, to the people. In the opening verses of Amos 1, look closely at the first part of verse 2,
“The Lord roars from Zion, and thunders from Jerusalem."
Apparently God was not happy with his followers, and in language which is expressed rarely, our God is described as roaring and thundering! What do you supposed they did to bring that on?
Chapter 2 reveals their actions. First, these children of God were actually abusing and stealing from the poor. They were taking advantage, not only of the poor people, but the widows, orphans, and others who were what we call "the less fortunate." These were not isolated cases, instead they held entire villages and tribes as slaves. Chapter 2 and chapter 5 also give information that they had become perverted in their sexual relations.
So here is the prophet Amos, with the task of relaying God's message to the people, calling for their repentance and turning back to God. This lifestyle of the people would not do. These were not the actions of people which God had made his own, and brought them through so much. The corruption which now motivated them cause the anger of God.
Amos warned them, "the Lord is going to roar!" "God will make his desire known to you in thunderous ways." What else is a prophet to do? The whole world had gone mad and God was not happy.
Today I watched the news and heard stories of terrorism, rape, murder, hunger, homelessness, strife in families, and destruction of personal relationships. I know it will not be easy, nor will it be pretty, but I, for one, actually find myself longing to hear God roar.