In J.A. Motyer’s 1974 classic, The Day of the Lion, Motyer writes about the prophet Amos during the time of the divided Kingdom around 750 B.C. (Northern Kingdom during the reign of Jeroboam II, and Southern Kingdom during the reign of Uzziah).
Similar to our time now, this was a period of relative peace and prosperity, however, it was also a time of great neglect of God and His commands.
Back then, God was angry as Israel/Judah’s enemies for their great transgressions:
- Evil perpetrated against the Israelites (Syria and Damascus)
- Slave trading (Philistia, Gaza, and Tyre)
- Hatred of Israel and slave trading (Edom)
- War crimes (Ammon and Moab)
At the same time, God was also angry at His own people (Israel and Judah):
- Disobedience to God
- Worship of false idols
- Oppression of the poor and weak
- Sexual immorality
- Drunkenness and idolatry
In His anger, Amos compares God to a roaring lion. Motyer writes:
As Amos perceived the character of His God, he saw that the lion roar of
condemnation and judgment came only when the patience of mercy had long, but
vainly, waited for repentance and amendment of life. This is the significance of
the repeated phrase for three transgressions…and for four…One way of
expressing this truth about God is to say that He never punishes the sinner except
after prolonged personal observation and ample opportunity for repentance…
4 Does a lion roar in the forest,
when he has no prey?
Does a young lion cry out from his den,
if he has taken nothing?
7 “For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
8 The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
Have we run out of time? The little known, Book of Amos may just be a message to our country, for our time.