We are adding a third concept to our “travel bingo” search this week: prophets. Now prophets are not a new concept. They are spokespeople for a god or gods. Their job is to receive a message and deliver that message to a person or group of people. The true prophets of the LORD that we have seen so far have included Elisha and his mentor Elijah, Nathan (bringing a message to David), Samuel, and, of course, Moses. (In many ways, Moses is considered the first of the true prophets of the LORD because people spoke directly with God before then. They asked Moses to be this go-between for them.)
This message was given to Amos, a shepherd from the town of Tekoa in Judah. He received this message in visions two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam II, the son of Jehoash, was king of Israel. (Amos 1:1 NLT)
The prophets we’ve seed up until this time, however, have simply been included in the storyline. With the exception of Samuel, they haven’t had books named after them. Even Samuel’s book is more of a history than it is a book of prophecy. Now, however, we are starting to see books that are written by the prophets containing the messages of the prophets. The timing of their ministry helps us understand the meaning and purpose of their messages.
The LORD gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, He said to him, "Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods." (Hosea 1:1-2 NLT)
Amos and Hosea were two prophets who lived in the time period we are covering this week. We know this because the opening verses of their books tell us the timing of their ministries. Both of them lived in the south (Judah). Both of them were sent to the north (Israel) do deliver the same message: the LORD is going to punish Israel for their long lasting rebellion against God. They will be beaten in battle and taken into captivity. The reign of Israel’s kings is about to come to an end.
How about you? Have you paid attention to the prophets’ messages in the stories up to this time? Have you ever read the books written by the prophets in your Bible? Do you listen to the prophets?