Let’s review: At the death of Solomon, about 931 B.C., his kingdom was torn in two and became known as the kingdoms of Israel (in the north) and Judah (in the south). Jereboam, a descendant of Joseph, became Israel’s first king. Jereboam was chosen by God for this position and had God’s blessing, but Jereboam faithlessly (and stupidly) chose to rebel against God, installing worship centers at the cities of Dan and Bethel, all in an effort to solidify a monarchy already guaranteed by God. He set up golden idols at those sites and encouraged the people to worship them. They did, and very soon afterward, God made their lives incredibly difficult by sending the Syrians and the Assyrians to oppress them. From 805 – 735 B.C., however, there was a break in the oppression and Israel began to prosper. Rather than turn to God in repentance however, Israel drew further away.
Now to our text: It was during this time that God sent a shepherd from Tekoa (12 miles south of Jerusalem) to preach to them. His task was to get Israel to repent and warn them of the consequences of impenitence. His name was Amos, and his message to Israel was simple and ominous: “Prepare to meet your God” (4:12).