"The LORD roars from Zion and thunders from Jerusalem; the pastures of the shepherds dry up, and the top of Carmel withers." So begins the prophecy of Amos. Why does the Lord roar? What had led to such abuses of privilege on the part of the people of Israel in that day? What happens when God's holiness is offended and when his voice is ignored? Michael Bentley competently leads us through the prophecy, opening it up and applying it powerfully and relevantly to readers today.
“Although the nations around Israel were sinful, God’s major concern in this prophecy was the disobedience of his own people whom he had rescued from the Egyptian slavery.” (Page 10)
“Israel was continuing to live under the delusion that because God had chosen and loved them, he would protect them to the end of their days—regardless of their behaviour.” (Page 36)
“The lie is this: ‘It is better to walk by sight than by faith’.” (Page 27)
“Notice that the Lord is not saying that these offerings in themselves are wrong; it is the condition of the people’s hearts, and their disregard for the welfare of the people, that is sinful. They thought they were obeying God’s laws but they were performing these ceremonies through habit—and out of an unloving sense of duty. Their songs of praise came from impure hearts.” (Pages 73–74)
“A prophet was not merely someone who foretold the future; he (or occasionally she) was someone who spoke the word of the Lord. The burden of the message was always to bring the people back to the law which God had given to Moses on Mount Sinai. God had made a covenant (agreement) at that time with the people.” (Page 11)
Michael Bentley worked as a bookshop manager and served in the British army before his call to the ministry. He has a diverse background, which includes freelance religious reporting for national and religious radio and television, being a Religious Education teacher, and holding pastorates in Surrey, South East London, and Berkshire. He is also closely involved with his local community as a member of various committees and councils. His hobbies include singing second bass in the Bracknell Choral Society. Now retired, he still preaches regularly and has a ministry of writing, with some thirteen books in print including Opening Up Amos from the Opening Up Commentary Collection (30 Vols.), and Face2face: David, part of the Face2face Collection. He lives in Bracknell with his wife, Jenny, and has five children and eight grandchildren.