Amos begins his sermon recorded in chapter 3 with a reminder that great privileges are accompanied with responsibilities and consequences that don’t belong to those who do not have the privileges. The people of Israel had been redeemed from slavery in Egypt by the Lord – this was a unique blessing that he had only given to them. Moreover they had been brought into a rich relationship with him in the Promised Land (vv. 1-2).
Nevertheless they had turned away from their God, and because he still valued the relationship he would punish them for their sins. This is a reminder to us that sin by God’s people will not be ignored by him if they persist in practicing it. In verses 3-6, the Lord reminds his people, through a series of illustrations, that sin and chastisement go together in the lives of his people. If they commit sin, they will be punished.
Amos had the burden of being informed by God of his intentions (vv. 7-8). It was not easy for Amos to carry this task. He knew that he had to pass on the Lord’s message, even although it was one of threatened judgement. As far as he as a prophet was concerned, he had an inner compulsion to say what the Lord would do. This inner compulsion was an expression of love – love for his God and love for those whom his God was going to punish.
As the Lord’s servant, he wanted his God to be honoured, therefore he was determined to preach the strong message he had received. But he declared it with the hope that the people would listen and repent before it was too late. This is often the pain of faithfulness, found in a heart that loves God and his sinning people.