Book Review: The Twelve (Amos)
Welcome to November’s book review for, The Twelve- A Transformational Journey Through The Minor Prophets, by Parker Bradley.
Drawing from the insights of the Minor Prophets in the Bible, The Twelve, is an encouraging, but also challenging resource for followers of Jesus, and anyone wanting to honestly understand how God reveals Himself in Scripture.
If you haven’t heard the introduction episode, go ahead and do that - it only lasts a few minutes and will explain what the plan is going forward. We covered the chapter on Joel, last month, and are covering the chapter on Amos, in this episode.
Bradley asks an important question that sets the stage for what could be seen as a harsh message from Amos. “Who would want an unjust God?” People of conscience would want a just God, and with that statement, Bradley focuses on God’s mercy, throughout the message of Amos.
I reflected on Amos 3:7: The sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing His plans to his servants the prophets. The Bible documents over 60 prophets during Earth’s history, to warn man about sin and learn of God’s kingdom. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who gave His life as a ransom for every single person, conquering sin and death, has promised to be with us until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). So Jesus keeps on warning us about sin.
Bradley points to the chapters in Amos that describe the things God’s people were doing. Frightening acts!
Hate evil and love good:
Amos 5:15 Seek God and live
Amos 5:4 - Seek me and you shall live
Amos 5:6 - Seek the Lord and you shall live
Amos 5:8 - Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:
Amos 5:14 - Seek good, and not evil, that ye may live: and so the LORD, the God of hosts, shall be with you, as ye have spoken.
I really like how Bradley invokes reflection on the mercy of God, because when we look at what God did up to and after Amos, we clearly see that God has a level of mercy we neither understand or deserve. Bradley points to sobering text in chapter four, verse twelve - a reminder how it would be, if His people did not turn. We are beyond Amos’ time, but the message is the same - 2 Timothy 3:16-17 testifies to that.
Bradley asks a sobering question: How do we reflect the character of God in our actions and words? He does a thorough reflection on how the people of God were acting, and how other nations viewed them. Bradley mentions that just a short journey into our own past (or present) puts things into context. God is merciful to all who call upon Him. We have all fallen short of His glory. The key is to turn and seek the Lord and stay with Him.
I was really thankful that Bradley’s review helped me glean more form chapter four, than I had initially accomplished. I had not looked up an easier translation and had missed that verse one was also directed at women, which allowed me to reflect deeper on the verses that followed.
Bradley taps into the historical books of the Bible, like Kings, to complement the account of Amos. I really like this, because it encourages us to use the Bible as we should - as its own reference.
Again, Bradley conveyed the accounts from the Bible in a way that sticks to the word and yet puts it into a modern way of communicating, that keeps a light tone, but doesn’t change the weight of the message.
I really like how Bradley reflected on who God picks and why. It’s tempting to look at the prophets and think they had some talent we don’t have, but, the most important thing to have, is a close walk with God. The Bible testifies to this, just look at Jesus’s prayer for all His believers in John 17.
Bradley does mention Sunday worship in the context of our lives as Christians and how we reflect the character of God. I have a podcast and blog book review about the Sabbath, posted on 24th December 2021. The book is called Sabbath Light, by Vincent Wisely, and it points to the Bible, which is clear about when the designated holy day of worship is - the 7th day of the week, called the Sabbath (see Genesis 1, Exodus 20, Leviticus 23 for starters). This didn’t spoil this chapter for me. Sunday worship is an unfortunate widespread issue, which clearly goes against the 4th commandment. It needs to be called out, whenever it is encountered. It will rock some pretty big boats, but if we are to be true to the Word of God, then we have no choice. As Peter and John said, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him?” Acts 4:19
Bradley has a section on trials - the furnace of God. It’s very encouraging and he points to the good character of God - a common thread throughout the book of The Twelve.
As he has done with the previous two chapters, Bradley asks thought provoking questions, that he has asked himself - so he reflects, “together” with his listeners.
The chapter on Amos is jam packed with reflections based on thorough reading of the Book of Amos, crossed referenced to other books like Hosea, Joel, 1 and 2 Kings, Ezekiel and James. Through it all, Bradley appeals to his listeners to draw closer to God, our Father, through His Son, Jesus Christ. Seek the Lord and live is the message of Amos, which Bradley references through Ezekiel 18:23, 30-32.
Do I have any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?” says the Lord God, “and not that he should turn from his ways and live? Ezekiel 18:23
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways,” says the Lord God. “Repent, and turn from all your transgressions, so that iniquity will not be your ruin. 31 Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit. For why should you die, O house of Israel? 32 For I have no pleasure in the death of one who dies,” says the Lord God. “Therefore turn and live!” Ezekiel 18:30-32
Bradley’s review of Amos is another great chapter in his book, The Twelve. He encourages us to not play with sin, as we have read about throughout the Bible, but to look to God, through Jesus, where we will be guaranteed His mercy, grace and love.
I look forward to the next chapter, Obadiah, which we will be reviewing next month.
Thank you for reading this review. Until next time - peace be with you.
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