An excerpt from one of my OT discussion essays (revised to be less scholarly and more applicable):
From a “scholarly” viewpoint the main quality of biblical prophecy is not predicting the future, but it is rather a sort of social critique. The LORD points out all the major transgressions of each nation in the book of Amos. Here He indicts Israel.
“Thus says the Lord:
‘For three transgressions of Israel,
and for four, I will not revoke the punishment,
because they sell the righteous for silver,
and the needy for a pair of sandals—’” (Amos 2:6).
Here the LORD may deal with specific social injustices of Israel, slavery and indentured servants. That Israel sold “those whose cause was just” meant that they were unjust and that they treated the needy like nothing.
Though there are other parts where Amos is more specific about the sins of the people. Amos and God both despised Bethel and Gilgal, the main places of idol worship in Israel. They also wanted the Jews to keep the Sabbath and obey the law out of the right intentions. Like many prophets Amos also has visions, but these do not seem to be the main point of the prophecy. Rather, the prophetic voice of Amos calls out ‘Turn back to God with your hearts, not just your actions!’ emphasizing spiritual and social morality over strict obedience to the law.
Just some questions to think about (please reply if led to):
What does this mean for us/America/the Church?
What would The LORD say about us and America’s way of living?
Do we plot iniquity in our beds, like the leaders in Micah?
Do we worship idols? Do we sell the needy for a pair of sandals?