Title: The Prophet
Author: Francine Rivers
Series: Sons of Encouragement, book 4
Major Themes: Amos, Prophets, Ancient Israel
Synopsis: Though he didn’t trust God anymore because he had seen too much corruption in God’s name, Amos started receiving messages from God to take to the idolatrous Northern Kingdom.
I have been appreciating Francine Rivers’ Sons of Encouragement series as I read them to my children. They really bring the Bible to life. These are not the most gripping of stories, but they stick to the Bible account closely, and have helped enhance my understanding of Scripture. We just finished The Prophet, the story of Amos, and it really helped me to understand that minor prophet a lot better.
Amos was a shepherd, raising sheep for temple sacrifices. He hated the corruption he was seeing, as the priests rejected perfect lambs and forced people to buy blemished ones from them. This moneymaking racket really bothered the young man, but there was nothing he could do to stop it. Because of all the corruption he saw in the priests, he rejected God.
Years went by, and suddenly God Himself started talking to Amos. Soon, the prophet found himself going to Bethel, in the Northern Kingdom, with God’s message for those people. He knew his message would not be popular, and it was not. Could he get through to the people to bring them to repentance before it was too late, or would their nation be destroyed as God had shown him? And what about his nation of Judah? Would it, too, be destroyed?
What a vivid description of the corruption and idolatry in Israel and Judah late in the time of the divided kingdom. I had never thought before about why there are so many prophecies against neighboring nations. Why would God prophesy against nations who would never hear the prophecies? The answer comes very clear in those pages of The Prophet. There isn’t as much action in this story as in some of the other books in the series, since a lot of it has to do with Amos’s prophecies. Some of the scenes dragged out a little bit for the younger children, because they were sermons that Amos preached to the people or arguments he had with God. It was very worthwhile, however, and I found out how well my nine-year-old had been listening when we heard a message at church about Amos, and he was able to understand it better because of having heard the story that week. If you are looking for a way to bring Bible stories to life, the Sons of Encouragement series is a good resource.
WARNING: Prophet ch 2: two graphic visions of battles and people being slaughtered. Ch 3: description of temple prostitution. Ch 4: description of a beating. Ch 5: mention of a prostitute and the man who shared her bed. Ch 6: Detailed description of a murder. Ch 6 and the epilogue: mentions of Hosea being told by God to marry a prostitute.
Listening Level—Ages 10 – 12
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults