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Amos 7:1-17

Thursday, 16 February 2023

Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock,

And the LORD said to me,

‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’ –Amos 7:15

God catches the attention of His people with the preaching of a stranger at the temple steps in Bethel (Northern Kingdom of Israel) as he brought the word of the LORD to an indifferent nation. The man is no other than Amos who was called from tending sheep and sycamore fig trees to be a prophet of the Lord. What a calling!

To understand the ministry of Amos, we need to see his call in the context of his nation. God’s relationship with His people had come to an impasse where they had failed in their calling to be His witness and broken covenant with Him. The covenant they made at Sinai said if they obeyed the Lord, He would bless them more than any other people but if they disobeyed, they would be cursed and face judgment and exile. By the 8th century, the Lord faced the dilemma of what to do with a people who had turned from His way and were far from Him. The nation was divided into two kingdoms- Judah and Israel with unstable governance from most kings who neither understood God’s Laws nor honored Him. It was at this phase of its history, God chose several prophets to call His people back to Him in repentance and to obedience of His Law.

Amos describes His call in Vs.14&15. He was not one with a great legacy of a kingly, priestly or prophetic line, but just an ordinary shepherd and a tender of sycamore trees, considered a very low job as sycamore figs were the food of the poor. With no religious training, he was not the best candidate for preaching but under God’s guidance and grace, he was the right man for the job! In God’s sight, Amos’ availability was more important than his ability. To an affluent people that had lost their sense of right living and right spirituality, here comes a man chosen from the bottom rung of the social ladder warning them of God’s judgment if they do not repent and return to God.

Our reading today points to two noteworthy aspects of Amos in his calling:

· Amos’ praying touched God

Two visions were shown to Amos about the destruction God would bring to the land: i) a swarm of locusts devouring every green plant ii) a great fire destroying everything in the land. Amos cried out to God: “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” (V.2). Both times, he pleaded on behalf of his people and God relented in doing it. This is similar to the intercession Abraham made on behalf of Lot and his family while Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed. Moses pleaded for the people of Israel when they sinned. One thing is clear from all this: Our praying doesn’t change God’s character but it can change His plans.

Our intercession for God’s mercy on people and His intervention in their lives can touch God. Look how Jesus interceded for those who crucified Him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

· Amos’ preaching vexed people

Amos preached to the people of Israel, the northern part, while he hailed from the southern Judah. This vexed them, especially the priest Amaziah who was concerned about his influence and rudely told him to go back to where he came from! But Amos was unflinching in his message and predicted the fall and exile of the nation, the death of their king, the downfall of Amaziah’s family. At the height of their affluence, they had forgotten to honor God, living in laxness with corrupt practices and superficial worship. Amos’ messages were “wake-up” calls, one more chance for the people to repent and return to God.

Have you realized what God calls you to do? If you have shied away, let Amos’ life be an encouragement of what God can do even through the so-called most “insignificant” individual. Will you seek to be engaged in the Lord’s task?

Ref: Unlocking the Bible-Amos: David Pawson

Think on: For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Eph.2:10)



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