Monday

17 September 2007

"This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (it was the latter growth after the king's mowings). When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said, 'O Lord God, forgive, I beg you! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!' The Lord relented concerning this; 'It shall not be,' said the Lord". (v.1-3)

Background

Amos is insistent that he was a shepherd and come to that, a cattleman and a fruit farmer - not a prophet. He is keen to state his ordinariness. Yet the 'ordinary' things he observes give a very distinct message about the presence and the nature of God. 

In this chapter he speaks of three visions he had - they could equally have been ideas or deep musings - the first being a swarm of locusts that ate the king's entire crop and the second a shower of fire that ate up the land. His subsequent prayer to God is that this would not happen, as the kingdom is too small to withstand it. 

The passage records that because God is compassionate he answers Amos's prayer. 

Amos shows in this understandable word picture that God is unendingly gracious even when his people do not deserve it. In a world where people had been brought up on the 'eye for an eye principle' this was quite something. 

Here Amos shows an early example of intercessory prayer that holds others in the presence of the Almighty in such a way that they are encouraged to seek his 'best' way of living. Thus not only receiving a reprieve, but a blessing.

To Ponder

Creation is designed to 'speak of God'. What do you sense God is saying to us through the created world today, and what is your response?

Have you experienced holding others in prayer and found that it was powerful? How did it also change you?

Bible notes author: Revd Wes Blakey

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