Wednesday 04 June 2014

Bible Book:

“I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’” (vv. 14-15)

Amos 7:1-17 Wednesday 4 June 2014


The role of the prophet was not only to prophesy, to 'speaktruth to power', but also to intercede with God on behalf of thepeople. But intercession can only go so far and if people havefailed to live up to the covenant with their Lord then Amosbelieves destruction awaits. At first Amos begs for forgiveness inthe face of a plague of locust and fire or famine. Yet he cannotpoint to repentance amongst the people; instead he can only appealto God's pity, saying Israel is insignificant and frail.

At the third threat of destruction, Amos can no longerintercede. The people of Israel do not match up to God's plumbline, used by builders to check whether a building is true. This isthe test that shows Israel has been found wanting, and that theLord "will never again pass them by" (v. 8).

For a people who believed they were chosen, such a message ofabandonment and destruction by their God must have been shocking.The priest Amaziah, sent by the king, accuses Amos of sedition,telling him to flee and prophesy elsewhere. Amos is accused ofbeing a foreigner (in that he should return to Judah) and meddlingin political and religious affairs of Israel.

Prophets were not revolutionaries in the sense that they offerednew and radical visions. Rather they believed they were the bearersof tradition, challenging Israel to put into practice beliefspeople already thought they held. For a king, such a challengethreatened the established order.

Amaziah's confrontation reflects the challenge put to Jesus whenhe was teaching in the temple, and the priests and elders asked:"By what authority are you doing these things?" (Matthew 21:23). Amos denies this was a personalchoice - he didn't make his money from being a prophet, but frombeing a herdsman. Instead God has told him "Go, prophesy to mypeople Israel". By rejecting Amos's words, the priest (and king)are contradicting the wishes of God. Criticism of prophets isn'tpersonal, but an act against God, hence the punishment which Amosthreatens will reign down on those who condemn him forpreaching.

To Ponder

  • Amos stands up to the might of the king. Are there situationswhere you have stood up against people with power and authority? Ifso, what happened?
  • Prophets were uncomfortable people. What uncomfortable messagesdo you struggle to hear today?
  • Amos believed he had been chosen by God to prophesy. What isGod calling you to do?
Previous Page Tuesday 03 June 2014
Next Page Thursday 05 June 2014