The Prophetic Burden
Lord, You take no pleasure in judgment. Let me turn from anything that would make it necessary in my life.
Read Amos 7:1-17
 This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king’s share had been harvested and just as the late crops were coming up.  When they had stripped the land clean, I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, forgive! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”  So the LORD relented. “This will not happen,” the LORD said.  This is what the Sovereign LORD showed me: The Sovereign LORD was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land.  Then I cried out, “Sovereign LORD, I beg you, stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!”  So the LORD relented. “This will not happen either,” the Sovereign LORD said.  This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand.  And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.  “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”  Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words.  For this is what Amos is saying: “‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.'”  Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.  Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”  Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.  But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’  Now then, hear the word of the LORD. You say, “‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’  “Therefore this is what the LORD says: “‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.'” Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectWhat is the heart of the prophet?
Most prophets were part of guilds based at sanctuaries. They made their living from prophesying, perhaps to order (1 Kings 22). Amaziah, priest of Bethel, mistakes Amos for one such prophet for hire. Coming from Judah, Amaziah assumes there’s a political motivation here, attacking the legitimacy of the northern kingdom, its king and its sanctuaries. Amaziah dismisses Amos as a fraud.But Amos is neither a prophet nor a guild member. As a shepherd and tender of sycamore-fig trees (14), God has called Amos from entirely outside the prophetic and priestly systems, from outside even the nation of Israel, to announce this judgment. The nation was so spiritually and morally corrupt, there was none able to hear and bear God’s Word. Amos has struggled with the burden of this prophecy, wrestling in prayer with God for Israel. He takes no delight in announcing that a plumb line hangs among Israel against which all will be measured (7-9). Amos has longed for the judgment to be turned aside. Yet, the rejection of the Lord’s Word by Amaziah is the last straw. Judgment and exile are confirmed.
Ask God to search your heart and life and to help you break connection with anything that is out of line with God.
Father of light, help me to hear You no matter how Your Word comes to me. Help me to respond to You.
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