Amos – Chapter 7 – Handling the Word of God
I’m currently auditing a class at Northern Plains Biblical Seminary. Our professor has been discussing spiritual warfare, which of course means he has spent some time in Ephesians chapter six. As I have reflected on the spiritual armor of God as it relates to our church culture today some critical issues have come into focus for me. The predominant thought bubbling to the surface in my mind concerning Ephesians six is, the modern church does not think correctly (Biblically) about spiritual warfare.
Much of the church stumbles forward as if there is no such thing as spiritual warfare, or if there is it does not concern or affect the modern believer. The opposite and equally false position is “suit up! We’ve got some spiritual ground to take from the devil!” Adherents to both of these wrong perspectives would be well served to study the passage in context. If they were to do so, they would encounter verse eleven.
11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
“Put on”, is an imperative, a command. Paul is not saying, “Hey, if you feel like it…”. Paul did not say, “if you are a warrior, or if you want to engage in battle”, he simply said, “Put on the whole armor of God!” Then he tells us why. “That you may be able to stand…”. If you don’t put on the armor of God you have no hope of standing. The armor of God is the only thing powerful enough to enable you to stand.
But stand against what? Verse eleven continues, “…against the wiles of the devil. The Greek word for wiles is μεθοδείας (methodeias) and means craft, deceit, or schemes. Do you see an English word in the transliterated word methodeias? Right! Method.
Remember 2 Timothy 2:15?
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
The word dividing (ὀρθοτομοῦντα) in this verse means “accurately handling”.
So what does this have to do with Amos chapter 7? I’m glad you asked!
Read chapter seven of Amos for context. The verses I want to look at this time are not the beginning of the story. We are sort of jumping in at the middle.
9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate,
And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste.
I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”
10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words.
In chapter seven of Amos he sees visions then repeats what Yahweh tells him. He rightly, or accurately handled the Word of God. Amaziah hears the Word of God, and as a priest, you would expect him to handle the Word of God accurately too, but he doesn’t. Instead, Amaziah takes the sword of the Spirit, miss handles it and attacks God’s spokesman with it!
How did Amaziah miss handle the Word of God? By inserting his own little slant on the message. He told the King, “Amos has conspired against you”. He made the message all about Amos, not God. How many times have repeaters, or preachers of God’s Holy word pulled verses out of context and changed it ever so slightly misdirecting God’s message to His people into a cultural message the preacher man wants to communicate.
This mishandling of God’s Word will not equip you to stand against the schemes of the devil. It is the scheme of the devil to pervert God’s Word – to get God’s people to use His word as a mighty weapon against one another!
My favorite verse of the Bible is Hebrews 4:12.
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
God has lovingly preserved and delivered His word through the ages. He loves us dearly and wants us to understand His message to us.
God is worthy of all praise and worship!
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.