Amos – Chapter 7 – Vision
When we talk about the inspiration of scriptures, we are talking about the original autographs, written in the original source languages. The chapter and verse divisions were added much, much later, and are by no means inspired. Although incredibly useful, there are times when the demarcations land in an unfortunate, and dare I say wrong place. It is much too easy to trust those markers and not decide for ourselves the actual boundaries of a given scriptural discourse (logical chunk or passage). If we are not careful, the misplaced markers can pull us ever so slightly away from context.
Now that I’ve alerted you to the potential pitfall of relying on the chapter/verse positions to be one hundred percent accurate, I think the first verse in Amos chapter seven has been appropriately placed. Chapter seven marks an important transition in the book of Amos. Everything previously was about what God said to Israel through the prophet Amos. Now, for the first time, Amos tells us, “Thus the Lord GOD showed me…”
Then again in Amos 7:4, “Thus the Lord GOD showed me….”
Once again in Amos 7:7, “Thus He showed me…”
And in Amos 7:8, maybe halfway into the verse we see God saying to Amos, “behold”.
Later on, in verse twelve we see the wicked high priest Amaziah acknowledging Amos as a “Seer”, or literally one who sees.
7:12 Then Amaziah said to Amos:
“Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
I’ll have more to say about Amos 7:12 when we get there, but for now, let’s start at the top of the chapter.
Let’s take a look at Amos 7:1-3
7:1 Thus the Lord GOD showed me: Behold, He formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop; indeed it was the late crop after the king’s mowings.
2 And so it was, when they had finished eating the grass of the land, that I said:
“O Lord GOD, forgive, I pray!
Oh, that Jacob may stand,
For he is small!”
3 So the LORD relented concerning this.
“It shall not be,” said the LORD.
The Word of God and its interconnectivity never ceases to amaze me. Earlier in this little book, Amos reveals an important fact about how Yahweh relates to man.
3: 7 Surely the Lord GOD does nothing,
Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
In the first three verses of chapter 7, God shows Amos what He is about to do. Amos then stands in the gap for Israel. He intercedes on the nation’s behalf and God relents. The mediatorial role that Amos plays on Israel’s behalf is important and worthy of further comment, which I hope to get to in a future discussion. What I want us to consider here is a simple relationship model the text seems to imply.
Obviously, the book of Amos differs greatly from the book of Jonah – in many ways. Amos and Jonah were two very different men with two very different backgrounds, with messages for two very different people groups. Jonah was a prophet by profession, Amos was not. But the striking contrast for us to consider now is how Amos and Jonah responded to God’s initial call upon their lives. Jonah ran. He didn’t want to repeat God’s message to his target audience. In contrast, we see no such response from the man named Amos.
The evidence in the book of Amos seems to indicate that God plucked Amos out of his home, his family, his profession, and Amos obediently complied, seemingly without complaint. From Amos 1:1 all the way through the end of the book, we see Amos in right relationship with God. Amos received from God, then faithfully delivered what he received, to his God identified target audience.
From the first chapter of Amos through the sixth chapter of Amos we see him being faithful in and to the Word of God. I believe that in this case, for this man, the progression is clear. I don’t believe Amos could have received the visions of chapter seven without being faithful to the words from God he previously encountered.
So what application can we make from this in our lives today? Being faithful to the word of God affected what Amos could see, his perspective. You’ll notice that Amaziah as High Priest was not the one who saw the vision from God. Why not? Wasn’t he God’s man for the hour? No, he was not God’s man for the hour. Amaziah acted wickedly. He was not faithful to the Word of God.
Listen, when we are faithful to the Word of God, it will change our perspective. God will allow us to notice what the unfaithful could never see. God will use us as His spokesmen, His mouthpieces. As we remain in the word of God it truly affects our vision (what we see).
7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul;
The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
The commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
Yea, than much fine gold;
Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
God is a God of judgment. Sin is always judged, but in His great love God placed sin on and judged Christ Jesus for that sin so that we would have a way of escape. Yahweh makes His wonderful Word available to us.
4:12 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 is truly worthy of all praise and worship! Come on! Worship Him with me! Let’s walk in His Holy Word together.
All Scripture quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.