Amos – Chapter 7 – Go home
In today’s religious community it is all too common to find believers of differing viewpoints aggressively attacking one another. Both sides don the cloak of righteous self-justification and pick up what they think is the sword of the Spirit. The successful arguer somehow believes that God is well pleased with the skill by which he dispatched his opponent. The superior sword yielding word combatant doesn’t even flinch at the sight of his bruised and bloodied opponent laying there defeated. This supposed winner isn’t even aware of the collateral damage he has caused in other believers, and worse yet, maybe the nonbelievers who witnessed the verbal slaughter. They swell with pride – certain God is smiling down upon the successful battle. Book upon book has been written – point, then counterpoint in an endless array of intellectual prowess.
While believers take up “the cause” and are squaring off against each other, the nonbeliever remains lost. Why? Because the gospel goes unpreached. Is this what we see in Amos chapter seven? Is Amos the prophet and Amaziah the priest locked in Holy verbal combat in the arena of differing ideas? Not even close.
In Amos 7:12-13 Amaziah charges Amos.
12 Then Amaziah said to Amos:
“Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”
Let me paraphrase the text. Amaziah thinking he has the upper hand declares, “hey Amos! You’d better flee, run for your life! I’ve told the king what you are up to and I’m sure he’ll be gunning for you! The king is not gonna like your message of gloom and doom. Run back to where you came from! This town is Beth-el, “house of God”, but you’ll find no provision here! High tail it back to Judah where you can eat and prophesy. Bethel is the king’s sanctuary and his royal residence! I’ve got it covered here – this is my territory and you are not welcome here!
Does Amos return blow for blow?
In Amos 7:14 Amos begins his answer.
14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah:
“I was no prophet,
Nor was I a son of a prophet,
But I was a sheepbreeder
And a tender of sycamore fruit.
Again I’ll paraphrase what I think Amos is saying. “Look Amaziah, I’m not in competition with you. I never aspired to, nor was I trained as a prophet. I was a wealthy businessman breading sheep and tending fig trees.”
Amos continues in 7:15
15 Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock,
And the LORD said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’
Amos is saying, “God called me, gave me an assignment, here I am”.
Look at Amos 7:16-17.
16 Now therefore, hear the word of the LORD:
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
And do not spout against the house of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore thus says the LORD:
‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city;
Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by survey line;
You shall die in a defiled land;
And Israel shall surely be led away captive
From his own land.’ ”
Amos is telling Amaziah, “now that you understand all I am is God’s mouthpiece for His message and His vision. Let me tell you what He is telling me to say directly to you.”
How sad it is that because Amaziah was ultimately against not Amos, but God, that he and his entire household would be destroyed. Amaziah would live to see his wife carried away into harlotry, his sons and daughters slaughtered by the sword. Amazaiah himself would be among the captives and die on foreign soil. All because Amaziah exalted himself above Yahweh. Yahweh tells Amos to “proclaim my Word”, Amaziah says “don’t you dare proclaim God’s Word here”.
It is important we understand that Amos never wavered, from the time God called him, until the time his mission was complete. He simply obeyed Yahweh. Even when Amos found himself in conflict with the priest Amaziah, he stayed the course. He did not engage Amaziah on the battlefield, he simply obeyed Yahweh and delivered the Word of God untainted.
As servants of Yahweh, our mission is just like Amos’ mission. It doesn’t matter if we are trained as Pastors, teachers, or some other profession, we are simply to respond in obedience to God, go where God says go, and do what God says to do. When we are met with resistance, stay the course. It is up to God to deal with any who would oppose us.
God is worthy of all praise and worship!
All Scripture Quotations from The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.