Summary: Lessons in following God in Amos’ life
Amos: Following God’s Call - August 7, 2005
Join me in turning to the book of Amos. If you can find the book of Daniel in the OT, keep turning through Hosea, Joel, and then to Amos. If you’re using one of the Bibles in the seats, it’s on page ___. Amos isn’t exactly one of the more familiar books in the Bible. We don’t memorize a lot from here or turn there quickly for our devotions. But it is a book that has some great lessons for us as believers. And we’re going to look at two key lessons from the book. Today, we want to look at the idea of God’s calling on our life. Next week we’ll look at the idea of God’s judgment on sin. If you haven’t already read through the book of Amos this past week, I’d encourage you to read through it some time this week.
Allow me to set the stage of where we are at with this book. The year is about 760 BC. It is about 100 years after the ministry of Elijah and Elisha. The nation of Israel has been divided for about 160 years. About 200 years before were the glory days of David and Solomon. But these are the days of sin and corruption. Israel had split into a northern kingdom, called Israel, and a southern kingdom called Judah. In the north, you’ll remember, King Jeroboam set up two golden calves, idols, so the people could worship these instead of going south to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh, creator of the universe. The kings of the North were all evil, and years later, another king, Ahab, introduced idol worship, causing Israel to turn from worshiping Yahweh, or Jehovah, the Lord, and to worship Baal and Ashtaroth. Worship at idol temples, worship involving mutilation, premarital and extramarital sex, and all types of perversion.
In the south in 760 BC, the King is a man named Uzziah, whose reign lasted 52 years. He was a man who did right in the eyes of the Lord, but who became prideful when his kingdom became powerful.
In this setting, when God wants to speak, he does like he so often does, he calls a man to follow him. And this man is very unique, Amos. When we think of what it means to be a man of God, we often get very specific ideas in our minds. We think of Elijah and Elisha, calling fire down from heaven; living in the desert, parting the Jordan river with a coat. We often think this is the description of a man of God. After all, the Bible gives us several examples of this type of man of God: Samson, Ehud, John the Baptist - wearing his camel-hair jacket and leather belt, eating locusts and wild honey.
What do you think of when you put the concept of a “man of God” in our setting today? Often we think of a televangelist - hair slicked back, black suit, shaking a finger, maybe even wearing a backwards collar. But this morning, I want to challenge those stereotypes by the example of Amos.
Look with me at Amos 1:1 - The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa--what he saw concerning Israel two years before the earthquake, when Uzziah was king of Judah and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. Then page forward with me to Amos7:12-16
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 any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, 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.
Amos is a unique prophet - but he was specially chosen by God for his role. He was from the southern nation, Judah, but was called by God to go to the northern nation, Israel, and deliver God’s message. We was a shepherd, a farmer, a fruit picker. But most importantly, he was a man of God.
I think of my uncle, Dick Fether, when I think of Amos. Dick is a common man, he married Ronda’s mom’s sister. Dick is a farmer down between Adrian and Hillsdale. When you see Dick, there is nothing pretentious about him. He is about as common as you can get. He had only a normal schoolhouse education. Yet Dick has served on camp boards, as township supervisor, as an elder in his church, he has served on denominational boards and steering committees. Dick has a great level of spiritual maturity and wisdom about him. And that is evidenced quickly to all who know him.