Summary: Sometimes God needs to gently encourage us to accept situations in life
Amos 7-8 God’s gentle guidance to health
A few weeks ago I was visiting my sister and her family in Canberra. She has two boys, ten and eight, Oliver and Allistar. My sister wanted to get the boys outside to get some exercise and get them off the computer, enjoy the fresh air, and wear them out a bit. So I was encouraging them to get outside with a game of soccer. But they needed some encouragement. First Allistar was going to play a bit with me, and then the three of us with their dad were going to have a game. And it took some gentle persuasion but eventually we got into the game and all had a great time outside, got some exercise and survived the bitter cold of Canberra. Sometimes God needs to gently encourage us to accept situations in our life.
Let us take a moment and read Amos 7:1-6.
What is going on here? Amos now tells us some of the visions that God showed him. We don’t know if this was part of his call to become a prophet, or whether or not it happened earlier or later in his time as a prophet. But we know it happened, and we know that somebody ordered Amos’ material in the way that it is, and that is the way that God wanted it for us. And we can learn for that order.
Here we have God showing to Amos the destruction of Israel. In the first vision it is through a plague. God shows Amos this huge plague of locusts, like the plague of locusts that destroyed Egypt, and Amos cries out, in response, in sorry about the terrible destruction, Sovereign Lord, forgive! Don’t let it happen Lord, forgive their sin, don’t let them get what they deserve. How can they deal with this Lord, you are so big and they are so small.
So then God does something huge. He relents. He changes his mind. He doesn’t do what he said he was going to do; he doesn’t allow things to go as they were, because of the intervention, because of the cries for mercy of one person.
Then, to make sure that we get it, to make sure that we know that this is what is going on, God does it again. It is recorded again, something, not quite the same, but very similar.
Now in the OT, if something was to be seen as sure, it needed to have two or three witnesses. Two or three witnesses to something meant that it was sure thing. He we have this ‘story’ repeated. There are two witnesses to the story. Even though things are a bit different, the same core story is the same. This is a sure thing.
This time God shows Amos something different, it is a raging fire. It is a fire that brings judgment. This time the land is dried up completely. However the effect is the same, everything is wiped out, and judgment is total. So again Amos cries out. Sovereign Lord, don’t let this happen. He begs God, don’t let this happen. Your people are so small, and you are so big, have mercy on them.
So again, God changes his mind. This will not happen. Somebody has begged God to stop something, and God has stop.
This isn’t the first time in Scriptures that this has happened. Moses went up the mountain to get the Ten Commandments, and while he was up there, the Israelites made a golden calf and sinned, and worshiped another god. And like here God was so angry that he was going to wipe them out, and start again with Moses as the Patriarch. And what happens? Moses intercedes, he begs for the people and God changes his mind; he doesn’t bring destruction on them.