Summary: The sermon proclaims the Law that always accuses the old sinful nature and the Gospel that comforts with the forgiveness of sins, eternal life and salvation through the person and work of Jesus the Christ.
"The Politician and the Prophet"
3 August Anno Domini 2003
Rev. Michael L. McCoy
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church of Emmett Idaho
Grace, mercy and peace to you in the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Keep listening and you will hear two men speak.
One occupies an ecclesiastical office of power and authority. He uses his position to be in the presence of the head of state and to speak supporting words to the national leader. In doing so, he is able to advance his own agenda. This is impressive to many - both those within and those without the church. Why? Because he tells both what they want to hear. He is slick, subtle, controlling, engaging, in a position where he is accountable to no one, and of such a persuasion that he will use his office to accomplish his ungodly purposes, all of which will result in the destruction of an already divided people.
The other is a second career guy who is called by the LORD God to speak the Word of God to the people. This man would have been quite content with the simple work he had been doing in the two jobs that he held down. He makes no claim for himself - issues no statement that he was special in and of himself. But, since God called him as His messenger, this second man will speak as he has been told. He did not and he would not compromise the Word.
Such forthright declarations by the second man irritated the first man immensely. The first man has words with the second man. There is the inevitable confrontation and a heated conversation between the two men - one trying all means at his disposal in order to force and enforce his religious plans - the other remaining steadfast in the Word and the Work of the LORD God. The exchange between the men becomes a war of words. So, do you wonder, "What did they say?" Well, it did finally all became quite public and may now be spoken of. Therefore, please listen to the Old Testament Reading for today - to Amos 7:10-17 and hear the word of man and the Word of God from …
… "The Politician and the Prophet"
"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. For thus Amos has said, "Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land."’
And Amaziah said to Amos, ’O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.’
Then Amos answered Amaziah, ’I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, "Go, prophesy to My people Israel." Now therefore hear the Word of the LORD. You say, "Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac." Therefore thus says the LORD: "Your wife shall be a harlot in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be parceled out by line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land."’"
Thus far the Word of the LORD our God.
A complaint was issued and certainly was received by men for "Surely the LORD God does nothing, without revealing his secret to His servants the prophets" (Amos 3:7). The charges were specific … gross, manifest violations of the First and Second Commandments … no other gods and no misuse of the Name of the LORD God. "Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, the Lord: … ’I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer Me your burnt offerings and cereal offerings, I will not accept them, and the peace offerings of your fatted beasts I will not look upon’" (Amos 5:16 & 21-22).
This is the Divine reaction to the grave, deadly sin of syncretism. One example of syncretism is when there is an interfaith service in which other gods, in addition to the One True God, receive sacrifices, or are invoked, or are worshipped. Among the gods in the days of Amos were two gold calves [one located in Bethel (1 King 12:26ff)], statuettes of Ishtar, Sakkuth, the star-god named Kaiwan and various images that the people made for themselves. There were other gods - Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, Chemosh the god of Moab, and Milcom the god of the Ammonites - as well as the clerics of the same.