Sermons

Summary: A review and application of the ministry of Amos, known to standing with God and against religion.

“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 and said to Amaziah, ‘I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But 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 prostitute in the city,

and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,

and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;

you yourself shall die in an unclean land,

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.”’” [1]

He had only one message, and it was repeated each time he spoke. His message was unwelcomed, generating opposition and animosity from the religious elite of the nation. Despite all the opposition, he persisted in preaching that one message, a message given him by the Living God. He was not a trained preacher, but what he had to say disturbed kings and religious leaders alike. The smell of sheep clung to his garments, ensuring that no one could mistake what his occupation was or who his companions had been. His language was terse, though pregnant with meaning. He was firm in both stature and speech, which only intensified his words. There was nothing of the polish people expected of one who spoke for the Lord GOD.

By his own admission, he was a shepherd who worked seasonally as a “fig nipper;” he bruised sycamore figs to cause them ripen more quickly. Either of these jobs qualified as among the most humble occupations imaginable. In short, he was a layman who worked at the most menial tasks imaginable. One look and anyone would be assured that he was not a member of the ecclesiastical guild that is so highly esteemed among religious folk even to this present day.

Nevertheless, assured that he functioned as God’s appointed spokesman, Amos stirred up the entire land and disturbed the highest offices of the religious establishment. What would prompt a quiet labourer to leave his employment, travel to a foreign country to deliberately seek out the religious leadership solely to confront them, deliberately discomforting them?

Perhaps more germane to the message before us today, why would the elite of the land ignore what he had to say? What would induce religious leaders to dismiss him as unworthy of a hearing, registering their disgust especially at what he was saying, and even going so far as to plead with the king to silence him? Why was the Prophet from Tekoa unwelcomed in Zion?

RELIGIOUS? OR HOLY? “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 and said to Amaziah, ‘I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But 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 prostitute in the city,

and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,

and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;

you yourself shall die in an unclean land,

and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.”’”

[AMOS 7:12-17]

There is a tendency for religious leaders to “play it safe.” We preachers are always tempted to avoid upsetting the world. I must frequently remind myself of Jesus’ teaching on this matter. “If the world hates you, be aware that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as its own. However, because you do not belong to the world, but I chose you out of the world, for this reason the world hates you. Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they obeyed my word, they will obey yours too. But they will do all these things to you on account of my name because they do not know the one who sent me” [JOHN 15:18-21 NET BIBLE].

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