Do you have to be a preacher, elder, or teacher to be responsible to speak the truth? It wouldn’t seem so with today’s reading of Amos.
Not done by a professional, try this at home
The word that Amos was bringing to Jeroboam at Bethel was completely unwelcome — what a surprise. The priest of Bethel didn’t want to hear how his administration of religion was wrong and offensive to God; “Go home you seer!” But Amos wasn’t among the usual cadre of formally recognized prophets, a professional; he was just a man with a message from God for a people who were wandering far away from the Lord. He was just a regular guy, a part-time herdsman and part-time grower of sycamore figs — I guess you could say he was trying to hold down a couple of jobs, like a lot of us today. Many of us have a message from the Lord that people at your work, in your neighborhood, in your school need to hear — the story of Jesus’ life, His loving and sacrificial death on the cross, His glorious resurrection, and the forgiveness and new life and hope He provides. It doesn’t take a professional, so, try it at home
Watch out, when God calls it “qets“
There’s a pun Amos 8:2 where the Lord asks Amos what he sees and Amos replies a basket of fruit (“qayits“) — to which God replies, “The end (“qets”) has come for the people Israel. I will spare them no more.” The pun wasn’t supposed to be funny, just memorable. Wouldn’t it be terrifying to hear that God was saying that the end has come for you? I’ve mentioned it before, so I’ll not waste many words again here about this now, but God’s patiences really does have an end; and we are well advised to avoid pushing it. He is gracious and kind and long-suffering — but the end of His patience is awful.
A new and terrifying kind of famine
Famine was a real fear in the ancient world. They couldn’t just overnight some grain or tomatoes from the next country over. It meant hunger, failing health, stunted growth for children, and starvation if it went on long enough. But because of Israel’s sinfulness, God was going to send a different kind of famine — of His word (8:11). There would probably be some who would happy about this, because they wouldn’t bothered by those pesky prophets and their old-fashioned notions about faithfulness and worship.
But when Israel did go into Assyrian exile and Judah into Babylonian exile the famine for God’s revelation became sharp and painful. And it is why the appearance of John the Baptist was such a big deal, why Jesus’ appearance as even a prophet (let alone Messiah) was such a big deal, and partially why there was a hunger among the Jews to hear the apostles as they preached with miraculous power demonstrating their true claim to prophecy.
But would you miss a famine of God’s word? How much dust is on your copy of the Bible? Got God’s word?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing.