|photo credit: freedigitalphotos|
Monday, I was chatting with a couple of friends in the office (I work part time at my church) and I said, "I was reading in Amos and--"
Laughter filled the office (and blessed heat; they freeze me out) "You were reading Amos? You don't hear that often…'I was reading in Amos…'"
Maybe it is A-typical. Like me. Here's why I love the book of Amos. Here's why I love Amos. So much in this little overlooked book says so much about our God, His power, His overwhelming love.
Amos shows up in a time when Israel has much military success and prosperity (thanks to Jeroboam). Guess what comes with sitting like fat cats?
Pride. Greed. Immorality.
Amos focused on putting Israel and Judah (two separate kingdoms at the time) in their place in the area of worship, mostly.
Can you hear how upset God is when He says, "Go to Bethel (center of Baal worship) and sin. Go to Gilgal (remember this is where they set up the remembrance stones after they crossed into the Promise Land, to remind them God had delivered and made good on His promise--not a place of prostitution) and sin yet more." Amos 4:4
Do you hear the , "Go ahead, you're going to anyway. I've done everything I can to dissuade you" tone?
"Bring your sacrifices every morning, your tithes every three years. Burn leavened bread as a thank offering and brag about your freewill offerings--boast about them, you Israelites, for this is what you love to do." declares the Sovereign LORD. Amos 4:4-5
Amos made sure to let them know WHO was talking to them. THE SOVEREIGN LORD.
Do you hear the, drips of sarcasm. Is it just me?
God goes on, through Amos, to tell them every single thing He's done to grab their attention. He holds back rain to wither their crop…hey if they're hungry maybe they'll call to Him, turn back…remember. Amos 4: 6-8
But they didn't.
Then He struck their gardens and vineyards with plight and mildew. And sent locust to eat away at their crops. Maybe if a third party enters to gnaw away at their hard work, they'll turn back…remember. Amos 4:9
But they didn't.
Then God allowed sickness and war to overtake their bodies. The last resort. Surely, if their bodies were sick, if the enemy came in with the sword they would call out to God. Maybe then, they'll turn back…remember. Amos 4:10-11
But they didn't.
Therefore…God delivers up consequences for their sinful behaviors.
"…prepare to meet your God, O, Israel."
That gives me chill bumps.
And of course, in God's wonderful fashion He also declares restoration. But even so, Amos's words fall on deaf and angry ears.
The high priest, Amaziah (living at Bethel--center of Baal worship) gets all testy. I mean what corrupt priest wouldn't, right? And he sends word to the king of Israel, Jeroboam. "Amos is raising a conspiracy (Amos isn't doing Jack. God is.) against you and the very heart of Israel (translation: me. He went after me, king) The land cannot bear all his words. (again. Me. I can't bear it) He says, 'Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.'"
Then Amaziah gets testy with Amos. Tells him to get the heck out, go back to Judah and prophesy there, but keep his mouth shut to Israel because this is where the king finds sanctuary and he better stop disrupting it. Amos 7: 10-13.
And here is what I love.
Amos says, "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 flock and said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'…" Amos 7:14-15
Amos wasn't anyone powerful, nor did he come from a powerful line of prophets. He was a lowly shepherd. But God called him to something else. And he took up the mantle and went. His words were harsh at times, no one wants bad news or to be corrected when they're happy doing wrong.
God was with Amos. God loved His people enough to send someone! I love that he chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things.
I love that Jesus, by men's standards, was nothing but ordinary.
"He grew up like a small plant before the Lord, like a root growing in a dry land. He had no special beauty or form to make us notice him; there was nothing in his appearance to make us desire him." Isaiah 53:2 NCV
I love that God sent Him--not to judge…not yet. But to save.
"The Son of Man came to find lost people and save them." Luke 19:10
How does it make you feel to know that God uses the ordinary to extraordinary things? Does it give you hope for yourself? Do you feel ordinary?
|Come by our facebook|
community and meet new women,
talk about God, and encourage one
another! Click the link at the
right side of the toolbar!