Opposition to Amos’s Prophecy
Open Your Bible
Amos 7:1-17, Isaiah 40:6-8, 2 Timothy 4:1-5
There’s a quiet battle going on in my house. As my middle son inches toward standing at six feet, he really longs to “beat” my oldest, who stands at 6’2”. The lines we’ve traced on the white doorway trim in between our kitchen and family room announce the progress in this battle.
I appreciate the objectivity of that door frame. We dutifully measure and, without comment, allow the marks on the trim to speak their truth—their pronouncement is clear.
In today’s passage, I’m reminded of the stalwart metric of that penciled-in door frame. But first, a confession: I don’t know about you, but I can catch myself categorizing God’s attributes. Without realizing it, I might see the God of love as positive and good while the God of justice feels negative and maybe scary.These verses show a collision of His love and justice, nestled in neighboring lines on the page. As God showed Amos his judgment for Israel’s wicked ways—first a vision of destruction by locusts and then of devastation by fire—Amos begged for forgiveness for God’s people. God relented. Twice. Even as His people rebelled, His faithful love showed.
He chose instead a measure of judgment, different but not unlike our white-trimmed kitchen door frame. He places a plumb line as a clear metric of Israel’s growth toward or away from God. The hitch is that the plumb line stays while God departs (Amos 7:8). The NKJV translates the same verse, “He will no longer pass by.” What’s worse? Enduring calamity and destruction as a consequence, or hearing God will turn His back completely?
But God already knew what would happen next: Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, ignored Amos’s offered words. This supposed man of God opposes God and chooses his king. It’s heartbreaking. But it’s in Amos’s response to the priest’s threats where we find encouragement.
So Amos answered Amaziah, “I was not a prophet or the son of a prophet; rather, I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
Amos’s life was sheep and figs, yet he was willing to stop following the flocks to follow the Lord. Even as Israel turned, Amos stood tall against God’s plumb line, delivering His Word. No more than twenty years later, the attacks in this region began, with total ruin complete within forty years.
God’s plans always stand. His Word always remains.
You know, Amos wasn’t the first man God sent from the fields to share His Word, nor would he be the last. Soon He would send the Word to us all, another Shepherd. Our Savior, our plumb line, our friend.
May we hear when He speaks. May we go when He asks.