Bible Studies in Amos 7

Amos 7  Judgment in real terms

 

This is the last section of the prophecy, in which we see Amos has five visions and five promises.

7.1-3      Locusts

7.4-6      Fire

7.7-9      The plumb line

8.1-3      The basket of fruit

9.1-4      Destruction

 

7.6         Promised reprieve

7.10-12  Death of King

7.13-17  Exile

8.4-14    Judgement

9.11-15  Restoration

 

In chapter 7 we open with a vision of locusts. The locusts are devouring insects, who strip the crops, and any other green plants in a fast and total destruction. The vision is of crops beginning to grow and the first harvest is for the king, royal tax, then the continued growth is for the people. Amos sees this being stripped by the locusts. A disaster for a nation that depends on agriculture for their livelihood! He does not say that they are getting their true deserts; he accepts that this is just and proper, but then asks the Lord to forgive! This is admitting that they have done wrong, but is not asking God to overlook the sin, he is realistic about the situation, which is more than the leaders who in ch 6, seem to think they are the most important and relevant men in the nation. Amos pleads with God, who responds by not allowing the crop destruction, but did not promise forgiveness.

The second vision is of fire, more devastating than locusts because it would destroy everything, including the soil and the underlying water, so that crops would not recover. Again Amos, with his love for the people, pleads with God, using his title Sovereign Lord, the one who knows all things, God is not forced to change his mind, but change his course of action. God says, it will not happen, he withholds the deserved punishment.

 

The third vision is of the plumb line, a tool used to measure walls for vertical position, i.e. upright walls. Walls needed to be perfect, to establish a defence against the enemy. Amos sees the meaning of this, they had strayed for God’s standards, they had disobeyed the Sinai commands and had left the true way. They were building their lives out of true, with false worship, arrogant pride and self–justification. God responds by calling them ‘my people’, but they will be spared no longer. After the exiles, Judah was gathered and restored to the land but Israel was not given this promise and did not return.

 

The judgments were progressively given to different factions of the people, the noblemen, then worship leaders and their shrines and then finally the king. This all culminated in 746BC, with the assassination of Jeroboam’s son, Zechariah. [2Kings15.10]

 

The second section of the chapter deals with the interaction between Amaziah, the priest i/c at Bethel and the prophet, Amos.  The conversation, at first, is to the king. Amaziah is a false prophet and misrepresents the words of Amos. He suggests that Amos is plotting the death of the king and the exile of the people. This is clearly not a true prophecy as the king died naturally, and the message was about the enemy within, in the hearts, minds and actions of the people. They had turned away from the Lord and he was pronouncing judgment upon their wrongdoing. He tells Amos to go home and prophesy there, not here, this is a sanctuary and the dwelling of the king, and he mentions Bethel. Amos responds that he is not a professional prophet, nor the son of a prophet. In fact the Lord took him away from his work as a shepherd told him to go and prophesy in Israel. Amos challenges Amaziah on his false claim or interpretation. Amos then pronounces a severe judgement from the Lord upon Amaziah and his family and that Israel will go into exile.

 

When people find God’s message unpalatable, they often do not attack the message but the messenger. Christians must maintain a good witness as well as being true to the message of the Bible. 


Page last updated: 15th January 2016 2:22 PM