December 29 – News to share

Read Amos 7:1-8:14

My wife tells a story of her grandmother who lived to be nearly 90.  At one point she went to the doctor with symptoms.   His diagnosis was not a positive one.  She had a life-threatening illness.  Her response?  She never went back to that doctor…and lived several more decades!  Separating herself from the source of bad news worked!

Jeroboam, king of Israel, seems to have reacted similarly.  After catching wind of the prophecies of Amos (which included the king’s own painful death and the nation’s own judgment by exile) he asked Amos to leave and take his prophecy gig to the southern tribes of Judah.  Perhaps the king concluded that Amos had control over the prophetic content, and that, by changing his surroundings, the judgment would be redirected towards another group.

But the prophetic office was not something that Amos had sought out for himself.  He had been minding his own business as a shepherd and an orchard worker.  God Himself had called Amos to prophesy…and to prophesy to the people of Israel.

Let’s push pause here for an important application question.  Are you attentive to God’s promptings in your own life…even those that may not be understood and embraced by others?

Now, back to the story…

Included in the prophecies of Amos were the four visions of chapters 7 and 8.  As Amos saw an initial vision pointing to judgment by locusts, he asked God to forgive.  And God relented.  Then there was the vision of fire which would have utterly devastated the nation and its resources.  Once again, Amos asked, and God relented.  But the visions of the plumb line and of the summer fruit would stand.

In other words, judgment was imminent and unavoidable.  God was going to bring punishment on His people because of their injustices and rebellion.  This judgment would not completely destroy them, for He would faithfully rescue a remnant.

Let’s close with a final word of application.  Although the judgment for the godless of our age is a different one, it is nevertheless real.  For all who do not obey the gospel, there will be punishment by fire (2 Thess. 1:7-9).  As Christ followers, we play an important “prophetic role” of warning them of the coming wrath and pointing them to Christ.

Steve Kern

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