Today’s Reading: Amos 6 – Obadiah 1
Today’s Reflection: Amos 7:14-15
14) Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. 15) But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amos’s prophesies of doom Israel and warnings to ‘those at ease in Zion’ (Amos 6:1) finally reached the halls of power, but not with the effect Amos had intended. Amaziah, the priest of Bethel sent word to Jeroboam, king of Israel, warning him that this Amos was conspiring against him, attempting to usurp his authority and shatter the people’s confidence in his leadership (Amos 7:10-11).
So Amaziah warned Amos to leave Bethel, where he had been prophesying, because it was the sanctuary of the king and the temple of Israel (Amos 7:12-13). It was then Amos spoke the words in today’s text. Amos wasn’t part of the religious order of Israel’s priesthood. He hadn’t graduated from their seminary. He wasn’t a friend of the king. He lacked noble birth, breeding and connections. But Amos’ authority came directly from God and God alone.
In most of our churches we tend to disregard prophesies, warnings and instruction from sources that don’t come from the religious traditions we are used to. If it isn’t sanctioned by our denomination, parish, priest, pastor or elder, we won’t think it’s ‘safe’ to listen to. Even though this goes directly against the instruction we are given by God.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 – 20) Do not despise prophecies, 21) but test everything; hold fast what is good.
It is important for each of us to know God’s Word well enough to be able to test whatever we hear and discern if it is of God or not.
The reality is that God can and will use any faithful person to speak for Him. And God does this in situations like the one Amos was called for: times when those appointed to deliver the word of God refuse to, for fear of losing the favour of the people or the political support of the king. God knew this, so the next Word he gave Amos for Amaziah was about the personal suffering he would undergo for disregarding God’s warnings.
Regardless of the source—whether it be a farmer, a shepherd, a fisherman or a carpenter—if he or she speaks according to God we ignore the Word given at our own peril.