Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Prophet Amos

Of all the minor prophets, I think I like Amos the best.

He is the only one that lets us know - before he gets God's commission - what he did for a living:  "who was among the sheepherders of Tekoa" (Amos 1:1). When arguing with the Amaziah of Israel he states "I was no prophet, Nor was I the son of a prophet, but I was a sheepherder and tender of sycamore fruit." (Amos 7:14)

I enjoy this because of all the prophets, I can most identify with him.  A man whose job was sheepherding and tending sycamore (fig) trees was a man who spent a great deal of time away from humans and with the natural world, sheep and trees.  A great deal of quiet, a lot of dirty work and wind and rain, obviously a some level of thinking about and communing with God (else he would not have been selected by God or heard the call).  A man who probably right to the point of his call was perfectly happy living with the wind and sun and sheep and trees.

And then God calls him away from all that, to go into the world of urban living and traveling outside of his own land to give his message.

I get the suggestion, at least once, that he was not altogether happy with changed:  "Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophecy to My people Israel. (Amos7:15).  In his comment I hear the voice of a man who is not altogether happy with where is at the moment and would just as soon return to those flocks and trees instead of being where he was.  I sympathize with him:  being amidst an urban sprawl, surrounded by people, is not necessarily where i want to be either.  But apparently for a time that is where he - and I - were called to be.

Give him a read - it is only 9 chapters and touches not only on judgment coming for Israel and Judah but for the surrounding nations as well (God plays no favorites:  righteousness and unrighteousness have one standard, His own).  Read it and hear not only a prophets cry for a people to turn from their wickedness but the heart-sense of a man who ultimately just wants to go back to herds and orchards, to hear the voice of God in the wind and sun and rain.


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