Devotional 33: I Was No Prophet

Amos 7:10-16

 Amaziah’s Complaint

10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said:

‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
And Israel shall surely be led away captive
From their own land.’”

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos:

“Go, you seer!
Flee to the land of Judah.
There eat bread,
And there prophesy.
13 But never again prophesy at Bethel,
For it is the king’s sanctuary,
And it is the royal residence.”

14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah:

“I was no prophet,
Nor was I a son of a prophet,
But I was a sheepbreeder[a]
And a tender of sycamore fruit.
15 Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock,
And the Lord said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’
16 Now therefore, hear the word of the Lord:
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
And do not spout against the house of Isaac.’

The one thing I love about the Father is his consistency.

Time and again he pulls from the rag pile and sends out the most unlikely people to do the work he requires, knowing they will obey, telling them not to be afraid, shoring them up with the power of the Holy Spirit and righteous indignation.

Amos is about as unlikely a prophet as they come, but we know he’s a prophet of G-d, because the prophets of G-d never failed to get the attention of kings and rulers, from Moses to Micah.

The reactions of said kings and rulers also seldom deviated, usually prompted by their right-hand men. In the case of Amos, it’s Amaziah, used to the intrigues of court and dealing with men of wealth, power and influence, as well as having the king’s ear.

He summarily dismisses, banishes and threatens Amos in the same breath, and cites the fact that the prophet stands in the king’s sanctuary and residence.

But as read in Psalm 24: “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world and those who dwell therein.”

Amos, being obedient to the Father’s call despite his lack of clerical credentials, answers Amaziah with even more boldness, after reciting his credentials as a sheepherder and caretaker of fruit. By all measures of earthly success, but for the call of G-d on his life, he would have died in obscurity as a simple sheepherder and fruit picker, perhaps well-liked by his employer and fellow servants, but otherwise unknown to the world today.

“I was no prophet,
Nor was I a son of a prophet,
But I was a sheepbreeder[a]
And a tender of sycamore fruit.
15 Then the Lord took me as I followed the flock,
And the Lord said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’

As believers, at some point we’ve heard the Call, and suddenly found ourselves at a fork in the road that says ‘Obey’ and ‘Disobey.’ We read only of the prophets who answered the call (Jonah refused to go to Nineveh because he knew G-d would forgive them, but it was not because he doubted what G-d said).

It’s a frightening thing, and I myself have experienced it. Nothing as earth-shattering as the overrunning of a nation by a powerful enemy, but I’ve told people they had positions, and things they were looking for would be in certain places, and they’ve come to pass.

I don’t count myself a prophet by any means, but I knew when I heard from the Lord; there was a certainty that what I was saying was not coming from a place of emotion, or trying to do good in the flesh, or to impress anyone. It was simply: “Tell them____”. and I obeyed.

G-d sends out His Word, and says it will not return void:  Jonah gave the shortest sermon in recorded history, and a whole nation repented, sparing itself. But the people of Nineveh did not pass down the legacy, and eventually it was destroyed.

As the saying goes, “G-d has no grandchildren.”

In this day and age of relativism, modernism, feminism, atheism, sexual immorality and gender identity confusion, would you be obedient if the Father said, “Go into their midst and prophesy?” Would you be willing to suffer the consequences, and possibly see the fruit, as Jonah did, or would you quail at the challenge to your credentials among the learned clergy. The Pharisees were always asking Jesus, another man of humble, dubious beginnings who seemingly had no other credentials, and didn’t even practice his trade of carpentry, “By whose authority do you do these things?”

You’re in good company.

Prophesy in faith, not in yourself, but in He who sent you.

Psalm 81:10  “If you open your mouth, I will fill it.”

He did it for Moses, and Amos, and He’ll do it for you. For us.

Amaziah was appalled that this commoner spoke so rashly, and probably felt justified in thinking Amos would quail in fear when Amaziah told him where he was, but G-d responded with a harsh punishment for Amaziah instead.

Yes, we are commanded to come boldly before the throne with the torn veil, but we are also called to go out from it just as boldly, speaking Truth in love

Therefore I pray:

Let my feet hasten to where You would have me go, Father, but it will have to be You. Like Jonah, I don’t understand unconditional love and forgiveness. Nineveh staked prophets out in the unrelenting desert sun, and was known as city of every vice, and yet, the words of Your prophet changed a nation.

So too, Amos, the shepherd and fruit attendant, who spoke against King Jeroboam, who’d become a tyrant.  He also spoke against those cities who aided the vice and turned a blind to it in the name of profit.

Whatever the words you’d have me speak, whether to change a nation or a single heart, fill me with Your words, Your power, and increase my faith, that I might obey and speak boldly.

Let me not boast of that which you gave me to say, as if I did a grand thing in my own strength. I know where my help comes from.

I would be a fisher of men, and a seed-planter, and a sheaf-bringer, or a shepherd, or a fruit attendant. As Your most learned apostle said, “I have become all things to all men, that I may by all means save some.” (1st Cor: 9:22), taking the same fire and zeal he used to persecute the church to advance it.

Help us to know, that we too, must suffer for your Name, and to count the cost, take up our crosses, and follow.

In the Name of Your Holy Son, and by the power of Your Holy Spirit, I ask it.

Amen.

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