Highlights In Today's Reading:
Amos was a non-Levitical herdsman called to prophecy to the house (descendants) of Jacob (3:1,13). He endears himself to the crowd with a general impeachment of six surrounding nations (1:3-2:3) before pronouncing the judgment of God on the Kingdom of Judah and the Northern Kingdom. Note the seven condemning questions (that we need to consider) (3:3-6)! God's plea (5:1-15).
It seemed strange for a shepherd from the hills of Judah to go into the affluent society of the ten-tribed Northern Kingdom and pronounce judgment on their sins. The Prophet Amos was only a shepherd, but he denounced Israel's idolatry and foretold the soon destruction of the prosperous Northern Kingdom.
The prophecy of Amos seems to have been proclaimed in the gate (5:10) at Bethel, one of the religious centers of Israel, about 30 years before they were defeated by the Assyrians. The gate was a city's entrance and center of business where the elders judged the people (compare Jeremiah 17:19; 19:2). It was at this well-known center that the Lord spoke through Amos to tell Israel how deceived they were and to appeal to them to seek good, and not evil, that ye may live (Amos 5:14). Amaziah, the paid non-Levitical priest of King Jeroboam II, was quick to get word to the king about this disagreeable prophet from the Southern Kingdom. He interpreted the words of Amos to mean that Jeroboam would die by the sword. The prophet had only stated what God had said: I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword (7:9). But Amos' message from God was unwelcome. Just as a faithful Christian is often a target of criticism as he speaks out against sin, Amaziah said unto Amos. . . . go, flee . . . into the land of Judah (7:12).
God often uses ordinary people like Amos to proclaim His message. It is not what we possess, but how obedient we are that qualifies us to be used by the Lord. The call from God came: to Elisha as he was plowing — to David in the sheepfold — to Matthew the despised tax collector as he sat at the receipt of custom (Matthew 9:9) — to Peter at his fishing nets. These were messengers of our Lord, all ordinary people who were mightily used by Him.
Our Lord, while here on earth, continually used the expression: The Father hath sent Me (John 5:30,36-37; 6:44,57; 8:16, 18; 12:49; 14:24). Just as the Father sent His Son to make known His love and salvation to sinners, so He sends forth His disciples (17:18). Jesus said: As My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you (20:21).
Ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world . . . base things . . . which are despised . . . That no flesh should glory in His presence (I Corinthians 1:26-29).
Thought for Today:
We may not think we are qualified, but God has commissioned “all of us” to do something: Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15).
As the Creator of the universe (Amos 5:8). By His Son . . . He made the worlds (Hebrews 1:2-3; also Revelation 4:11).
2:13 pressed =b> burdened; 3:5 gin =b> trap; 3:14 visit =b> punish; 4:1 kine of Bashan were the fat cows, raised in the best pasturelands; but here, it is used figuratively in referring to self-gratifying, sensual, influential women; masters =b> husbands; 4:3 breaches =b> breaks in the city wall; 4:9 blasting =b> blight; 5:21 smell =b> be pleased, take delight; 5:23 viols =b> harps.
Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts in memory of Henry Rogers • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Mrs. Sherry Toppins • Staff: Dan Murton • Government Officials: Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA), Rep. Dan Lungren (CA), and Rep. John Tanner (TN) • Country: Germany (82 million) in north-central Europe • Major language: German • Religious freedom • 33.8% Evangelical (Lutheran); 33.6% Catholic; 3.4% Muslim; 1% Orthodox; 1% Other Christian; .2% Other; 27% None • Prayer Suggestion: Ask the Lord to show you any sins that you are not aware of and to cleanse you of them (Psa. 19:12).
Memory Verse for the Week: 2 Timothy 2:12