Amos 1-5, Psalm 126
To say that Amos was an unlikely choice for prophet is putting it mildly. For those who remember the Beverly Hillbillies, imagine Jethro Bodeen. He was a hillbilly. Yet we see him in this book taking on the political leaders, the religious leaders, the worldly leaders. Again, to make it more applicable imagine this individual who appears to be nothing special in the eyes of the world taking on our president, the leaders coming from Harvard and Yale, and the leaders of the various religious institutions. But, this should not surprise us. Famed evangelist in the 1800’s, Dwight L.Moody, had a speech impediment. Consider Nick Vujicic,, contemporary Christian Evangelist, born with no arms or legs. Consider Joni Eareckson Tada, contemporary Christian evangelist , author, and singer (recent song up for an academy award), paralyzed from the neck down since her teenage years.
How often we make the mistake of elevating our own abilities when called by God. God doesn’t need our abilities, just a willing heart and a willingness to be emptied so that He can fill us and empower us for use. If we do this and allow Him the glory, rather than ourselves, true strength can be realized. Paul realized this in 2 Corinthian 12:10,”Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” The question is do we love others and desire to be used by God enough to appear foolish to outsiders. The story goes that John Vassar (preacher and evangelist in the early 1800’s) knocked on the door of a person’s home and asked the woman if she knew Christ as her Savior. She replied, “It’s none of your business” and slammed the door in his face. He stood on the doorstep and wept and wept, and she looked out her window and saw him weeping. The next Sunday she was in church. She said it was because of those tears. Paul emphasizes God’s plan in those like Amos in 1 Corinthian’s 1:27, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;”
Lastly, it is easy to read another book of God’s judgments quickly, simply because we are ignorant to the nations and the history being discussed. There are many commentaries out there with different kinds of focus. Many are application commentaries teaching us how to apply the Scriptures to our daily lives. Walvoord’s commentary is a little different in that it goes into great detail explaining the historical authenticity of Scripture. It is difficult with the pace in which we are reading, but what is amazing is if you looked into it, each and every prophecy surrounding the nations discussed was fulfilled with incredible accuracy with dates, names, and how the prophecy was fulfilled. Also realize that the nations were accountable for what they should have known. To Israel, the children of God, they were guilty of much. Luke 12:48, “To whom much is given, from him much will be required.” Our nation, like Israel, has been given much materially as well as from our heritage from our Christian forefathers. Our nation is without excuse, yet seems to be abandoning God more and more with each passing day. Will we be like John Vassar above and reach out in love to a world that has denied Christ. When Jeremiah decided that he was going to stop prophesying after being thrown in prison, he said in Jeremiah 20:9, “His word was in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, and I could not.” Paul said similarly in 1 Corinthians 9:16, “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” Amos in 3:8 says the same, “…The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?” We who have God’s Word in our hearts, may nothing hold us back from speaking God’s truth to a world in desperate need.
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: