Daily Thought for: 25th August
Amos 1; 5. 14-15
The most casual reader of Amos prophecy could not but be arrested by the
abundance of transgression referred to in the first two chapters. The sins
of the heathen are listed, and to each the warning of divine judgement
is given. Perhaps the saddest of all is recorded concerning the people
of God, 2. 11-12. The Nazarite reminds us of separation to God and the
prophet of communication from God. Sadly, the Nazarite had been defiled
by wine and the mouths of the prophets had been closed.
In such a day God raised up Amos, whose name means burden. It is good when the servant of God has, and feels, a sense of true burden as he addresses the needs of his generation. The burden of his ministry will be to bring both the heathen people, and Gods own people, the solemn reminder, Thus saith the Lord, I will not turn away the punishment thereof.
The most striking aspect of Amos character is his humility. Many years after being raised up by God he still wonders why God should take up someone such as he. Amos tells us he was no prophet, 7. 14, and therefore, humanly speaking, was not fitted for the task; he was no prophets son and therefore could not draw on the resources of his fathers experience. Apparently, he was doing a simple job in a simple way. It is most instructive that it was such a man who was taken and used by God. Who among us knows what purpose God may have for us which might take us by complete surprise and radically change our sphere of service.
Amos, whilst having a low appreciation of himself, has a large appreciation of God and throughout his book makes reference to the various names of God, 1. 2; 2. 7; 3. 13; 4. 2; 7. 7. With such a vast appreciation of God he attacks the complacency of the people and demands something better for the Lord. The rituals of sacrifice, habitual but hypocritical, are hated by God and their various offerings are not being accepted. The challenge of chapter 6 is to shake off the shackles of hypocrisy and render to God a sacrifice which costs something, borne out of a renewed spirit of both seeking good and loving good, 5. 14-15. If such a change could be made, judgement might be averted. It is good to remind ourselves of the gracious character of God.