AMOS 7:1-9:15 | REVELATION 3:7-22 | PSALM 131:1-3 | PROVERBS 29:23
Amos’ prophecies continue.
He might have been only a shepherd, but he took his job of Prophet pretty seriously. When Amaziah, the king of the day tells him he should perhaps go back to where he came from, Amos doesn’t take to it very kindly. He spares no politeness and courtesies in speaking his mind.
He says: 14 “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now then, hear the word of the LORD. You say,
“‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore this is what the LORD says:
“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
and you yourself will die in a pagan country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
away from their native land.’”
Ouch! Might have been better for Amaziah to have kept quiet to begin with.
But perhaps even more harsh are the prophecies that Amos makes further down in the next chapter. If paucity of food and water will strike fear in the hearts of the people of Israel, how much more will this next curse inflict pain and suffering upon them?
Amos is the Lord’s mouthpiece in these verses. He says:
11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign LORD,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the LORD,
but they will not find it.
13 “In that day the lovely young women and strong young men
will faint because of thirst.
14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria—
who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’
or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’—
they will fall, never to rise again.”
Woe is to the people who cannot find the word of the Lord. That is a truth even to this day!
But Amos does go on to complete his prophetic mission in bringing it full circle, and prophesies also of the restoration of Israel. As can be see from these words, after all is said and done, there is indeed hope for the children of Israel:
13 “The days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman
and the planter by the one treading grapes.
New wine will drip from the mountains
and flow from all the hills,
14 and I will bring my people Israel back from exile.
“They will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.
They will plant vineyards and drink their wine;
they will make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant Israel in their own land,
never again to be uprooted
from the land I have given them,”says the LORD your God.
Turning now to our reading in the book of Revelation, we find a continuation of John’s letters to the early churches. John is writing what he has received in a vision, serving as the mouthpiece of God himself.
To the church in Philadelphia, this is the message:
11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. 12 The one who is victorious I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will they leave it. I will write on them the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on them my new name. 13 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the church in Laodicea, the message is this:
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see. 19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.
The admonition to the chruch in Laodicea will always stand out in my mind and memory as a hugely significant one in my own personal spiritual landscape because it is the passage that is always cited by my father as the one that convicted him of his spiritual state when he was a young man. It was these verses that caused him, he has often said by way of a personal testimony, as to how he came to making a decision to no more be “lukewarm” like the church in Laodicea, but rather to take a stand on whether or not he would accept Christ and follow him. Needless to say, he did indeed take a stand to become a believer.
May it be that we each examine ourselves to test for the temperature of our spiritual lives. And may it be that we rise up and decide to take a position one way or the other.
As for me, I am hot!
And the verse that can be no more simpler to understand… this is Jesus saying to me and to you:
20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
And if you have opened your heart to him, you too, like David in Psalm 131 will be able to say with confidence:
2 But I have calmed and quieted myself,
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Finally, one verse from the book of Proverbs, in which Solomon, wise king of Israel is cautioning against the sin of pride:
23 Pride brings a person low,
but the lowly in spirit gain honor.
May God bless the reading and reflection of His Word. Amen.