I’m slowly making my way through my Bible-in-a-year schedule. Thanks to vacation I am now a month behind. Now I need a relaxing vacation on a beach somewhere so I can get caught up!
Anyway, I am in the middle of Amos. I know I’ve read this book before because I did a Bible-in-a-year schedule once before (took me 2 1/2 years last time). But it’s not one of those go-to books that I’ve read multiple times, like John or Psalms or Ephesians or James. But something at the very beginning of this small book of a minor prophet most people have never heard of spoke to me.
Amos 1:1 says: “The words of Amos, one of the shepherds of Tekoa.” Amos was a prophet not because he was a great king like Solomon or a wise man in the service of the king like Daniel, but because he spoke a truth given to him by God. He was a mere shepherd, one of many. But he listened to God and he wrote down for the people of Israel the warning that God had given to him to share.
It couldn’t have been easy for Amos, a lowly shepherd, to prophecy such things regarding the judgment that was to come upon Israel’s neighbors, and then upon Israel itself. He must have wondered who would even listen to him? Who would heed this terrible warning of God’s wrath and judgment to come for those who turned away from Him?
Amos is almost nine chapters of destruction and judgment. But then, in the final verses of Chapter 9, God restores Israel from the remnant that has been true to Him.
11 “In that day I will restore
David’s fallen tent.
I will repair its broken places,
restore its ruins,
and build it as it used to be,
12 so that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the nations that bear my name,”
declares the LORD, who will do these things.
* * * * *
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.
There are those like Amos among us even today, calling those who have strayed to come back to God, just as Amos called the Israelites who had strayed to be part of His remnant. They are not always learned men and pastors. Sometimes they are ordinary people, just as Amos was an ordinary shepherd.
Do we hear them? Do we even try to listen? Do those who have turned their backs on God heed the warning of the judgment that will overcome them if they do not return to the remnant that is safe is Christ Jesus?
Many like to think of Jesus as only a great moral teacher who talked of only love. But Jesus, the Good Shepherd, also warned of the coming judgment.
The men of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and now one greater than Jonah is here. The Queen of the South will rise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for she came from the ends of the earth to listen to Solomon’s wisdom, and now one greater than Solomon is here. Matthew 12:41-42.
Jesus was talking to the Pharisees when He said this, but He could just as well have been talking to us today. I pray for ears to hear the warning and heed the call of God.