If you’re following the schedule, you should read these chapters today: 1 Chronicles 11–12, Hebrews 13, Amos 7, Luke 2. Click on any of those references to see all the passages in one long page on BibleGateway. If you can’t do all the readings today, read Amos 7.
Amos was an unsophisticated man, a redneck from the Southern Kingdom who tended sheep and cared for sycamore trees (v. 14) but the Lord sent him to prophesy to both Israel and Judah about his coming judgment. Those yankees in the Northern Kingdom objected to the message of that hillbilly from the south. One of Israel’s religious leaders, Amaziah a priest of the false religion that Jeroboam I established in Judah misconstrued his message in order to try to silence Amos. Amos had been prophesying exile to the Assyrians, but Amaziah told Jeroboam II that his message was “raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel” (v. 10b). Amaziah then ordered Amos to deport himself back to the south (v. 12). His reason? “...because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” In other words, this is a safe space for king Jeroboam. He shouldn’t have to hear a troubling prophecy like this in his own backyard.
Those who hate the Lord will eventually seek to silence his word. If they can threaten and intimidate us his messengers, as Amaziah tried to do, then we make it easy on them to avoid accountability and live the way they want. Faithfulness to the Lord, however, requires us to speak truth--lovingly, yes, calling people to repentance, but also firmly, directly, consistently (vv. 15-16). In our country, those who seek to silence God’s word may have lost access to the strong arm of government for the moment--we’ll see about that in the days ahead. But they still have unjust judges in the courts to try to punish us for speaking about our faith and, failing that, they have public pressure, threats, and intimidation. Amos was a brave man; what he may have lacked in urban sophistication was more than offset by his faith in God and determination to keep speaking his truth. Let’s follow his example and be clear and consistent in speaking for the Lord until he comes.
Now for your thoughts: What stood out in your Bible reading for today? What questions do you have about what you read? What are your thoughts about what I wrote above? Post them in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And, feel free to answer and interact with the questions and comments of others. Have a great day; we’ll talk scripture again tomorrow.