I don’t understand what is going on. Who will tell us?
Earthquakes, fires, famines, rulers we never thought would come to power… What is going on?
It’s an age-old question. A king’s messengers may proclaim his threats, but who can the faithful believe? Only a true prophet of the Lord. And many have claimed their own messages falsely. Even now lies live in the deceitful hearts of evil men.
In case you missed the beginning of our Advent series:
We have only briefly spoken of the Prophets, so far focusing on Jeremiah in the 7th century before Christ; however now we return to the 8th century B.C. during a specific time at the beginning of the end of Israel and later Judah. Many have only heard of Isaiah, whose prophesies confirm Christ as part of our annual Gospel readings of the births of John the Baptist and Jesus, the Messiah.
The prophesies of Amos warn the shaken residents of lands facing destruction around 1750 B.C., including Israel and its neighboring countries.
The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
You have heard of it from this same proximity:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. – Luke 2:8 KJV
Only Amos, a keeper of sheep in these same hills lived not only prior to the nativity of Christ, but even before the fall of Israel and Judah.
The LORD gave the prophet Amos powerful words which accurately predicted the fates of Israel and her neighbors.
Yet even as in these last days, only a remnant of the faithful would listen and be saved.
A true Prophet is no popular leader, only a messenger of the LORD
12 And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, 13 but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”
14 Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs.
15 But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.
As messenger of the LORD, Amos continues warnings through his unpopular visions [Chapter 9]:
I saw the Lord standing beside the altar, and he said:
“Strike the capitals until the thresholds shake,
and shatter them on the heads of all the people;
and those who are left of them I will kill with the sword;
not one of them shall flee away;
not one of them shall escape…
8 Behold, the eyes of the Lord God are upon the sinful kingdom,
and I will destroy it from the surface of the ground,
except that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob,”
declares the Lord.
9 “For behold, I will command,
and shake the house of Israel among all the nations
as one shakes with a sieve,
but no pebble shall fall to the earth.
10 All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword,
who say, ‘Disaster shall not overtake or meet us.’
In the two years preceding the earthquake (around 750 B.C.) Amos warns kings of Israel and Judah of the consequences of their sin. He speaks against their surrounding kingdoms as well. The coming disasters are the judgment of the Lord. It will surely come.
Did it happen?
Look to the timeline of Prophets and you will see that it did. A century before Amos, Elijah and Elisha had challenged evil kings and queens like Ahab and Jezebel of the northern kingdom. By the close of the 7th century B.C. Israel would exist no more. Only Judah would survive; and that, only for a brief time.
Is there no hope?
“The Lord roars from Zion,” we hear not only from Amos, but also the prophet Joel in Judah. The destruction would seem to be both certain and complete.
And yet, the Lord always speaks hope to those who will listen to His true Prophets.
11 “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild it as in the days of old…
A booth is a temporary shelter, rather than the golden palatial place of worship built by Solomon. Here the Lord promises repair after punishment. Yet from the house of David generations will pass, hundreds of years until the promised king is born into a manger in a captive Judea.
14 I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel,
and they shall rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them;
they shall plant vineyards and drink their wine,
and they shall make gardens and eat their fruit.
15 I will plant them on their land,
and they shall never again be uprooted
out of the land that I have given them,”
says the Lord your God.
Amos: His name means “Burden,” and he is called the prophet of righteousness. His home was at Tokea, a small town of Judea about twelve miles south of Jerusalem…
Generations, the voices of many prophets, centuries and even a time of silence would all pass before the coming of the Messiah and hope of Israel.
To be continued..
Until He comes