Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said,
“‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel must go into exile
away from his land.’”
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.
“You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
17 Therefore thus says the LORD:
“‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”
Amos is reinforcing his message to Israel by presenting the visions that the Lord gave him. The Lord uses vivid pictures to get our attention. This is one reason we read so many stories and illustrations in the Bible.
After hearing three of these visions, Amaziah rebels against the message and attempts to cause problems for Amos. But this only provides Amos with an opportunity to reassert a message of judgment from the third vision, which Amaziah did not intend. In the ultimate sense, no one can do anything against the truth but only for the truth.
I. Though Amos was called by God, he had to endure opposition (7:10-13).
A. This opposition came from religious people (7:10a).
1. “Great pretenders to sanctity are commonly the worst enemies to those who are really sanctified.” [Henry] Think of what happened to Paul at Ephesus (Ac 19:23ff).
2. There are numerous examples of this point: the Lord Jesus was opposed by the priests, law experts and the Pharisees, Jeremiah was opposed by the religious leaders of his day, and Luther was opposed by the Roman Catholic hierarchy.
B. Amos was misrepresented (7:10-12).
1. His mission was misrepresented (7:10b). Amos was accused of treason. The same thing happened to Jeremiah (Jer 26:11; 37:11-15; 38:1-6).
Apply: Our loyalty to Christ may come in conflict with lesser loyalties. Are we ready to choose the Lord Jesus first? Lk 14:25-27
2. His message was misrepresented (7:11; cf. 7:9). It was incorrectly reported. Some things were left out. Lies were told claiming that he said things that he did not say. This could arouse the anger of Jeroboam II against Amos, or it might at least make Amos afraid of what Jeroboam II might do.
Illustration: Nimzovich’s remark about Alekhine’s cigar—“The threat is stronger than its execution.”
3. His motives were misrepresented (7:12b). Amaziah insinuated that Amos was only “in the prophet business” for money.
C. Amos was rejected (7:13).
1. He was threatened. “Never again prophesy at Bethel.” [NKJV]
Comment: Wicked people are glad to put a great distance between them and God’s word. Anytime people begin to slide away from the Bible they are in serious spiritual problems.
2. Underlying the threat was their rebellious way of life. Bethel had not been chosen by God. Jerusalem was his old covenant city! Amaziah was right that it was “the king’s sanctuary, because it wasn’t God’s!
II. Though Amos was opposed, his call from God steadied him during this time of opposition (7:14-15). Cf. Paul (1 Cor 9:16) and Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-10)
A. The knowledge of God’s call provided stability against insinuations about his ministry (7:14).
1. “You’re in it for the money.” Think about how Spurgeon countered this. “Ignorant beings they must be if they look for wealth in connection with the Baptist ministry.” What Amaziah is doing is evaluating Amos according to his own motives. He couldn’t conceive that Amos would serve God out of love for God and his people.
2. Amos counters that he had left two trades by which he was able to support himself. “I’m not doing this because I needed work.” God’s call motivated him.
B. It provided stability as he proclaimed the message (7:15). “But the Lord took me.” He was in God’s control and had to act accordingly.
1. He hadn’t invented the message. It came from God. So he had to prophesy (cf. Jer 20:9; 1 Cor 9:16).
2. God also told Amos where to prophesy. Amaziah was not his boss.
Comment: Biblically based churches recognize this principle. The Lord calls men into the ministry, and they minister where he wants them. Local churches support their pastors financially, but that doesn’t make the pastor the employee or the CEO of the church.
III. His call for God was the reason for his prophesying (7:16-17). Because of this call…
A. He would make the correct choice about whom to obey. “Now then, hear the word of the Lord….”
1. Should we obey God or man? Consider Ac 5:27-29.
2. Should a man disobey the Lord because people do not like what he says?
Illustration: Would you want your child to disobey you because his or her friends didn’t like your commands to your child?
B. He would deliver a message that was not “likeable” or “appealing” to human ears.
1. Since Amaziah opposed Amos, God had Amos deliver a very distasteful message to the priest of Bethel. Amos also reasserts what was the truth from Amaziah’s charge against Amos (7:11). Israel would go into captivity!
Apply: Stopping the mouths of God’s ministers will not stop the progress of God’s word, for it shall not return void.” [Henry]
2. Since we still sin, there will be times when the word of God will denounce our sins. Then we must listen in humility.
Apply: How do you respond to God’s word, especially when you don’t “like” or appreciate what you are hearing? Do you ask God for grace to continue to listen and then to believe and obey? Or do you strive to eliminate the unpleasant message from your thoughts?
Pastor Dave Frampton
When push comes to shove there is usually nothing more satisfying than for a saint of God to have at his or her disposal a source of biblically sound instruction in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The faithful and spiritually profitable labors of Dave Frampton are here at CMC to be a blessing. Bible teacher and student alike will profit much from his labor in the God’s Word. Visit Newtown Square Baptist Church.