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Chapter  7

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ch.7:1-10  ch. 7:10-17

Locusts, Fire And A Plumb Line (ch. 7:1 - 17)


Here in verse 7, verse 1, we note that the Sovereign Lord showed Amos a vision.  Note the word "Sovereign".  You see this word associated with God and the Lord all the way through most of the Old Testament prophets.  It simply means that God is the supreme authority over all that there is, and He will do what He wants to do, and no one will change his mind.  That being said, we note here that Amos does change the mind of God.  This only happens a few times in the Bible, so we cannot suggest that we as mere humans can change God's mind on a whim.  You and I will never be able to change God's mind when it comes to judging a nation, or so I think.


There appears to be some textual difficulties with translating verse one and other parts of this chapter.  The NIV reads, "He was preparing swarms of locusts after the king's share had been harvested and just as the second crop was coming".  The NIV suggests that a devastating swarm of locust would attack the crops of the king.  The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, written a few centuries B. C., says it differently.  Part of verse 1 reads, "one of the devastating locust was gog the king".  If the Septuagint was right, we see the word "gog" here which we know of from other parts of the Bible, like Ezekiel 38.  The point then would be that this swarm of locust whether real or symbolic is demonic, and the Lord uses these demons to judge Israel. This should lead us to consider that the Lord uses the devil in judging nations.  Therefore, I suggest that there might well be more demonic activity behind national affairs than what we might think.  This just makes me think that being human means we have very little clue of what is really happening in the spiritual world around us. 


In verses 2 and 3 we see these locust destroyed the land and so Amos pleads with the Lord since Israel is so small.  Note that Amos starts his intercession with the word "forgive".  Amos is asking for forgiveness by God, and here is where God changes His mind.  The vision of the swarm of locust will not take place.  God relented, as the NIV puts it.  He changed His mind.


This is just a thought, and I'm not saying it's right.  If the Septuagint is right when suggesting that the head locust is "gog the king", and when we see god in Ezekiel 38, this might suggest that God simply put this judgment off to the end of this age.  He might not have relented from this judgment for good.  This would apply to the next judgments as well that He relents of. 


Another vision takes place in verse 4 to 6. This judgment came with fire and burnt the land and the water in Israel.  Again, Amos begged God not to send this judgment and once again, God changed his mind.


The third vision goes from verses 7 to 13.  God does not change His mind when it comes to this vision.  He sets a plumb-line down, as if to say, "cross this line, and you are history".  That was exactly the case.  Israel crossed the line and they were judged and destroyed by the Assyrians.


Another way to view this plumb-line is that the whole of Israeli society is crooked.  Plumb-lines are used in the construction process to make things straight. God was placing His plumb-line down and showing how crooked the northern kingdom was. 


Notice in verse 9 that the Jewish sanctuaries will be destroyed.  These places of worship had become places of pagan worship.  I believe that God is now destroying many of the Christian sanctuaries today.  Many Christian churches can no longer exist for many reasons  and their buildings are being sold or demolished. 


Notice the words "my sword" in verse 9.  Israel was overthrown by the swords of the Assyrians, although here in verse 9 God uses the words "my sword".  As is often the case, God will use secular and pagan nations to bring judgment on His people.  Therefore, the pagan swords are seen in the eyes of God as being His swords since they are used to fulfill His purpose.


This sword of the Lord is against the "house of Jeroboam".  He was the king of the northern kingdom.


Amos And Amaziah (ch. 7:10 - 17)


The message of a prophet isn't usually well accepted by people, whether religious or non religious.  In this section there is a priest in Bethel named Amaziah that is quite upset with Amos.  Obviously he doesn't like the message Amos is preaching so he devises a plan to get rid of Amos.


In verse 10 Amaziah tells king Jeroboam that Amos is mounting a conspiracy against Israel.  Of course Amos is preaching the destruction of Israel so you can see how Amaziah could use Amos' words against him.  I'm sure Amaziah understood what Amos was preaching.  He just didn't like it because Amos was preaching against him and the Jewish religious practices of the day.  The charge against Amos could easily be the charge of Christians in the future in the western world because what we preach more and more goes against the general consensus of the state.   The Jews used the same thinking against Jesus when they told the Roman authorities that Jesus claimed to be their king.  They used the same thinking and charges against the apostle Paul and other early New Testament Christians.  It's just one of many plans the devil implements against God's people.  


In verse 11 Amaziah tells Jeroboam that Amos says Israel will go into exile and that Jeroboam will die by the sword.  Amaziah knew that such talk wouldn't sit well with the leader of Israel, but for that reason Amaziah spoke these things to Jeroboam.  You might call Amos' words treason against the state.


In verse 12 Amaziah basically tells Amos to get lost.  Go back home and prophesy there.  A real prophet of God isn't well liked.  He is viewed as a doom and gloom preacher.  He is seen as being way to negative, and no one, especially these days, wants to hear a negative word.


In verse 13 Amaziah tells Amos not to prophesy in Bethel because this is the home of the kings sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.  Note the temple belongs to the kingdom and not the Lord.  Note also that the state, the king, takes preeminence over the Lord and His prophet.  It's not much different today.


We learn something about Amos in verses 14 and 15.  Amos responds to Amaziah by saying that he was not a prophet or even the son of a prophet.  The point here is that Amos wasn't a full time man of religion.  He wasn't a priest, prophet, or anything like that.  He was a owner of flocks and fig trees.  He didn't ask to be a prophet.  God just picked him to speak His word.  Amos, like the apostle Paul, felt that he had no choice in the matter.  He was compelled to speak the Word of the Lord.


From verse 16 to the end of this chapter, Amos prophesies some very negative things against Amaziah.   Amaziah's wife will become a prostitute, his sons and daughters will die by the sword, Israel will be divided, Amaziah will die, and Israel will go into exile away from their native land.  Note the words "their native land'.  God promised this land to Abraham centuries prior to this and this generation of Jews were about to lose the promise of God.


This is a very personal prophecy directed towards Amaziah.  I believe that personal prophecies are still valid today in New Testament times, although there seem to be more false personal prophecies than true ones. 


Note that the nature of God's judgment against Amaziah concerned the things he would have held close to his heart; his wife; his children, and even himself.   When God judges, His judgment is severe.  All that Amos prophesied to Amaziah came true. 


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