“The Sovereign Lord was calling for judgment by fire; it dried up the great deep and devoured the land. Then I cried out, “Sovereign Lord, I beg you to stop! How can Jacob survive? He is so small!” (Amos 7:4)
There is so much going on in the world today, and so many things happening in the nation I live in that are causing division, turmoil, and resulting in evil. All of these things must grieve God’s heart, and at the same time, He is just to allow our own sins to reap their consequences.
This chapter of the Bible tells me a lot about the prophet Amos and how God used him. Here we see God giving Amos visions of how He was to punish Israel for their sin, whether by way of locusts or judgment by fire. In reading Amos’s reaction, God convicted me that one area I need to improve in my prayer life, is praying for my nation and our leaders.
We immediately see in both instances that Amos immediately cries out to God, praying and petitioning on behalf of Israel for the Lord’s mercy. Further we see that Amos is persecuted and his detractors harass him for giving such prophecies of judgment, notably Amaziah the priest of Bethel.
Yet Amos stands firm and replies, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'” (Amos 7:14-15)
Amos was a man of prayer, faith, and humility. He fixed His eyes on the Lord, opened his heart to hear Him and be used by Him, and followed in obedience despite the opposition. He also had great concern for His nation and its people, and because of that, was willing to deliver difficult message after difficult message regarding sin, judgment, and repentance. God chose to use him not based on his status, education, qualifications, or position, but because he was truly a man of God.
Do you have a heart, not only for your friends, family, and immediate community, but for your people, your nation, and your country at large? I pray that God would expand my care and concern in this area, and that through this He would expand His reach through me for the gospel of Jesus- just as He did with a man like Amos!
[From February 14, 2019]