Short Bible Study

Pastor’s Bible Study, Amos Chapter 7

April 29, 2019

Amos 7:1-3                 The Vision of Locusts

The locusts consumed the second growth after the ‘king’s mowings.’ There were two harvests. The first harvest was paid as a tax to support the king and government. The second harvest fed the population. There would be nothing for the people to eat.

How can Jacob survive? Seeing this vision of devastation, Amos was moved to pray for his people. How would the nation survive such a calamity “for he is small”? While the nation’s leaders were puffed up with self-confidence, Amos saw that the nation was small, weak, insignificant} and not able to endure such a challenge.

The Lord relented. In response to the prayer of Amos, the Lord determined that He would not exercise judgment by the means shown in this vision. There would be a second harvest.

Amos 7:4-6                 The Vision of Fire

The fire of Amos’ vision, would devour a portion of ‘the great deep.’ This phrase often refers to a sea, or large body of water As used here, ‘fire’ may refer to a severe drought, accompanied by high risk of wild fires, and drastic depletion of water sources. Such a scenario could devastate the nation’s food supply as much or more than a locust plague.

How can Jacob survive? Again Amos was moved to intercede for his people.

The Lord relented. The Lord promised to withhold this form of judgment. There would be rain, not fire.

These first two visions show that the LORD is merciful. It was His tender concern for His people which was expressed in the prayer of His prophet Amos. The LORD has no desire to crush His people. He wants them to have life and life more abundantly. Judgment is His ‘strange work’ Isa 28:21, where two different words are used for ‘strange,’ one meaning ‘loathsome,’ the other ‘alien or foreign’). Therefore, He pled with His people to turn to Him  To refuse such grace and love is to be hopelessly lost, for like Israel, every one of us is small, and unable to stand before His righteous wrath

Amos 7:7-9                 The Vision of  the Plumbline

A plumbline, consisting of a weight hanging on a string, is an absolute standard by which a wall can be built straight and true. ‘I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people.’ The Lord was going to judge His people by His true standard of righteousness.

‘I will spare them no longer.’ The Lord had given His people many opportunities to repent of sin and to turn to Him. He had repeatedly withheld the judgment that they deserved. He would no longer put aside the execution of judgment.

This judgment would destroy the high places of Israel, the centers of Israel’s false religion would become deserted ruins. Having been assured that God’s judgment is just, Amos does not pray for greater mercy.

Amos 7:10-11 Opposition from Amaziah

The remainder of ch.7 is a historical account of opposition to Amos and his message. Amaziah was a priest of the false religion established by Jeroboam I, in Bethel

He did not belong to the Levitical order established by God, but rather, he was appointed by man. The report which Amaziah made to Jeroboam II was only partly true. Amos had not conspired against the king. He had simply delivered God’s message of impending judgment. Amos had not said that Jeroboam would die by the sword. But he did say that his kingdom and the centers of false worship would be destroyed, and the population would be taken captive.
In fact, Jeroboam died prior to the Assyrian captivity, and was succeeded by his son, Zachariah.  Zachariah was slain by the sword, when Shallum conspired against him and assumed the throne, fulfilling Amos’ prophecy that Jeroboam’s house would end by the sword. After Shallum, several other kings arose (none in Jeroboam’s line), most by assassination of the previous king, until the kingdom was terminated by the Assyrians, roughly 50 years after Amos spoke.

Amos 7:12-13             Get Out of the King’s Church

Amaziah insulted Amos and sought to intimidate him. He called him a ‘seer’ (a prophet), but denied that he spoke for God. He said Amos and his message were not fit for the king’s chapel. He was not refined. His message undermined the confidence of the people in their rulers, and upset the sensitivities of the noblemen and ladies. He told Amos to go back to where he came from. Perhaps he could earn his keep as a prophet, in Judah, if the people there were willing to hear him. But he was out of his element in Bethel.

Amos 7:14-15              Not a Prophet nor the son of a Prophet

Amos’ response was humble. Amos did not claim the office of prophet. He had not been prepared to be a prophet, either through apprenticeship to his father, or by formal schooling. He was a simple herdman and a gatherer of sycamore fruit. His work changed with the seasons. In short, he had no credentials with which to impress the elite political and religious rulers.

He was also Confident. He knew that the Lord had called and commissioned him with a message for Israel. For that reason, he had left his home in Judah in obedience to the Lord’s command. Although Amos does not say so, he himself was a plumbline of righteousness, by which the LORD was testing the rebellious leaders of Israel.

Amos 7:16-17                         Personal Prophecy

Amaziah was judged for commanding the Lord’s servant to stop proclaiming God’s Word. Of course, Amaziah did not recognize it as God’s Word, but as unnecessary and annoying noise, like water dripping. Therefore, the Word of the Lord, was directed specifically to Amaziah, so he could not miss it. Amaziah would be taken into captivity where he would die. His children would be slain. His desolate wife would become a harlot to survive. His confiscated properties would be surveyed by new owners. His nation would go into captivity.

The prophecy, though it seems like a particular punishment is declared for Amaziah, and his poor family, is a specific of the case of what threatens the whole Kingdom of Samaria. It was these dangers that the king, whom Amaziah so strongly defends, was supposed to protect against.