by Pastor David Groendyk
Amos 7 begins the final section of this book. In this section are a few different visions of Israel’s coming destruction. The first half of today’s chapter describes three distinct visions that God gives Amos. It’s interesting to see that God actually relents from Judgment #1 (locusts in vv. 1–3) and Judgment #2 (fire in vv. 4–6). But Judgment #3 is firm and fixed; it will surely happen (vv. 7–9). Amos sees a wall and the Lord holding a plumb line beside it. A plumb line was a sort of measuring tool and/or level. Initially, the wall had been built level and straight, but it was now crooked, unfixable, and doesn’t measure up to the way it once was. Israel has become crooked, the builder knows it, and the wall will be torn down. Destruction is the right response to sin, and it is inevitable. Though God may relent and be patient, some sort of punishment must come for sin.
Notice the contrast between Amaziah and Amos when they hear about the coming judgment. Amaziah, concerned only with his political allegiance to Jeroboam, refuses to listen and wants to have Amos killed for preaching a harsh message. Amaziah spins the message to sound like an assassination conspiracy in order to evoke the response he wanted from the king (vv. 10–11). Amaziah also accuses Amos of prophesying merely for the sake of making a living (vv. 12–13). This tragic response from Amaziah ends with his own family personally becoming a picture of what will happen to the whole country (v. 17). When God decrees, no human being has the right to question him or say, “What are you doing?” Everything God does is just, righteous, and holy.
Amos, on the other hand, stands firm and asserts that he is no “career prophet” looking to earn a living. He prophesies the Word of God alone (vv. 14–15), not to make a profit or out of selfish ambition but simply because it is the truth and God has called him to do so. No matter how hard the truth is to hear, we must hear it, including the call to repent. May God give each one of us a passion for his Word and his truth, even the convicting and challenging parts.
Amos also responds with great humility before God when he reveals the coming judgment. Notice that twice he says, “How can Jacob stand? He is so small!” (vv. 2, 5). Standing in the presence of the Almighty Maker and Creator (see Amos 4:12–13), Amos knows the place of sinful humanity. We are small. This needs to be our posture before God. May God give each one of us a right picture of ourselves as we stand before him.
Notice also that Amos acts as an intermediary and intercessor. He pleads on behalf of Israel for God to forgive his people and relent from his judgment, and God listens (vv. 2–3, 5–6)! It reminds me very much of Moses in the golden calf episode in Exodus 32–34. But, of course, this should be an even greater reminder of our perfect intermediary and intercessor. Jesus Christ pleads to God on our behalf to relent from pouring out his wrath on us. He does so because his own blood has been shed on our behalf! The inevitable destruction that must come for sin has already come upon Christ for you. The pleading that Christ does is perfectly effectual and sure. Because he pleads for you, you have no reason to fear God’s wrath. Even as you know your sin today, remember Christ’s sacrifice and sing this hymn:
Arise, my soul, arise, shake off your guilty fears:
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my Surety stands,
My name is written on his hands.
He ever lives above for me to intercede,
His all-redeeming love, his precious blood to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.
Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers, they strongly plead for me.
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”
My God is reconciled; his pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear;
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father!” cry.