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Daily Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, July 9, 2022  

Today’s Scripture Reading  |  Amos 7:7–17

This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

“See, I am setting a plumb line
    in the midst of my people Israel;
    I will spare them no longer;
the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,
    and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,
    and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”

Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said,

‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
    and Israel must go into exile
    away from his land.’ ”

And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

Then Amos answered Amaziah, “I am no prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I am a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore trees, and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

“Now therefore hear the word of the Lord.
You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
Therefore thus says the Lord:
Your wife shall become a prostitute in the city,
and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
and your land shall be parceled out by line;
you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
    and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.” (NRSV)

Reflection
People have felt compelled or called to say many things for many years, and since biblical times it appears that the challenge has been to say the right thing to the right people at the right time for the right reason. Additionally, the social status and background of who is speaking has always been a major factor in who gets to speak and, perhaps more importantly, to whom we listen.

The prophecy given to Amos to share with Jeroboam and Israel is grim. Furthermore, he is very aware that his unimpressive credentials make him an unlikely prophet. Nevertheless, he follows through in delivering the message given to him. Yes, this is a long, dark, and disturbing passage offered for our consideration, but the central question remains the same for us as it was for Amos: “will we seek to understand what God is calling us to do, however big or small, and despite feeling ill-equipped for the task, will we step forward, in faith, to say or do what God calls us to share with others?”

Few of us can report that we believe that God has called us to share such a dire message with the leaders of today, but regardless of our backgrounds, each of us striving to live more deeply into Christ’s gospel is called to speak up, knowing that there’s never a wrong time to share God’s love with those we encounter in our daily lives.

Prayer
“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Amen. (Psalm 19:14)

Reflection written by John Marr, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Reflection and prayer © Fourth Presbyterian Church

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