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A Powerful Prophet - Amos 7:1-17

Amos  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  52:33
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Amos 7:1-17 A Powerful Prophet 2020-09-06 Work heartily unto the Lord, looking to him for reward Amos was an extra-ordinary man. An ordinary man, but one that God used mightily and in extraordinary ways. This morning as we study through this chapter, my hope is to encourage you and to challenge you in your trust of God and his ability to use you for his kingdom and purposes. I’d begin by asking if you believe that God can use you, as he used Amos. What, in your estimation, is the limiting factor? What is lacking? I’d suggest that if anyone had an excuse, it might have been Amos. He was called to stand against an influential priest and the king of a nation. Who was he for such a calling? 1 Corinthians 1:27–29 “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.” The counsel of the world is to not sell yourself short; that you are capable of greatness. I would counsel you to not sell God short; that he is great and can accomplish great things through you, to the praise of his glory. Passage: Amos 7:1-17 Powerful in Private Devotion (vv.1, 4, 7-9, 15) 1. vv.1, 4 “This is what the Lord GOD showed me…” - Here in chapter 7 we are into a new section of Amos, and from here to the end of the book we’ll come across 5 visions that Amos receives from the Lord. We’ll see 3 this morning, the fourth in chapter 8, and the fifth in chapter 9. 1. Visions are special revelations from God, where he shows individuals, through supernatural means, what they are to do or what he is about to accomplish. 2. Here we have 3 visions of judgment on Israel, where Amos get insight into what God is planning to do. The first vision is of locusts that would come and decimate the crops. The second is of fire that would consume the land and even devour the waters under the surface of the earth. 2. v.7 “This is what he showed me…” - The third vision is of the Lord standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, holding a plumb line in his hand. As the Lord is revealing this to Amos, he is showing him that Israel is out of kilter, no longer in line with the standard of righteousness the Lord had established, but tilted away. 3. In these visions there is interaction, communication, revelation and inquiry and response. Amos is a man devoted to the Lord 1. In Acts 9 a disciple named Ananias receives a vision from God concerning Saul, who was met by the Lord on his way to Damascus. The Lord tells Ananias that he is to go and lay hands on Saul. In Acts 10 Cornelius, a man described as a devout God-fearer, generous, and a prayer warrior, receives a vision about Peter coming to preach the gospel to him. Peter receives a vision while he is taking time to pray, seeing a sheet descending from heaven with all sorts of animals and learns that what God has made is not to be considered unclean. This was to prepare him for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles. In Luke 1 Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, received a vision when he was carrying out this service in the temple. 2. Reception of a vision isn’t based on a person’s devotion as qualifying them, but there’s no doubt that in several instances we’re given insight into the person’s private devotion. I believe such is the case here with Amos. Amos isn’t a perfect man, but he is a man devoted to the Lord, one who listens to and obeys the Lord. Even as we see further down in vv.14-15, he was a herdsman and farmer, but when the Lord called him he listened and obeyed. And the vision he receives leads him to prayer, which is our second point from the text this morning. Powerful in Pleading Prayer (vv.2, 5) 1. v.2 “O Lord GOD, please forgive!” 2. v.5 “O Lord GOD, please cease!” - Amos receives these visions of judgment and his response is to pray. His first instinct is to turn to the Lord, to seek God’s forgiveness and mercy, to ask that he might spare Israel. Notice Amos’ direction of prayer and his humility in prayer. His direction of prayer is to the Lord GOD. The NIV translates this as “Sovereign Lord.” His prayer is to the one, true, powerful God. Not just an empty and undirected cry, but a cry to Creator God, to the Lord of heaven and earth, to the one who knows all, sees all, sustains all, and directs all. Notice also, given the direction of his prayer, is his humility in prayer. There’s no air of entitlement, but an earnest seeking and pleading. 1. Joel 2:12–13 “‘Yet even now,’ declares the Lord, ‘return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.’ Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.” 2. The Lord invites us to seek him through prayer, and welcomes us when we do. This is a sure sign of a godly life, that the response to trouble or difficulty or bad news (or even good news) is to pray. I think this is why Paul can charge the Thessalonian church to, “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17), because every occasion is an occasion to pray. 3. Amos, this seemingly ordinary man, had an extraordinary ministry because of his fellowship with the Lord. His time in private devotion and prayer filled his mouth with words to speak, gave direction to where he should go, and empowered and emboldened him to stand for righteousness and justice, even when righteousness and justice were deserted and distorted at the highest levels of society. 4. Jonah 3:10 “When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.” 5. Jonah 4:2 “And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster.” Powerful in Persecution (vv.10-13) 1. v.10 “Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam…” - Amos has managed to ruffle feathers pretty high in society. Amaziah, likely the priest with the greatest influence in Israel, communicates to the king about Amos. He says Amos has conspired against the king, predicting the king’s death (which isn’t true compared to v.9). 1. Matthew 5:10–12 ““Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” 2. 1 Peter 4:12-19 “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.” 2. v.12 “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah…” - these words from Amaziah don’t come as a suggestion, but a command. Amaziah had the king on his side and the weight of the government behind him, and he is telling Amos to be quiet and to not show his face in Israel. What would Amos do? He does what the faithful throughout the ages have done - he obeys God! Powerful in Proclamation (vv.14-17) 1. v.14 “Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah…” - Please take note, when you are powerful in private devotion and pleading prayer, the threats of men aren’t as threatening and intimidating as they might hope to be. Amos focuses not on what Amaziah commands him, but what God had commanded him. This herdsman and farmer without formal prophetic training, stands up to the priest of Israel. 2. v.15 “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” - This is in sharp contrast to Amaziah’s words to Amos, to go and flee. This circles back to Amos being powerful in private devotion, that his private devotion was lived out in public. 1. Psalm 56 is a powerful psalm showing trust in God when the enemy rises in opposition. 2. Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.” 3. 2 Timothy 4:1-5 Preach the word! 3. vv.16-17 You have said, but this is what the Lord says. Amos doesn’t back down in the least. In fact, Amaziah receives an even stricter judgment because of his opposition to Amos (ultimately opposition to God). Conclusion: Will you act on what you’ve heard this morning, on what we’ve seen in God’s Word this morning? Will you devote yourself to the Lord, constant in prayer, steady in persecution, and regular in proclamation? Will you work heartily as unto the Lord - Colossians 3:23–24 “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.”
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