God’s Messenger Amos 7

The starting point for our story this week is when Amos gets the sack.

12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. 13 Don’t prophesy any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”

The messages of judgment God gave Amos to deliver were not well-received. Like many of the prophets, Amos was not popular – he was rejected. But we can learn from Amos’s response to this rejection what it means to be, God’s messenger. This applies particularly to prophets, Christians whose spiritual gifts include listening to God and receive specific messages to deliver to the church or to the world. It also applies to Ministers, Missionaries and those who are called to full time Christian ministry and service. But the message is also for every Christian – because we are all called to share the good news of Jesus with a lost world. Amos teaches us about what it means to be God’s messenger. He teaches us about the message God gives us, and the kind of response we can expect as well.

14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, `Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Amaziah tries to “sack” Amos. “Earn your bread there” – go be a prophet over there!” But he can’t! Being a prophet is not a profession, like being a priest was. Amaziah got the prestigious job of priest at Bethel passed down from his father and grandfather. But Amos says “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son”.

Being a prophet is not a job but a calling – 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, `Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

Amos wasn’t told by his careers officer at school to be a prophet – he was cut out to be a shepherd. He didn’t answer an ad in the jobs pages, “Prophet of God wanted – no previous experience necessary.”
Amos became a prophet because God gave him a message to deliver and told him to deliver it! A prophet doesn’t choose his audience or his message. That was Amos’s reply to Amaziah. You can’t sack me! I don’t work for you! I work for God!

Prophets, those who listen to God and receive a specific message to deliver to church or world.

We thought a long time ago about listening to God and recognising His voice and delivering his message – possibly the most important of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the gift of prophecy. Eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, the inspiration to deliver God’s messages. We need to learn to listen to God more. But then we mustn’t be afraid of sharing what God has said to us. The right to speak comes from being sent by God! But this passage speaks not just to those Christians with the spiritual gift of prophecy, but to others who are called to be God’s messengers as well.

Ministers and Missionaries and everyone who is called to full time Christian ministry.

Being a Minister or a Missionary is NOT a job. It’s not a profession. It doesn’t have set hours, or career progression.
Christian Ministry is a vocation. It is a CALLING.

Ephesians 4:11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

The task of prophets and evangelists and pastor-teachers is to prepare God’s people for works of service, To equip and enable and encourage everyone in the church to play their own part, so that all together the church can be built up to true Christian maturity. As such being a minister or a missionary had not got very much to do with training and experience, and everything to do with being called by God and inspired by the Holy Spirit! Don’t get me wrong – training and experience are important. I am sometimes surprised by how little regard is given to training in church life. Somebody would be very foolish to think he could become a solicitor just by watching a few episodes of Perry Mason or LA Law or Ally McBeal or Boston Legal. Training is valuable and essential. But training only equips us to avoid making some of the more obvious mistakes. Training and qualifications and experience alone do not make a good Minister or Missionary. It’s all about the call of God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We must always rely on God and not on our training or our experience!

And being called by God gives us something which training and experience will never do. Being called by God gives Ministers and Missionaries the right to speak. Our right to speak comes from being sent by God! And it is to God that we are answerable. Not the church – but God. Because it is GOD that we work for!

But then I need to be clear that in these things Ministers and Missionaries are no different from every other Christian. Because

Every Christian is called to share the good news of Jesus with a lost world.

Sharing the gospel isn’t just a specific job for specific Christians – it’s God’s command to ALL Christians. We are all called and equipped by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ, to tell other people what God has done in our lives.

Matthew 28:18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

John 20:21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

Again, it’s NOT about training or experience. Some Christians think they couldn’t possible talk to their friends about Jesus Christ because they haven’t ever done so before, they haven’t been trained in evangelism! That’s no excuse!! We speak because God tells us to!

2 Corinth 4: 13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak,
We speak because we have faith and our faith constrains us to speak about the wonderful things God has done for us in Christ!

Sometimes we can feel we don’t have any right to speak about Jesus. People may even say to us, that we don’t have the right to thrust our views on others! But the right to speak comes from being sent by God! Other people have no right to stop us from sharing the Gospel with them. Remember what happened in Acts 4 when Peter and John were brought before the Jewish Council the Sanhedrin because they had been preaching about Jesus and the resurrection.
Acts 4:18 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Ministers or every other Christian. Nobody can give you the sack from being God’s messenger! It is what GOD commands us to do!

Prophets are Christians who listen to God and receive a specific message to deliver to the church or to the world.

Sometimes encouraging, sometimes challenging! Amos brought many terrifying messages. In this chapter alone, we have warnings about plague of locusts, destruction by fire, picture of a “plumb line” which reminds us powerfully that our God is a holy God who demands righteousness and justice and holiness from his chosen people.
7 This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb-line in his hand. 8 And the LORD asked me, “What do you see, Amos?” “A plumb-line,” I replied. Then the Lord said, “Look, I am setting a plumb-line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer. 9 “The high places of Isaac will be destroyed and the sanctuaries of Israel will be ruined; with my sword I will rise against the house of Jeroboam.”

The important thing is to find our what message God wants us to deliver – and then to proclaim it fearlessly.

This is true for Ministers and Missionaries. Our task is to proclaim God’s message. It is not to entertain people. We are in God’s business, not show business! Of course we should never keep people out of the Kingdom through boredom. But neither should we pander to people’s wishes by only telling them what they want to hear. Amos certainly didn’t do that!! And Ministers must not compromise their message either.

2 Timothy 4:1 ¶ In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: 2 Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction. 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. 5 But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.

The world is full of people who just want to be entertained. They don’t want the words of eternal life. They don’t want the truth which will set them free. But that is what God calls us to proclaim. No watering down. No compromise.
In this consumer culture, and especially with young people and those outside the church, there is the constant pressure to be entertaining. We are scared that if we aren’t entertaining enough then people will go elsewhere. Resist that temptation. Ignore the itching ears. Preach the Word!

Every Christian – because we are all called to share the good news of Jesus with a lost world.

We have a gospel to proclaim. The wonderful Good News of God becoming man, and dying on the cross to save us, and rising from the dead to share His resurrection life with us. We have a message of forgiveness and reconciliation and new life. We must be as courageous as Amos to preach the gospel by our words and our actions to everybody. And that includes even rich and famous and important people. Amos delivered his message to all the people, priests and even the Kings, not just the ordinary people. We are called to reach out to ALL people, not to show favouritism but preaching to ALL! They ALL need Christ! Because the dire warnings of judgement and destruction we find in the book of Amos are only a shadow of the destiny which awaits those who do NOT find forgiveness and new life in Christ. If we do NOT speak – others will perish because of our silence.

And we have the right to preach the gospel not only because God has sent us, but because our message is true. We do indeed have the words which give eternal life.


The message will not always be popular! The message Amos brought certainly wasn’t – he got into big trouble! Most of the prophets did! Anybody who faithfully proclaims God’s message is asking for trouble!

Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

This goes for Prophets, those who listen to God and receive a specific message to deliver to church or world.

It also applies to Ministers and Missionaries and all who are called to full time Christian ministry.

Sometimes God’s message will not be popular. Sometimes it will land us in big trouble. Sometimes with the Kings and bigwigs, the headteachers and RE specialists. Sometimes we’ll be in trouble with other religious people – other churches, maybe even with our own church! This shouldn’t surprise us. It was Spurgeon who said, “The gospel not only comforts us in our afflictions but also afflicts us in our comforts.”

The challenge for us is to be certain to find out from God what He wants us to be saying. Then we must be brave as the prophets of old and deliver God’s message. And as long as we are being faithful and proclaiming God’s Word boldly, we can leave God to worry about the consequences.

And this goes for Every Christian – because we are all called to share the good news of Jesus with a lost world.

Not everybody we share our faith with will immediately be gloriously saved! Many will reject us. Or insult us. Or ignore us. But if we are too scared to share the gospel with our friends because we think they might reject us, a lot less of those friends will be with us in heaven! And that will be sad! We have all been entrusted with the gospel to proclaim. God has sent us. Nobody can shut us up!
14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the LORD took me from tending the flock and said to me, `Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’

You can’t sack me. I don’t work for you. I work for God!

This entry was posted in Amos.

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