Feeling Unqualified?

Amos 7-9

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Saturday, April 15

“I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.  But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ (Amos 7:14-15)

 

God specializes in using ordinary people. Amos was the first prophet after the kingdom of Israel was divided by Jeroboam, preceding even Isaiah and Hosea.

Amos was just a shepherd (and a tree-tender).  He was hardly qualified to speak on behalf of the God of the universe.  But God had a job for him.  I think sometimes God calls those who seem ‘unqualified’ to do the most amazing work for him for three reasons.

  • They will give all the credit to Him.
  • They won’t question Him, assuming they know a better way.
  • They speak the language of the people and won’t talk over their heads.

Amaziah was the priest who should have been speaking God’s words.  He was the one “qualified” to be God’s prophet.  But when Amos goes to him, here’s what happens:

Amaziah says,

  ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
    and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’

Amos replies,

This is what the Lord says:

“Your wife will become a prostitute in the city,
    and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword.
Your land will be measured and divided up,
    and you yourself will die in a pagan country.
And Israel will surely go into exile,
    away from their native land.”

 

Did you get that?  The priest-boss says “Hey, knock it off. Quit saying bad stuff is going to happen” (Isn’t that a pretty common thing in the prophets?  People telling them to stop saying bad stuff was going to happen).  And Amos is like, “God says you’re all gonna die.  Mic drop.”

 

(Don’t think I don’t know that I’m too old and un-cool to use that phrase. But it fit, right?)

 

So whether you think you are qualified or not, keep your ears open for God’s call and your eyes open for His opportunity to speak truth and serve.

 

He’s got something for you!

 

-Susan Landry

 

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Because He Loves

Amos 4-6

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Friday, April 14

Words I hope I never hear from God:   “…yet you have not returned to me.”

“I gave you empty stomachs in every city
    and lack of bread in every town,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“I also withheld rain from you
    when the harvest was still three months away.
I sent rain on one town,
    but withheld it from another.
One field had rain;
    another had none and dried up.

People staggered from town to town for water
    but did not get enough to drink,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“Many times I struck your gardens and vineyards,
    destroying them with blight and mildew.
Locusts devoured your fig and olive trees,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“I sent plagues among you
    as I did to Egypt.
I killed your young men with the sword,
    along with your captured horses.
I filled your nostrils with the stench of your camps,
    yet you have not returned to me,”
declares the Lord.

“I overthrew some of you
    as I overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
You were like a burning stick snatched from the fire,
    yet you have not returned to me,”  (Amos 4:6-11)

 

All children are different, you know.  Some are brought to repentance with simply a stern look.  Others, you could beat them with a stick (not that you would, of course) and they would still dig their heels in.

 

I remember a mother in my Women’s Bible Study years ago pray every single week for wisdom for herself and her husband to be able to mold their daughter’s strong spirit into a passion for God instead of a selfish passion.  She prayed for this child to grow to be a force to be reckoned with on behalf of God’s Kingdom.  And you know what, that is exactly what happened.

 

I feel like that’s what we’re seeing in this passage.  Each stanza is a punishment.

I gave you empty stomachs … stern look

I withheld rain … time out

I sent plagues … swat

…you get the picture.

 

Yet time and again, they stubbornly ignore and refuse to return to God and obey.

 

As we learned yesterday, God disciplines us because he loves us.  Keep your eyes open today for God’s discipline in your life.  What is He doing to get our attention and call you back to Him?  Pray that when you see His discipline, that you have the courage to act on it.  And you will become a force to be reckoned with for His Kingdom.

-Susan Landry

 

 

Goody-Two-Shoes Gets It, Too

Amos 1-3

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Thursday, April 13

In a couple of days, we’ll dig in to just who Amos was and why he was writing.  But as we start reading his book, I’m wondering if the same thing that stood out to me also stands out to you.

The book begins with God giving Amos a list of places He’s about to bring judgement on.  My Bible labels this section “Judgement on Israel’s Neighbors”.  He goes through Damascus, Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab..and so on.

This scene reminds me of being in a class where the teacher is scolding some students for misbehavior.  The goody-two-shoes in the class is sitting there watching it unfold with a smug look on her face, watching her classmates get taken down a notch.  That’s Israel.

But then the teacher turns and points at her.  Miss Perfect herself.

Midway through chapter 2 we see God turn to Israel.  And through the end of chapter 3 He is telling her what for.

Interestingly, He says this:

“You only have I chosen
    of all the families of the earth;
therefore I will punish you
    for all your sins.”

That sounds contradictory, doesn’t it?  I’ve chosen you therefore I will punish you?

It reminds me of Hebrews 12 where we’re told that God disciplines those He loves.  Proverbs 3:12 speaks the same wisdom.

Come back tomorrow to see what else God has to say as he disciplines His chosen Israel.

-Susan Landry