Amos did not ask to be a prophet, especially a prophet to neighboring Israel. “I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’” (Amos 7:14-15). God said go, Amos obeyed, and the people of Israel should have listened, but they refused, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel” (Amos 7:12-13). Israel should be careful what she asks for.
My dad could lecture, “I’ve talked to you and talked to you.” We knew we had more time. Dad could talk; truly an artist at work. “I’ve talked to you and talked to you until I’m blue in the face.” This was the high point of the lecture. He really did turn blue. Still, no worries, as long as he kept talking. “I’ve talked to you and talked to you until I’m blue in the face, and now I’m done talking to you.” Uh oh.
God had talked and talked to Israel. Amos cries, “Thus says the Lord,” eight times in the first two chapters (Amos 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 13; 2:1, 4, 6). Each of the next three chapters begins with God speaking to Israel, “Hear this word.” Israel did not. She will wish she had. If you stop listening to God, it is bad, but if God stops talking to you, it is over. “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land–not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (Amos 8:11). God was done talking. “They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it” (Amos 8:12).
As long as Dad was talking, he was still trying to straighten us out. There was still hope. When the talking stopped, hope vanished. Then came judgment.
Lord God, thank You for Your Word. It guides me in life, leading me down the right path.
Too often, though, it may appear that I’m not listening to You. Probably because I’m not. I take You for granted, or I follow some silly notion that I have a better idea about life than You do. Please, God, do not give up on me. Thank You for Your patience and endurance. I need Your Word. Keep speaking, and I will develop the heart of Your Son, who said He does not live by bread alone, but by every Word You speak.