The Sovereign Lord showed me a vision … the chapters open and Amos shares what he saw. And I notice an intimacy between Amos and the Lord. The Lord shows him things. The Lord speaks to him and with him, “Amos, what do you see?”
12 Then Amaziah sent orders to Amos: “Get out of here, you prophet! Go on back to the land of Judah, and earn your living by prophesying there! 13 Don’t bother us with your prophecies here in Bethel. This is the king’s sanctuary and the national place of worship!”
14 But Amos replied, “I’m not a professional prophet, and I was never trained to be one. I’m just a shepherd, and I take care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’ 16 Now then, listen to this message from the Lord …” (Amos 7:12-16, NLT)
Amos was just a regular guy, going to work, but the Lord called him with a special job, with a word that others didn’t want to hear. They told him, “Get out. Don’t bother us. This is not the place for that.”
I get an insight into the minds of Jesus’s followers, his disciples.
12 Then the disciples came to him and asked, “Do you realize you offended the Pharisees by what you just said?” (Matthew 15:12, NLT)
Or regarding the Gentile woman …
23 But Jesus gave her no reply, not even a word. Then his disciples urged him to send her away. “Tell her to go away,” they said. “She is bothering us with all her begging.”
24 Then Jesus said to the woman, “I was sent only to help God’s lost sheep—the people of Israel.”
(… I imagine Jesus taking the stance the disciples would have at this time … sorry, you’re not one of us, no blessing for you, no time for you … did they see themselves in this interaction?)
25 But she came and worshiped him, pleading again, “Lord, help me!”
26 Jesus responded, “It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
( … We are the children, and you aren’t. You’re not worthy …)
27 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even dogs are allowed to eat the scraps that fall beneath their masters’ table.”
28 “Dear woman,” Jesus said to her, “your faith is great. Your request is granted.” And her daughter was instantly healed. (Matthew 15:23-28, NLT, emphasis added)
The message behind the words Jesus speaks seems to demonstrate the attitudes the disciples felt. They were bothered by her. She was not one of them. She wasn’t worthy. “Make her go away.”
When Jesus walked this earth, he spoke honestly into situations, made people uncomfortable, offended, but spoke the truth. He showed his followers how to be merciful and honest, how to heal and feed. His words still exhort.
I was at the county fair the other day with my youngest. We were on our way to see the chicken exhibit. We walked past a woman who was leaving her booth, and I stopped to chat her briefly. We talked on a superficial topic when suddenly she looked at me and spoke purposefully, and her words filled my every space of my heart.
“God had us meet today on purpose,” she said as we shook hands and parted. And I left feeling encouraged and strong and relieved. I was refreshed by her honesty and bravery to speak a truth to me, a stranger.
Lord, you called Amos from his job with a word and a task, and he was obedient. I am grateful for truth. I am grateful for people who are brave and obedient. Thank you, Lord, for your word and your example and your great love.