10 Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel; the land is unable to endure all his words. 11 “For thus Amos says, ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’ ” 12 Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Go, you seer, flee away to the land of Judah and there eat bread and there do your prophesying! 13 “But no longer prophesy at Bethel, for it is a sanctuary of the king and a royal residence.” 14 Then Amos replied to Amaziah, “I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs. 15 “But the LORD took me from following the flock and the LORD said to me, ‘Go prophesy to My people Israel.’ 16 “Now hear the word of the LORD: you are saying, ‘You shall not prophesy against Israel nor shall you speak against the house of Isaac.’ 17 “Therefore, thus says the LORD, ‘Your wife will become a harlot in the city, your sons and your daughters will fall by the sword, your land will be parceled up by a measuring line and you yourself will die upon unclean soil. Moreover, Israel will certainly go from its land into exile.’ ”
Again, Amos is ridiculed for what he is sharing and told to leave from where he is sharing God’s message. As we reflect upon this reaction, I realize that we do the very same thing in our reading of the bible. To be honest, it has been quite uncomfortable for me to read these last 7 chapters. This kind of reading from the bible makes most of us uncomfortable, which is why we rarely study these parts of it. Nobody really likes to hear about the judgment of God against His children for disobedience and sinfulness. But what do we see happen to Amaziah? He receives an additional punishment for trying to silence the Word of God. Jesus repeats this principle in John 12 when talking to His disciples about the validity of His words:
47 "If anyone hears My sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world. 48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. 49 "For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. 50 "I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me."
Amos’ response is simply more information from God. He says plainly, “look, I’m no special prophet or anything, I was just sent by God to share this message.” Just because someone doesn’t want to hear what God has to say, it doesn’t mean that it is any less true or it won’t happen. There tends to be a misconception about God (which is a result of us limiting our sight to the physical realm) that if we ignore God, He goes away. Even those of us who believe have this tendency to only listen to the parts of what God says that we agree with and prefer. If you walk away from someone who is talking, does it mean they are no longer speaking? If you decide to stop reading a book, does it mean what is written inside it goes away or is no longer true? It seems silly to say it this way, but this is how we act!
We’ve developed a Christian culture that ignores the messages in the Old Testament because we think it is irrelevant or “just a history book.” The truth is, as we have seen so far in Amos, that mankind is still rebellious, sinful, and struggling with the same things today that Israel struggled with thousands of years ago. The entire Old Testament contains the foundational building blocks of the importance of the New Testament. Without having what happened in the Old Testament, there wouldn’t be a reason for the New! Furthermore, when Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” He didn’t say, “After I am crucified, ignore all of the old scriptures.”
Jesus continues to proclaim His truth to us, the question is, are we going to listen even if we don’t like it?