Yahweh’s Shepherd / Farmer
July 15, 2023
Amos was a prophet around the same time as Isaiah, but unlike Isaiah, he wasn’t a trusted prophet of the king of Judah. He didn’t have any ‘clout’, and in fact, during this passage of Amos 7, a priest at the temple of Bethel is trying to kick him out! They don’t want to hear a doom and gloom message about the Lord’s judgment of Israel for their lifestyle of sin and idolatry. And so, this priest insults Amos in vs. 12, calling him a seer rather than a prophet, which basically means he isn’t ordained by the one true Lord. He tells Amos to go away and prophesy somewhere else, because they don’t want to hear it in the king’s sanctuary. But I love Amos’ response. He doesn’t try to defend himself by listing his credentials or trying to manufacture credibility based on their standards. Instead, he shares the simple fact of who he is, and who God called him to become. In vs. 14, he says, “I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was a herdsman, and a farmer of sycamore figs.” He was just a farmer, his ‘career’ wasn’t to share God’s Word for money, as were the huge group of ‘prophets’ employed by the king to tell him what he wanted to hear. He was just a simple farmer and shepherd. He then shares how God radically changed his path: “Yahweh took me from following the flock, and Yahweh said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.” Amos doesn’t build himself up to gain favor in the eyes of this wicked priest. Instead, in humility he shares the truth of who Yahweh is, and the message he’s been sent to share. Immediately after vs. 15, Amos shares the prophecy of the Lord against Israel. There is no argument, no attempt to defend himself. He simply gives the word of the Lord without trying to smooth talk or make it easier to digest.
So, my question to you, and to myself, is how often do we feel the need to ‘defend the Gospel’ by just defending ourselves? How often do we want to share our own accomplishments/experiences as credibility for why Jesus’ message of salvation is the Truth? Here’s the thing, it’s not necessary! The Truth of Yahweh defends itself, because it cannot be altered, cannot be swayed by public opinion. Our task as Christians is to defend the Gospel based on the Gospel, not by trying to smooth talk or taking out the hard parts to make it easier for someone to digest. The Holy Spirit calls people to Himself through us, but not because of us. And that distinction is what allows us to take our personal ego and credentials out of the equation. Really, it allows us to be humble and removes the pressure of the outcome. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
’94 / ’08 San Jose Costa Rica
CoLaborers International Missionary