Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent a message to Jeroboam king of Israel: “Amos is raising a conspiracy against you in the very heart of Israel. The land cannot bear all his words. For this is what Amos is saying: “ ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword, and Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’ ” Then Amaziah said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, 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 7:10-15
No one likes to be the bearer of bad news. Yet sometimes we find ourselves placed in that situation, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Amos found himself in that position. He was to bring a message of God’s judgment on the people of Israel. He was to tell them that Israel would be conquered because the people rejected God. As he proclaimed this message of bad news, he discovered that the people didn’t like it. Amaziah, who served as the most important priest in Bethel, didn’t like the message either. He wanted Amos to stop proclaiming this bad news and to return to his own people. Yet Amos did not stop. Instead he simply pointed out that he must proclaim what the Lord says.
Oftentimes we find ourselves in the same shoes as Amaziah and Amos. We hear a message from the Lord that tells us not to lie or cheat, gossip about others or live immoral lives; for if we do, we will be condemned. And when we proclaim that message, we are told to be quiet, or to tell someone else, or worse. It is at those times we must say, “I cannot stop, for this is what the Lord says.”
Even so, the message of the Lord does not remain only bad news. He also proclaims the good news that he has saved us from our sin. He points us to Jesus. And in that news we hear a message that surpasses any bad news we could possibly hear. We hear how he has rescued us from our condemnation through Jesus. What greater message can there be for us to share?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, boldly allow us to go and proclaim your message of grace. Amen.