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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Amos 7

Introduction

Go Prophecy Unto My People Israel Amos Seven

The book of Amos has two natural divisions. Amos chapter one through six contains God's condemnation of sin and a picture of His judgment against eight disobedient nations. God used Amos to preach sermons against false religion, violence, selfishness and dishonesty. It was too late for the nation of Israel but not for individuals to turn back to God. Amos pleaded with the people to return to the Lord. p;p;

The second section is made up of Amos chapters seven through nine. Here we observe five visions that Amos had. The only interruption in these visions is a brief moment when Amos defended his prophetic role before Amaziah. The book of Amos is a sad book dealing with disregard for the Creator. However, it closes with a ray of hope for some that would turn back to God.

Amos seven contains three of Amos' visions, (1) The vision of the locust, (2) The vision of fire, and (3) the vision of the plumb line. There is also a brief discussion with h h Amaziah concerning Amos' prophetic work. By way of a vision the Lord showed Amos that a swarm of locust was coming to destroy the crops of Israel. Amos prayed for Israel and God spared them of this horror. In a second vision the Lord showed Amos a fire consuming the great deep. Again Amos prayed and God spared Israel from this misery. God is compassionate and longsuffering as the prayers of the righteous prevail. The third vision was that of the Lord standing on the wall with a plumb line in His hand. He was at the high place of idolatrous worship. God measured Israel and found her defective. The nation would now face His judgment.

Bethel was the center of idolatrous worship. Amaziah was the priest there. He accused Amos of conspiracy against Jeroboam. He told Amos to stop preaching in Bethel and to go back to Judah. Amos defended himself by saying, "I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel." Amos gave bold but sad prophesies against both Amaziah and Israel.

Verses 1-3

The vision of locust -- Amo_7:1-3 : The Lord showed Amos that he was going to send locusts to attack the crops of Israel. This would happen after the king has already been given his share of the grain. Amos was certain that the nation was so weak that it could not stand such a plague. So he made a plea to God on behalf of these people. After Amos had prayed the Bible says, "The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD." ( Amo_7:3 ) (KJV) The Lord "repented" or changed his mind about the destruction. He removed the insects and did not allow them to destroy the land.

Verses 4-6

The vision of fire -- Amo_7:4-6 : In a second vision the Lord showed Amos that He was going to send a ball of fire to burn up everything on earth, including the ocean. It was a judgment by fire, and it would devour the great deep and eat up the land. Imagine the horrors if the entire water supply are dried up from the earth. Amos again pleaded on behalf of the people. Amos prayed, "O Lord GOD, please cease! How can Jacob stand? He is so small!"

Again the LORD was entreated to relent and withdraw His wrath from Israel. He knew that Israel's rebellion deserved the punishment, but He felt sorry for the land and would not allow the destruction to come. The prayers of Amos touched the heart of God and He gave the nation of Israel another opportunity to reform their lives, from bad to good.

Verses 7-9

The vision of the plumb line -- Amo_7:7-9 : The third vision was that of the Lord Himself standing on a wall with a plumb line in His hand. The plumb line had been used to measure the straightness of the wall. The Lord is longsuffering but now His patience has been exhausted. God had extended mercy to Israel over and over again. Yet, they would always go right back to their past sins. He is now passing His strict judgment on a people that had been blessed with many opportunities to get right with their Maker.

This vision takes on a little different nature than the first two. Here God asked, "Amos, what do you see?" The Lord was using the plumb line or measuring line to show that His people Israel did not measure up and that He would not forgive them any more. God would no longer be lenient with His unfaithful peo-ple. He could no longer overlook their sins. Now they would face severe punishment. The high places used for idolatrous worship would be destroyed. God would "send war against the nation of King Jeroboam." God used the names of Joseph, Jacob and Isaac with reference to the nation of Israel. The nation simply should have done better. Sadly, they had followed Jeroboam to destruction and ruin.

Verses 10-17

Amaziah rebukes Amos -- Amo_7:10-17 : Amaziah the priest at Bethel sent a message to King Jeroboam of Israel saying, "Amos is plotting against you in the very heart of Israel. Our nation cannot put up with his message for very long." This is not the Jeroboam that first led Israel into idolatry but one that continued the same. Amaziah was the priest of Bethel, one of the locations for idol worship in Israel. Amaziah, like all false teachers, hated the truth.

It is uncertain that Amos had said what Amaziah had accused him of or not. He said that Amos said, "Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land." It is likely that Amos had not spoken about the death of Jeroboam. However, some of what Amaziah said was truth. Godless men and false teachers often mix some truth with their error to deceive those that hear them.

Amaziah told Amos to take his work of being a prophet and go back to Judah. He could earn a living and prophecy there. He called Amos a "seer." "Seer" is just another name for a prophet. It had to do with one that could see the future. He told Amos not to do any more preaching at Bethel. He said, "The king worships here at our national temple." Amaziah seemed to reason that if you get rid of the messenger then you get rid of the fulfillment of the message.

Amaziah thought that Amos was a prophet so that it would not matter where he preached so Judah would be as good as Israel as a location for his message. Amos explained to him, "I am not a prophet! And I was not trained to be a prophet. I am a shepherd, and I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs." But he said, "The LORD told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel." Amos had no choice on what to preach or where to preach. Amos wanted Amaziah to understand that he was asking him not to do what God told him to do.

Amos chose neither the message nor the place. He was simply doing what God said do. God also gave him a message for r Amaziah. Amos said, "Now, listen to what the LORD says about you: Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, your sons and daughters will be killed in war, and your land will be divided among others. You will die in a country of foreigners, and the people of Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land." Amaziah's criticism did not intimidate Amos. He stood strong for God.

Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.
Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Amos 7". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/amos-7.html. 2014.