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The Prophet is going on in this Chapter, in the Lord's name, to preach to the people of their sins, when he is interrupted by Amaziah the priest, who informs the king against him. Amos continues faithful and denounceth judgment upon Amaziah.
The Prophet is here preaching by figure, in vision perhaps it might be; and by a multitude of grasshoppers, he points out the certain ruin of the country by famine. If we compare this scripture with the corresponding history of the times in which 4rnos ministered, we shall discover the illustration of the figure. It was in the reign of Uzziah, see 2 Chronicles 26:0 . But whether those grasshoppers were literally so, and destroyed the fruits of the earth, or whether typical of the army of the Assyrians, the sense is the same: it was for punishment to the people. The Prophet's prayer is beautiful, and the Lord's answer most gracious. Reader! did not the Prophet here become a type of the Lord Jesus?
The subject in these verses is the same, but the figure is changed. Under the image of fire, and so tremendous as to devour the great deep, the ruin of the people is set forth. But, here as before, the intercession of the Prophet prevents it. There is somewhat particularly striking in all this: and the repeated prayer and success of the Prophet cannot fail, I should hope, to lead our hearts to Jesus. As the judgment was typical, so was the intercession. For it was not Moses, as Moses, standing in the gap; not Aaron, as Aaron, putting on incense, and making an atonement for the people; not Amos, as Amos, so crying for Jacob's arising; that came up before the Lord: because all these themselves were sinners, who alike needed One to intercede for them. And who then could they all represent, but Jesus, who in his sacrifice, was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world; and in his intercession, the High Priest forever, sworn into his office by Jehovah himself, after the order of Melchisedec? See all those scriptures. Deuteronomy 9:24-29 ; Numbers 16:46-48 ; Revelation 13:8 ; Psalms 110:4 .
We have here a third sermon of the Prophet in figure, and to the same amount as the former. The similitude of measuring is adopted, and probably it was here meant to shew the time limited thereby for the Lord's forbearance, until the captivity commenced. But I beg the Reader to keep in view what ought never to be lost sight of, that the Lord still calls Israel his people. Amos sent to preach to them; and the whole sum and substance of' his preaching tended to this point, the Lord's covenant in Christ was before the Lord. Wretched and unworthy as they were in 'themselves, there is an everlasting worthiness in the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world.
This is an interesting passage in the history of Amos, and deserves to be particularly considered. It seems that this Amaziah, priest of Bethel, was priest of the golden calves at Bethel which Jeroboam had set up. He had the ear of the king, and, therefore, while the poor Prophet was preaching to the common people, Amaziah was accusing him at the court. In his accusation, he endeavors to make Amos appear as though he had only personally preached against the king. He hath conspired against thee, said Amaziah. Whereas the whole bent of Amos's preaching was to say to the whole house of Israel, that by their sin the land would be laid waste by the sword. The land (he said) was not able to bear with Amos's preaching. Whereas, we have not a word of any complaining but himself. But did he tell the king how Amos had interceded with the Lord for Israel, and how he had succeeded? Not a word of this! So that in the very moment, while the poor herdman of Tekoa was really and truly the best friend of Israel; he is represented as the greatest enemy both to the king and country: a traitor to his people, and a disturber of the people! These things are not uncommon.
Observe the awful character of this golden calf-priest. While carrying on a private charge against poor Amos to the king, he recommends him, as a kind friend, to run away from his station, and to gain popular favour among the men of Judah. Perhaps he intended, had he accomplished his purpose, to bring him back again for punishment, as his flight would have implied his guilt in the charge of conspiring against the king. And as Amaziah had no one object in his office of priesthood, but gain: so he advised Amos to gain plenty of bread by his prophecy in Judah. The king's chapel, and the king's court, are striking expressions, to shew what an awful state of religion the kingdom was then in, under such idolatrous services, and such idolatrous high-priests as Amaziah. Oh! the long-suffering and patience of the Lord!
Blessed be the Lord for making his servants faithful. Who but must admire the humbleness and modesty of Amos, in his account of his call to the ministry! And who but must be delighted with the firmness of the man, while acting as the servant of the Lord? Observe what holy zeal and boldness an heart truly devoted to the Lord finds in the Lord! Faithful servant of thy God, valiant Amos! Even in the degenerate age in which we live, still there is grace enough in the Church to admire, if not to follow thy bright example in being bold amidst the Amaziah's around, to glorify the Lord God of Israel, whether men will hear, Or whether they will forbear.
I take occasion, from the noble conduct of the Prophet in this Chapter, in opposing the priest of Bethel, to remark to the Reader and mine own heart no less at the same time, how truly blessed it must be, thus to defend the truths of God, whenever or by whomsoever they are opposed. Cowardice in a minister of God is worse than in the soldier of an earthly prince; for the deserting the cause of this world is but for a day, but running from the Redeemer's standard affects a whole eternity. Had the Prophet been a time-serving man, no doubt the charge of Amaziah would have alarmed him, and soon bought him over. But as his study was to approve himself to God, he felt that holy indignation, which not only repelled the attack, but gave him an honest boldness to reprove in his Lord's name. And never was there a day in the Church of God, when a modest firmness became more necessary than the present. Lord! give thy servants, whom, like Amos, thou hast called to the work, grace, like Amos, earnestly to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Let an holy zeal make them earnest to win souls, and to consider that faith worth contending for, which gives God all the glory of salvation, and exalts the Lord Jesus as the source and fountain of all spiritual life, in grace here and glory to all eternity. And do thou, Lord, carry on thy work in their heart, and the hearts of thy people, that both may be living under the rich anointings of God the Holy Ghost! Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Amos 7". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29