Amos 7:7-15 (NRSV)
Verse 7This is what he showed me: the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. Verse 8And the Lord said to me, "Amos, what do you see?" And I said, "A plumb line." Then the Lord said, "See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; Verse 9the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste, and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword."
Verse 10Then Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent to King Jeroboam of Israel, saying, "Amos has conspired against you in the very center of the house of Israel; the land is not able to bear all his words. Verse 11For thus Amos has said, 'Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel must go into exile away from his land.'" Verse 12And Amaziah said to Amos, "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; Verse 13but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom." Verse 14Then Amos answered Amaziah, "I am no prophet, nor a prophet's son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees, Verse 15and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'
Amos the herdsman had heard God’s call. Though the priest of Bethel, professing loyalty to the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom, discounted Amos’ words and wanted to distance him because of his opposition role, the prophet had listened to God. He had faithfully proclaimed what no power player, no king, no nation, wants to hear: violence and death, loss and exile were at hand.
Amos was judged and blamed for the news he brought as God’s prophet. But with clarity and humility, he resisted drama or negative reaction. He spoke as one secure in the Lord, simply testifying to his calling. He had listened to God when God called, and he continued to listen to God in a time of national turmoil, political corruption, and moral confusion.
Lord, when unstable or unwise powers confront us, may we remember that we are yours and that you have commissioned us. Thank you that we stand secure while hearing and trusting your word. Amen.