Symbolic Visions of Judgment
1 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw him making locusts just as the crops planted late were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest.) 2 When they had completely consumed the earth’s vegetation, I said,
“Sovereign Lord, forgive Israel!
How can Jacob survive?
He is too weak!”
3 The Lord decided not to do this. “It will not happen,” the Lord said.
4 The sovereign Lord showed me this: I saw the sovereign Lord summoning a shower of fire. It consumed the great deep and devoured the fields.
5 I said, “Sovereign Lord, stop!
How can Jacob survive?
He is too weak!”
6 The Lord decided not to do this. The sovereign Lord said, “This will not happen either.”
7 He showed me this: I saw the sovereign One standing by a tin wall holding tin in his hand. 8 The Lord said to me, “What do you see, Amos?” I said, “Tin.” The sovereign One then said,
“Look, I am about to place tin among my people Israel.
I will no longer overlook their sin.
9 Isaac’s centres of worship will become desolate;
Israel’s holy places will be in ruins.
I will attack Jeroboam’s dynasty with the sword.”
Amos Confronts a Priest
10 Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent this message to King Jeroboam of Israel: “Amos is conspiring against you in the very heart of the kingdom of Israel! The land cannot endure all his prophecies. 11 As a matter of fact, Amos is saying this: ‘Jeroboam will die by the sword and Israel will certainly be carried into exile away from its land.’”
12 Amaziah then said to Amos, “Leave, you visionary! Run away to the land of Judah! Earn your living and prophesy there! 13 Don’t prophesy at Bethel any longer, for a royal temple and palace are here!”
14 Amos replied to Amaziah, “I was not a prophet by profession. No, I was a herdsman who also took care of sycamore fig trees. 15 Then the Lord took me from tending flocks and gave me this commission, ‘Go! Prophesy to my people Israel!’ 16 So now listen to the Lord’s message! You say, ‘Don’t prophesy against Israel! Don’t preach against the family of Isaac!’
17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the streets
and your sons and daughters will die violently.
Your land will be given to others
and you will die in a foreign land.
Israel will certainly be carried into exile away from its land.’”
C H Spurgeon
Amos 7:1-3. Thus hath the Lord God showed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings. And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? For he is small. The Lord repented for this: it shall not be, saith the LORD.
In a vision, the prophet saw the locusts or grasshoppers come to devour all the green things of the land, — a very terrible visitation. If you have never seen it, you cannot realize how utterly bare everything is made after the visit of the locusts. The prophet put up a vehement and earnest prayer; he cried, “O Lord God, forgive” and, no sooner was the intercession offered than the Lord said, “It shall not be.” Thus the impending judgment was turned away.
Amos 7:4-6. Thus hath the Lord God showed unto me: and, behold, the Lord God called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part. Then said I, O Lord God, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small. The Lord repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.
This time, the prophet saw the fire devouring the land, — perhaps the fire of war, which casts its blazing brand upon peaceful dwellings. This fire, however, was something worse than that, for the very deep itself seemed to be licked up by tongues of flame; and the prophet, in hearty sympathy with the afflicted people, cried again as he had done before, and the answer came “This also shall not be, saith the Lord God.” This ought to encourage you who are the King’s remembrances to make use of the position in which his grace has placed you, and to cry earnestly to him to turn away his wrathful hand, and have pity upon sinners. God grant that many of us may have such an intercessory spirit as that of Amos the herdsman-prophet!