Go earn your bread somewhere else (Amos 7)
A study on Amos and Amaziah (Amos 7: 10-17)
10 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. 11 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.’”
12 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.13 Don’t prophesy anymore at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.”
14 Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. 15 But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ 16 Now then, hear the word of the Lord. You say,
“‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore this is what the Lord says:
“‘Your wife will become a prostitute in the city, and your sons and daughters will fall by the sword. Your land will be measured and divided up, and you yourself will die in a pagan country. And Israel will surely go into exile, away from their native land.’”
This is a very intense dialogue between two men who were both supposed to represent God. At the time (760-50 BC), The people were divided into two: Judah (south) and Israel (North).
Amos was from the South Kingdom of Judah, sent by God to prophesize in Bethel, a major city of the Northern Kingdom. This made things very tricky!
Amaziah was a priest in Bethel. He was really upset about Amos prophesizing negatively in his territory.
Both men were in the same ‘vocation’ of representing God (clergy), one was a priest, one was a prophet. But they saw their vocation and calling very differently. They certainly viewed their boss very differently too!
v.10-12 Amaziah saw priesthood as a job (“earn your bread”), a way of survival, as a way of pleasing people. He never said Amos’ message was not true, because the truth wasn't important for him anyway. But he saw his boss as the king and his territory was the temple.
He was just following the ‘rules’ because it was a way to “earn bread”. Amaziah was being realisitc. Was there anything wrong?
How do we look at our earthly vocation? Who is your boss?
Clearly Amos didn't come to the Northern Kingdom to 'earn his bread.' He had a profession himself at home. He “took care of sycamore-fig trees” – a dedicate job in the Ancient Near East in which the worker pruned sycamore trees at specific times.
Amos saw God as his real boss. It was not about earning bread, but obeying the true boss.
Amos also emphasized that he was sent by God (“But the Lord took me from…”). It wasn't his decisions but God's.
Amos said “I am not a prophet”. But he was... Why would he say that?
How do we see who we are in our job today?
How would you define your calling: "I am not _______________. I am ________________."
Neither men had an easy role to play. Both had fear in their hearts which played an important part in defining their identity, purpose and direction.
How do you recognize and choose your fears?
Why is it so difficult to listen to rebuke and warning? What emotional and spiritual issues can be the obstacles inside us? What can we do about them?