Today we hear the last of Amos’ prophecy and we meet the prophet Isaiah.
The Lord gives Amos five visions. When He shows Amos the first two (locusts and fire), Amos intercedes for the people and God relents. The third vision is a plumb line, which symbolizes the straight law and ways of the Lord, in contrast to the crooked ways of the people, illustrating that the Lord expects His people to line up with His word and His ways.
The people of Israel didn’t mind Amos’ prophecies when the Lord was directing them at other nations, but they don’t like hearing the truth from God when it applies to them. So Amaziah the priest tells Amos to flee to the land of Judah. But Amos responds that he is doing what the Lord told him to do, and as far as Amaziah and Israel, “You shall die in a defiled land; and Israel shall surely be led away captive from his own land.”
Then Amos describes the fourth vision as being a basket of fruit, meaning that the time is right for Israel’s judgment. The fifth and final vision is God at the altar, illustrating that no one will escape God’s sovereign judgment unless they repent. Although the Lord is going to bring judgment upon the sinful nation, He always leaves a remnant – “I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob.”
Amos speaks of a time to come when there will be silence from God’s word (the Silent Era) – “‘Behold, the days are coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find it.’”
Later in the story, the prophet Malachi will prophesy of the silence coming to an end when the Lord will send John the Baptist, who is a prophet like Elijah (Malachi 4:5). The Lord will break the silence approximately four hundred years after the Return Era when an angel of the Lord will appear before the priest Zacharias. The angel will tell Zacharias that he is going to have a son, and that boy will grow up to be John the Baptist – “He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, ‘to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,’ and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord’” (Luke 1:17). A people ready for the coming Son of God, Jesus Christ.
Amos ends his prophecy with a word of hope. After the Lord sifts His people during their captivity, He will restore them and bring the Gentiles into His Kingdom through His Son, Jesus Christ – “‘On that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down, and repair its damages; I will raise up its ruins, and rebuild it as in the days of old; That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ says the Lord who does this thing.”
After reading the Book of Amos, we meet several more wicked kings of Israel including Menahem, who is so evil that he rips open the wombs of women with children. Menahem reigns jointly with his wicked son Pekah from 752 BC. Pekah began to solely reign in 740 BC as the second to the last king of Israel. Pekah reigns during the year that Uzziah, king of Judah, dies. Remember, the Lord struck King Uzziah with leprosy for trying to perform the duties reserved for the priests – “So Uzziah rested with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of burial which belonged to the kings, for they said, ‘He is a leper.’ Then Jotham his son reigned in his place” (2 Chronicles 26:23). This is when the prophet Isaiah enters the scene — Pekah is king of Israel, and Jotham is king of Judah.
Isaiah sees a vision from the Lord, which overwhelms him with God’s holiness and his own sinfulness. So Isaiah says, “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” Then a seraphim touched Isaiah’s lips with coal, washing him from his sin. Now Isaiah is standing clean before the Lord. So when the Lord asks who shall He send to warn the disobedient people of Judah, Isaiah says “Here am I! Send me!” Then God tells Isaiah to go and preach to people who will not respond because their eyes and ears are closed. Isaiah asks how long he will have to speak to people who will not hear his message, and the Lord says until they are destroyed and sent off to captivity. However, some will return because the Lord always saves a remnant, but they will still be under judgment. The people will still be in need of the coming Savior.
Tomorrow the Lord sends in another prophet, Micah. Keep reading. (Amos 7:1-9:15, 2 Kings 14:28-29, 2 Kings 15:8-29, 6-7, 2 Chronicles 26:22-23, Isaiah 6:1-13)