Is there something you’re struggling with right now that you pray God will restore for you? Maybe it’s a relationship, maybe it’s a bank account, maybe it’s to ignite your faith. Whatever it is for you, imagine that it has been accomplished. The restoration has taken place.
The hope we read about in today’s reading speaks of a restoration that was prophesied about and then actually happened. God’s promise to rebuild is meant to give the Israelites hope. Even though they have had a hard time believing they are in for some disciplinary destruction, at least they will have these words to rest upon when they find themselves stuck in exile, feeling abandoned and alone.
We have the fifth and final vision Amos records for us. This one is special because of God’s presence seen by Amos at the altar. There are very few people who have seen God, so Amos is immediately set apart as belonging to a special class of God’s ambassadors. We can also be ambassadors for God in our own circles and beyond. What does that look like for you?
In this intimate encounter, God confirms all of the messages he has already given Amos. This vision is thought to be one Amos received at a time later than the other visions. Take a moment to just let these words settle. “Then I saw a vision of the Lord standing beside the altar.” Seeing God is an honor I can only imagine having. How will it feel?
What ripe fruit did you picture in the basket Amos saw? I pictured mangos. Our neighbor has as a gigantic mango tree, and there is no way anyone can get to the fruit near the top (without a crane). Eventually, the ground is covered with those forgotten ripe fruit. We’re in the season now where you have to watch where you walk in their yard; it’s like a mine field of fallen fruit.
What I loved about Amos’ vision is that he and God had a conversation about it. God wanted to make sure Amos understood the significance he was meant to take away. Even though the vision was telling of a very unpleasant outcome, the mere fact that Amos communicated with God must have been an exquisite experience. Can you just imagine what that would be like?
We get our first glimpse of potential danger for Amos when a priest from Bethel gets word of Amos’ declarations from God. This priest, Amaziah, is not at all welcoming and begins to stir things up for Amos. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “don’t shoot the messenger.” That’s a little of what Amos may be facing, yet we don’t see any threats of physical harm.
Amaziah wants Amos to go back and be a prophet in his own land. Amos stands his ground and said, “the Lord called me away from my flock and told me, ‘Go and prophesy to my people in Israel.’” Amos was being obedient to God. I’m sure there were plenty of times when Amos wondered why he had been chosen to speak to Israel when he was from Judah. He didn’t question God. Can you think of a time when you questioned God’s movement in your life?
Have you ever had a vision from God? I’ve had friends describe in detail dreams they have had, confident the message is from God. Personally, I remember the night when I heard a voice in my head plainly say, “you’re going to write for me!” I knew it was God. I was already blogging every day, but God seemed to want more. It wasn’t long after that we published the first volume in the Devotions on the Go! series.
When God uses you, it feels so good. It’s like you forget who you are for a bit and remember “whose” you are. Such an honor; the greatest honor! What do you think Amos was feeling when he had these visions from God?