|Theme: Averting God’s Judgment through Prayer
|Focus on: Amos
|Reading Portion(s): Amos 7:1 to 9, 14, 15 & 3:7.|
|– Important Background Information|
|– Helps you find strength in God|
|What this article teaches you|
|God is holy and He brings judgment on sin and disobedience. But He often makes His judgments known in advance to His prophets. This gives them an opportunity to plead with God to avert the judgment. When they pray God often shows mercy to His people. But there is a definite end to times of mercy. When the period of mercy is over no door is left open for prayer.
This teaches you to earnestly pray for your loved ones and others who do not follow God and disobey Him. There is every chance that God would show mercy to them when you pray. In fact, if you don’t pray nothing prevents God from destroying them in His anger. The time to pray is now. Do not delay. For God’s judgments increase in severity. If you miss your chance to pray now, the judgment will fall. So pray much for others
.God is often portrayed as a God of love. Though this is true it is only one facet of God’s holy nature. He is a holy God. It means that He is also the God who brings judgment on His people when they disobey and sin. This is often overlooked by people.
When God brings judgment on His people, He in His love might choose to let His servants the prophets know of it in advance. This actually gives the prophet an opportunity to intercede with God for the people. We find such an instance in the life of Amos.
God showed Amos three visions one after the other in rapid succession. All the three of them pointed to great judgment on the land of Israel. The three visions showed an increase of severity in judgment as it proceeded from the first to the third.
Amos was a shepherd whom God called to be a prophet. So he had a caring heart so much needed for a shepherd. Therefore Amos with all the concern he had for the people pleaded with God to avert the judgment God planned to initiate against His people.
The first vision that God showed the prophet was like this. In this vision Amos saw that God was preparing a swarm of locusts. The king’s share of the crops had already been harvested. The second crop was now coming up. It was then that God sent the locusts and they stripped the land clean.
On seeing this Amos cried out to God. He addressed God as Sovereign Lord. By it Amos might have meant the fact that God can choose not to destroy if He decides so. He asked God to forgive the people. He cried out that Jacob, meaning the kingdom of Israel, is very small and cannot survive such an attack.
God heard the prayer and did not bring the judgment on the people.
Again God showed Amos another vision. This time the judgment was with fire. It was more severe than the first judgment. It not only devoured the land but also dried up the great deep.
On seeing this Amos pleaded with God almost in the same words. He did not think it inappropriate to plead with God in a similar fashion once again. He simply cried out reminding God once again that Jacob cannot survive because he is very small.
God heard the prayer once again and did not bring this judgment also.
These two similar prayers of Amos teaches us a few things. It tells us that God will definitely bring judgment on sin and disobedience. Yet there is an opportunity for every child of God to intercede with God for those who have sinned and disobeyed God. God is ever willing to show mercy. Therefore we should use the time that God gives to us to intercede for people and nations. It may be that by our prayers God may give people and nations one more chance to repent. His judgments might be delayed by our prayers. This is what happened by the prayer of Amos. God relented from sending two great judgments.
Now let us look at the third vision that God showed Amos. Here he saw the Lord standing by a wall that had been built vertically and perfectly using a plumb line. The Lord was also holding a plumb line in His hand. Amos was asked what he saw. He replied that he saw a plumb line. Then the Lord told him that He is setting this plumb line among His people Israel.
The plumb line is a line (string) with a lead weight (plumb bob) hung at the end of it and commonly used by masons to find out whether a wall is vertical or not. What God was telling the prophet was that by using the plumb line He will destroy and bring down whichever wall was found to be not vertical and perfect. The wall here is symbolic of the Israelite people and nation. He added that He was not going to spare the Israelites any longer.
These strong words of judgment and its certainty leaves no room for Amos to plead for mercy again. We find Amos remaining silent when God showed him the third vision and the message of judgment.
This tells us that even though God shall show mercy there comes a time when He shall spare him who sins no longer. So the prophet or child or servant of God should use the present moment to plead with God. Before we realize it a time may come when the message of judgment from God will leave us no room to plead for mercy or intercede for others. The time to plead with God for others is now. The lives of many depend on your pleading with God. Who knows, your prayer may avert God’s judgment!