The Book of Amos
James J. Barker
THE INTERCESSORY PRAYERS OF AMOS
- In the
Bible, we see many instances of intercessory prayer – Moses (Exodus 32:7-14;
Numbers 14:11-20) and Samuel (I Sam. 7:5-8; 12:19-25) are two notable OT
examples (cf. Jer. 15:1).
- In the NT,
my favorite lessons in intercessory prayer are the Syrophenician woman (Matt.
15; Mark 7), and the church praying in Mary’s house for Peter while he was in
prison (Acts 12).
- We often
refer to the intercessory prayers of Elijah, and Jeremiah, and Daniel, but the
intercessions of the prophet Amos (7:2, 5) are often overlooked.
- This is
probably because when we think of Amos we usually think of his scathing blasts
of judgment (cf. 7:17).
- In Amos 7 we
have three visions. After these
visions we have the confrontation between Amos and the wicked priest Amaziah
- After the
first two Amos intercedes and God repented.
- After the
third vision, Amos did not intercede because by that time it was too late
THE VISION OF THE LOCUST PLAGUE
- This is the
first of a series of judgments upon Israel (cf. 7:1, 4, 7; 8:1).
judgments are from the Lord – “he formed grasshoppers” (7:1).
- “The king’s
mowings” (7:1) were the early portions of the harvest. “The latter growth” (7:1) refers to the
final harvest of the growing season.
interceded for his backslidden and rebellious countrymen – “O Lord GOD,
forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is
- Amos was
acknowledging that Israel (Jacob) could not survive without God’s help.
Israelites were trusting in the mountains of Samaria (6:1), but they did not
consider the devastating destruction caused by the little locusts
- God in grace
and mercy responded to Amos’ prayer, and said, “It shall not be” (7:3). God’s holiness is in conformity to His
106:44, 45 says, “Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their
cry. And he remembered for them his
covenant, and repented according to the multitude of his
- Jonah 3:10
says, “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God
repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he
did it not.”
- God does not “repent” (7:3,
6) the way man repents.
- The Scofield Bible says that in the NT repentance means “a change of
mind…In the NT, such change of mind is often accompanied by contrition and
self-judgment. When applied to God the word is used phenomenally according to
O.T. custom. God seems to change His mind. The phenomena are such as, in the
case of man, would indicate a change of mind.”
THE VISION OF FIRE AND DRAUGHT (7:4-6).
- Amos had already warned of locusts and
draught (cf. 4:6-9).
- The waters of “the great deep” (7:4) would be
dried up. This refers to the
subterranean waters that fed the springs and rivers (cf. Gen. 7:11 – “the
same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up”).
- Once again, Amos interceded (7:5; cf.
- God was not bent on destroying Israel. His intention was to turn them from
their wicked ways by disciplinary judgments.
- That is why Ezekiel 18:32 says, “For I
have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore
turn yourselves, and live ye.”
THE VISION OF THE PLUMBLINE
- A plumbline
is normally used for construction, not destruction – to build, not to tear
- However, it is used this way elsewhere in the
Bible. “And I will stretch
over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of
Ahab: and I will wipe Jerusalem as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it, and
turning it upside down” (II Kings 21:13).
- Isaiah 28:17 says, “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and
righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.”
- Lamentations 2:8 says, “The LORD hath
purposed to destroy the wall of the daughter of Zion: he hath stretched out a
line, he hath not withdrawn his hand from destroying: therefore he made the
rampart and the wall to lament; they languished together.”
- Notice there is now no more intercession from the prophet
Amos. God’s patience was exhausted (7:8).
- Amos 7:9
refers to “the house of Jeroboam” (the second), and this prophecy was fulfilled
when Shallum slew King Jeroboam’s son Zachariah and reigned in his stead (II
- EM Bounds
tells of a man named George Benfield, a driver on the Midland Railway, who was
standing on the footplate oiling his engine, the train being stationary. His foot slipped, and he fell in the
space between the lines. He heard the express train coming on, and had only time
enough to lie full length in between the rails when it rushed by. He escaped
- He returned
to his home in the middle of the night and as he was going up-stairs he heard
one of his children, a girl about eight years old, crying and sobbing. “Oh,
father,” she said, “I thought somebody came and told me that you were going to
be killed, and I got out of bed and prayed that God would not let you die.”
- EM Bounds
said, “Was it only a dream, a coincidence? George Benfield and others believed that he owed his life to that