“Then Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I am no prophet, nor a prophet’s son; but I am a herdsman, and a dresser of sycamore trees,and the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, “Go, prophesy to my people Israel.”’” vss. 14-15
The biggest problem that the Bethel elites had with Amos was that he was an interloper from Judah. Amaziah, the priest, tells him to go back south and prophesy there. King Jeroboam likely had a whole stable of prophets who could stroke his ego and give him advice that pleased his ear. He certainly didn’t need a prophet of doom. But Amos protested. He wasn’t a professional prophet…he was a man of the soil and his message had come directly from the Lord. He was in Bethel because the Lord wanted him there…and he was going to keep talking until someone listened. Now as it turned out, no one listened to Amos…no changes were made and Israel was destroyed. That’s generally how it was for true prophets. No one paid any attention until it was too late. It’s only after disaster that the prophet was remembered…and then people lamented, “If only we had listened!” And here’s the curious thing. That next generation wrote down the words of that prophet and regarded them as scripture! The feeling seems to have been, “Our forefathers didn’t listen to God…but we’re going to learn from their mistakes.” We’re blessed to have the words of dozens of those failed prophets in our scripture. The big question is, “Will we pay any attention?”
Thought for the Day: Why do prophets continue to be unpopular?