September 22, 2021
Tekoa was tiny village that was southeast of Bethlehem in Judah. As such, it was the home to herdsmen and farmers. Amos was one of “the shepherds of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1) who lived there during the days of the divided monarchy. Amos was not prepared for what happened to him. I get the sense that he was just doing his job, “but the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.” (Amos 7:15-16a) Previously, Amos had said that he was not trained as prophet and did not come from a line of prophets. He was just a herdsman, but the Word of the Lord came to him and he was faithful to say what God told him to. I am so grateful that he was.
Most of what Amos said (and wrote) for nine chapters is hard to hear. He is warning the kingdoms of Israel and Judah about the coming judgments of God for their continued rebellion. Amos is warned by a priest in Israel and told to go back to Judah because, “the land is not able to bear all his words.” The truth was, the land was not able to bear all their sins, but when you don’t like the message, it is always easier to shoot the messenger. And yet, the Lord always has the final word. While most of Amos is warning, the end of his book has one of my favorite verses in it.
"'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when the plowman shall overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed.'” (9:13a)
This earth groans under the curse of sin. In Romans 8:18-22, the creation is described as being in bondage because of our sin, and the creation cannot wait until the day when she is freed from that bondage and set loose to show off what she can really do. This earth has the capacity to be incredibly productive, so overwhelmingly productive, that in the springtime, the plowman (one who is planting the seed) is impatiently tailgating the combines who are still trying to harvest the record-setting results of the previous crop.
We groan now, but glory is coming, and the glory that is coming will make the groaning a distant memory. So, as we live with and pray for people in our lives who are groaning, we groan in hope and we pray in faith that the One who hears is the One who plants in such a way that one day his people will never be uprooted again. (Amos 9:15)
Grace and peace,
Sunday’s text: 3 John 11-15