Wednesday, August 2, 2017

a hi-fi demo of Jesus

The Word for today:
Amos 7:1-8:3
I love Amos. Let me count the ways:
I love the way he writes. The hick from the sticks could write a blue streak:
Seek him that makes the seven stars and Orion, and turns the shadow of death into the morning, and makes the day dark with night: that calls for the waters of the sea, and pours them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. (Amos 5:8)
He came out of the desert like a blistering wind. He arrived, unannounced, like an act of God:
The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake. (Amos 1:1)
Factually, nothing else is known about Amos apart from what he says about himself in 7:14:
I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.'
He held no platform, pulpit, or position. His only credential was the naked word of the LORD:
But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, 'Go, prophesy to my people Israel.' (7:15)
The established religious leadership, represented by Amaziah the priest, opposed him:
And Amaziah said to Amos, "O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there." (7:12)
But Amos countered with more than they'd bargained for:
"You say, 'Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not preach against the house of Isaac.'
Therefore thus says the LORD: "'Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city, and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword, and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line; you yourself shall die in an unclean land, and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.'"
He was the champion of the little guy. Israel's "Sabbath," he said, was the one day of the week when their leaders rested--from ripping off the poor!--
Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample the needy! You can't wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out your grain in false measures and weigh it out on dishonest scales. And you mix the wheat you sell with chaff swept from the floor! Then you enslave poor people for a debt of one piece of silver or a pair of sandals. (8:4-6)
I love Amos to a trillion pieces. I love him more every day. But sometimes it seems as if I have him all to myself. You can go to church for a long while before you'll hear his name.
So I'm establishing a fan club in his honor. I want everyone to know what a great big deal he is:
What a powerful poet!
What a man of mystery!
A working class hero!
Graduate of the school of hard knocks!
A feared counter-puncher!
Who cared not one whit for position, pomp, presumption, or preening piety!
But stood staunch and stalwart for the poor!
And heroically true to God!
Look at that little list again. How truly Amos represents the Christ to come. He's like a pre-recording with highest fidelity to the original Jesus in every way!
And that's what I want you to remember about Amos. He was the look-alike picture of Jesus for the people of his day. He's exactly what we are to be for the people of our day.
He's not what some would call nice. He's not what your mother might consider a "catch." But he's the spittin' image of the King who was, and is, to come.
And so, by the power never vested in me, I hereby ordain and establish the Authentic Amos Fan Club. There are no dues or pledges necessary. You become a member the day you walk up to a person, look him square in the eye and say, "Prepare to meet thy God!" (1)
That's it. You're in!--a member-in-good-standing of the A.A.F.C.

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