Amos 7 has the prophet seeing visions of God’s judgment and experiencing the power of prayer. God speaks to us in many ways. For Amos, some of that was through visions. In this chapter, he experiences that again. “This is what the Lord God showed me: behold, the Lord God was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land”. Late in the harvest, Amos sees a swarm of locusts coming to devour the crops of Israel. It came after the king’s mowings, so the royal court already took their taxes, so there is nothing left at all. The country would be desolate.
Amos prays that God will not allow the vision to happen. He intercedes for God’s people and the frail situation they are in. Amos stands in the gap. And what is God’s response? “The Lord relented concerning this: “This also shall not be,” said the Lord God”. There is power in prayer, and in particular in earnest prayer of intercession. This is another amazing example of how much rests upon prayer. It certainly appears that the plague either came or was held back based on the prophet’s prayer. Amos made it strong and with passion, and God heard and responded.
After the vision of locusts, now Amos sees a vision of a great consuming fire upon the land of Israel. In response, he does what he did before: plead for mercy. And God again relented at the prayer of the prophet. God gives a visual of what He expects from His people as He sets a plumb line for them to measure against His standard. “I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people”. That plumb line still exists for us today. We will be judged according to God’s standards and commands. And like His people in Amos’ time, we’ll be found ‘crooked’ and unable to meet that standard. It’s the reality of sin in our life. That’s why we need Jesus to take away the crookedness of our life and through grace to make us straight compared to God’s plumb line.
Amos has wrestled with God and some coming visions where he interceded. But as the chapter ends, he faces attack from Amaziah, the wicked priest of Bethel, who accuses him of conspiring against King Jeroboam. He also said that the message Amos was bringing was too hard and that Amos should go home and leave them alone. So Amos answers him directly about his accusations. “I was no prophet….But the Lord took me from following the flock, and the Lord said to me, Go, prophesy to my people Israel”. Let there be no doubt – Amos tells the king and this wicked priest that he’s doing what God called him to do. He was a reluctant, untrained, and unprofessional prophet – only a farmer by trade. Amos was not the type to launch a conspiracy. But he was exactly the type to carry God’s truth to the people, and that’s what he did.