Amos 7 The Voice (VOICE)
Prophets find God’s message in every word and turn of phrase. Lo-debar and Karnaim were two cities recaptured by Jeroboam II, king of Israel, after a foreign ruler had annexed them as part of his kingdom (2 Kings 10:32–36). When Jeroboam won back the region, the people celebrated (2 Kings 14:23–29); but Jeroboam was out of step with God, so the joy was short-lived. That’s where the names of the two cities become interesting. In Hebrew Lo-debar means “no thing”; Karnaim means “horns,” and horns are a symbol of strength. In a bit of sarcasm, the prophet quips that those who celebrate the retaking of Lo-debar are celebrating “nothing,” while those who claim the victory at Karnaim have only their horn, their own strength, to thank. God will have none of it.
7 This is what the Eternal Lord showed me: He brought a swarm of locusts when the crops had begun to sprout in late spring (after the king’s portion of the hay had been cut). 2 When I saw the locusts devour everything green in the land that belonged to the farmers, I spoke.
Amos: O Eternal Lord, please forgive us!
3 The Eternal relented and showed mercy.
Eternal One: What you have seen will not be.
4 Then the Eternal Lord showed me this: He called for a rain of fire, and it devoured the deep abyss and began to devour the land itself.
5 Amos: O Eternal Lord, please no! Not this!
6 And the Eternal again relented and showed mercy.
Eternal One: This will not happen either.
7 Then He showed me this: The Lord was standing by a wall built with a plumb line, and in His hand was a plumb line.
Eternal One: 8 What do you see, Amos?
Amos: A plumb line.
Eternal One: Watch what I’m about to do! I am going to put a plumb line
10 Then Amaziah, the priest at the royal shrine in Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam, king of Israel.
Amaziah’s Message: Amos is plotting conspiracy against you in the very heart of the land of Israel. You must act. The land cannot bear any more of his speeches. 11 For this is what Amos is saying:
Amos: Jeroboam is going to die by the sword,
Amaziah’s Message: 12 I told Amos, “Listen, seer—run for the land of Judah; earn your living and spread your prophesies there, 13 but don’t ever show your face and try to prophesy at Bethel again because it is the king’s sanctuary and a temple for this kingdom.”
14 But Amos persisted.
Amos: I am not a professional prophet, or even the son of one. You shouldn’t be afraid of me; I am just a man who followed my herds and gathered the fruit from the sycamores 15 until the Eternal spoke to me, as I was minding my flock.
Eternal One: Go and speak My words to the people of Israel!
16 So now listen to what the Eternal has to say, you who say,
Eternal One: Your wife will be reduced to selling herself in the streets,