“I am not a prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet; for I am a herdsman and a grower of sycamore figs” (Amos 7:14)
Have you ever thought about this statement that Amos made? I recently started studying the book of Amos and this prophet’s life just intrigues me. Although he was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, still, he had a grasp of the times and events. I sometimes laugh as I think of his knowledge of world affairs, while here I am pursuing a Master’s degree in “International Relations”, learning how to dissect strategies and behaviour of states. Yet, it seems that what Amos knew and how he implemented the understanding he had, was something that no school of political thought can teach.
He knew God’s heart.
Amos spoke before the king of Israel. He prophesied judgment on the surrounding nations, as well as Israel. God called him from shepherding sheep and picking sycamore figs, which was common work among the poor, in order to speak before the policy makers of his day. How could he speak judgement on these mighty nations who were the world powers of the time? Wasn’t he afraid? Clearly, God spoke through him and enabled him to do so. We desperately need people like that now – people who will speak what God has to say to the nations and their rulers. At a time as this, when nations are quick to declare war, parliaments are falling apart and election is in the horizon at what is considered the world power of today, Amos’ words need to be proclaimed anew loud and clear.
The judgments which Amos declared were frightening, so much more because of the transgressions which are still going on today. “…they have threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron… they have ripped up the women with child of Gilead, that they might enlarge their border” (Amos 1:3,12). These were transgressions of two different nations. Yet upon reflection, it is clear they exist also today. How silent the world is to the scream of those who suffer and the silent scream of the unborn? The description in this passage is so horrific, but so is what is done today in many countries around the world. So is what is done by abortions throughout the world today. So is what is done by our self-centered society, which seeks to enlarge its own borders for its pleasures. Where are the Amoses to speak out against this?
The people are there. Yet the work is great and they need help as the world covers its ears tighter and tighter from hearing God’s word. Learning about Amos encourages me to know God’s heart better, so I may be a vessel to share His word. Amos didn’t have a “status” or come from a known circle or family. He was just a fig picker. Yet he was available for God to work through him. Today, my prayer is to be and do the same. Here and Now. Any of you “fig pickers” out there feel led to do the same?
© Hannah Kramer