Chapter 7 opens with a series of visions God gives to Amos. The first two are visions of circumstances that would bring destruction to Israel (forming locusts to basically eat the budding wheat crop after the king’s share has already been paid and a fire judgment so fierce that it consumes the land and the water). Amos, even after he has been the conduit through which judgment has been proclaimed to Israel up to this point, begs God to forgive and relent and, interestingly, God agrees.
The third vision has God himself standing next to a wall with a plumb line (this is not a unique use of this metaphor in Scripture) and the gist is that they don’t measure up. They are out of balance and will fall under their own weight. You should read, “…never again pass by them…” as “I will not pass over their transgressions ever again.” The false temples will be destroyed and the king, Jeroboam, is held accountable (which foreshadows a conversation that is about to take place between Amos and Jeroboam’s adviser.)
Then Amaziah shows up, a “priest” at Bethel (dig the quotes, remember this is a false temple this man is presiding over.) He’s here to warn Jeroboam about what Amos is saying, primarily that Jeroboam is to die and Israel to be removed from their land. Then Amaziah addresses Amos directly, telling him to leave Israel and go home to Judah and basically spout your crapola back there, but keep your words from Bethel because it (you know, the false temple) is the king’s sanctuary (oh man, that can’t be good) and it is a temple of the kingdom (ding, ding, ding, we have a loser and an understanding of how the wall is all jacked up compared to the plumb line God has out.)
Amos defends himself, basically saying that he didn’t ask for this job, he’s a fig man, not a prophet. But when God tells you to do the thing you do the thing. And God goes to bat for Amos against Amaziah and says that everything he holds dear will be taken from him (wife becomes a prostitute, kids will die in battle, land will be taken from you and given to others), and, of course, Israel is still getting the boot.
Lesson here, you don’t attempt to shut up the words of the prophet (note they have consistently done this, as Amos pointed out earlier). Telling the prophet not to speak doesn’t change what is going to happen, it just causes you to not know about it.
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