Amos Intercedes (Amos #17)

Text: Amos 7:1-3

The next three chapters is really one sermon.  Notice the phrase thus hath the Lord shewed me in verse 1, 4, 7, 8:1, and 9:1 Amos sees the Lord.  The first thing Amos sees are grasshoppers eating up the vegetation in Israel and starving out the land in verses 1-3.  Then Amos sees in a future time God contending with Israel by fire and the fire devouring until Amos prays and the Lord chooses not to send fire in 4-6.  Then Amos sees a plumbline in verses 7-9. And a standard is set in the midst of Israel that causes houses of worship to be destroyed and king Jeroboam’s house to come under judgment.  Now, when Amos mentions judgment of the king in verse 9, the priest in Bethel sends word to the king that Amos is not politically correct and his preaching has crossed the line. The priest demands that Amos shut up and go home in verses 10-13.  Amos response in verses 14-15 that he’s not some hired prophet who can be fired and he has no family obligation to be here preaching. The only reason Amos is here preaching is because while doing his job the Lord sent him to prophesy. In other words, what Amos is saying is not about Amos, and king Jeroboam and Bethel and the northern tribes don’t have a say in it.

Now, that’s chapter 7 in a nutshell, but we’re not going to cover all that this morning.  We’re only going to look at the first thing Amos sees that brings him to his knees.

Reason to pray (vss 1-2)

  • Amos sees a famine caused by an army God formed: weaponized insects whose appetites could bring an idolatrous nation to the brink of starvation.  The imminent threat of the LORD God deploying his natural army on Israel causes Amos to fall to his knees.
    • This little insect, the grasshopper, could starve the livestock to death, collapse the economy, drive the price of hay through the roof, and then starve out the people.
    • (Just a side note: people say, well, back in that day they were an agrarian society and farmed for a living so if there was crop failure they couldn’t go to the grocery store.  Newsflash: the grocery store gets its food from farms. If there is crop failure in the United States of America, the grocery store doesn’t get fruits and vegetables, animals don’t eat, and prices go up as demand goes up.  It doesn’t matter how sophisticated a society becomes, you’re going to eat what comes out of the ground or you’re going to eat something that eats what comes out of the ground. Ecclesiastes 5:9 Moreover the profit of the earth is for all: the king himself is served by the field.)
    • Now, Amos sees a disaster coming as a direct result of Israel’s rebellion against the LORD God.  The threat is a reminder of how far we’ve departed from the living God.
  • First reason to pray is because someone else needs it
    • Amos is not praying for himself.  Prayer is about going to the LORD on someone else’s behalf.
    • We could make prayer all about you and your relationship with God, but it’s not all about you and it’s not all about your troubles.
    • I notice that Amos is privy to some information that others are not.  It’s like the LORD sat Amos down and said, this is what I’m planning on doing.  These people have departed from me and I’m done with them.
    • This is called INTERCESSION.
      • 1 Timothy 2:1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made FOR ALL MEN
      • Parents, aren’t you privy to some information that’s hidden to your children?  It’s time to pray and intercede on their behalf.
      • Christian, don’t you know some things from the words of God that others don’t know.  It’s time to pray and intercede on their behalf.
      • Abraham prayed for his family in Sodom because no one in Sodom had God’s ear.
      • Job prayed for his friends and they were forgiven because they couldn’t get a hold of God if they wanted to.
      • 1 Samuel 12:23 Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the LORD in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way:
    • The Lord Jesus Christ as intercessor
      • Isaiah 53:12 Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
      • Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
      • This world says, Stand up for yourself!  But the God of heaven says, I will listen to someone who will stand up for someone else.
  • Second reason to pray is because there is no hope without the LORD’S intervention
    • …by whom shall Jacob arise?
    • Amos prays to the LORD because if the LORD doesn’t do anything, there is no hope.
    • Haven’t you noticed without the LORD things have no hope of improving?
      • As you get older, your thoughts don’t get better on their own.  They get worse: more worries, more fears, more brokenheartedness.
      • As you get older your body doesn’t naturally improve.  It runs down.
      • As you get older your sin becomes more comfortable and you become more settled in it.
      • You and I need the LORD’s intervention to give you His thoughts, a new body he’s made for you, a new life free of the bondage of sin.
    • Ephesians 2:12 …having no hope, and without God in the world:
    • I’m reminded of Saul calling up Samuel when the Lord would no longer answer Saul.
    • Psalms 130:3 If thou, LORD, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand

Basis of prayer

  • The basis of Amos’ prayer is the promise of God.
    • Some prayers have no basis with God.  James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
    • Notice Amos doesn’t pray based on the fact that this will cause people pain.
    • I can imagine the LORD’S answer to a prayer like that.  Lord, don’t do this because people will get hurt. And the LORD says what is that to me?  These people who have rejected everything I’ve said. People who have ignored my help. People who hate me.  What is their emotional and sensational distress to me? I’ve sent good people to them and they caused them pain, so why should I care about their pain?  These Israelites discomfort is not a compelling reason for an answer.
  • Amos approaches God based on God’s own promise
  • …by whom shall Jacob arise?  And you might say why should God care if Jacob arises or not?  Because God made a promise to Israel.
  • 1 Chronicles 16:17-19 And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, 18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; 19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it.
  • Alright, now there is something compelling to the LORD God.
  • What else is compelling to God Almighty?
  • Amos prayed according to the will of God, so what else could be prayed that is according to the will of God?
    • …not willing that any should perish…
    • Growth of Christians to be more like Christ (Ephesians 4)
    • Gratitude in Jesus Christ is God’s will (1 Thessalonians)
    • The glorification of the LORD Jesus Christ.  In my name… John 14:13-14

Answer to prayer (vs 3)

  • Amos’ prayer changes the LORD’S mind.  This would’ve happened had Amos not prayed.  The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
  • God moves on the prayers of His people.
    • Acts 4:31 when they had prayed the place was shaken
    • Acts 9:40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up
    • Acts 16:25 prayed and sang praises and there was a great earthquake
    • Acts 28:8 prayed and laid his hands on him and healed him
    • This kind only comes out by prayer and fasting.  The power of God was not at work because there was a prayer deficit.
  • The act of praying is not powerful.  It is the God who hears that is powerful.