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In this blog, there will be a variety of material: thoughts on Bible books, book reviews, historical characters, aspects of Scottish church history and other things.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

A pleading prophet (Amos 7:1-6)

Amos 7:1-6 gives interesting insights into Amos as God’s servant, especially in the area of his prayer life. In these verses, we see him responding to information that God gave to him about the imminent judgement about to fall on Israel.

The Lord shared his secrets with his servant and gave him two visions of terrible divine judgement (locusts, fire). Amos responded to each with urgent prayer. He knew that the judgement was deserved, yet he asked to God not to send them because it was not possible for Israel to survive if they took place. The Lord heard his prayer regarding those two visions, but did not remove completely the threatened judgement.

We can see from this that the intercession of God’s people can delay divine judgement. Asking him to show mercy is always a powerful argument with God at such a time. Some respond to this scenario and speculate about how such prayers fit into the divine plan. Instead of speculating, it would be better to be supplicating, and then we will experience involvement in his plans.

Yet the servants of God sometimes discover that God eventually says no to their urgent requests for mercy. This divine response does not mean that he has become callous. Instead, it is a reminder that he will punish sin if it is persisted in and that is what Israel discovered. We cannot presume that delays in sending judgment mean cancellation when it comes to the Lord’s opposition to sin. But we should pray earnestly until God says it is enough. After all, many may come to know him during those times of delay.

The challenge for us is whether or not we imitate Amos in his direct and strong appeals to God to show mercy. This is one reason why God has shared his secrets with us (his revealed secrets are found in his Word). Sometimes we fail to make an impact because we don't realise why he has informed us of his plans. The main reason is that we will then speak to him about them, but sometimes our words should be urgent, insistent prayers that he would show mercy to those who are rebelling against his ways.

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