God’s patience, which has long been sinned against, will at length be sinned away for to be often reprieved yet never reclaimed;
often reduced to straits, yet never brought to God is a great insult to God and merits His rejection.
Those who have faithfully declared the counsel of God may expect to be misrepresented as enemies,
and often by men in high religious standing.
1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king’s mowings.
2 And it came to pass, that when they had made an end of eating the grass of the land, then I said, O Lord GOD, forgive, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
3 The LORD repented for this: It shall not be, saith the LORD.
4 ¶ Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and, behold, the Lord GOD called to contend by fire, and it devoured the great deep, and did eat up a part.
5 Then said I, O Lord GOD, cease, I beseech thee: by whom shall Jacob arise? for he is small.
6 The LORD repented for this: This also shall not be, saith the Lord GOD.
7 ¶ Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.
8 And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
9 And the high places of Isaac shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste; and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.
10 ¶ Then Amaziah the priest of Beth-el sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.
11 For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.
12 Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there:
13 But prophesy not again any more at Beth-el: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.
14 ¶ Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:
15 And the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.
16 ¶ Now therefore hear thou the word of the LORD: Thou sayest, Prophesy not against Israel, and drop not thy word against the house of Isaac.
17 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Thy wife shall be an harlot in the city, and thy sons and thy daughters shall fall by the sword, and thy land shall be divided by line; and thou shalt die in a polluted land: and Israel shall surely go into captivity forth of his land.
Amos 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Amos 7 – The Herdsman’s Message
The king’s mowings were the earliest yield of the grasslands, which were exacted by him. Our King also has His mowings, when He takes to Himself our dearest and best while the dew of youth is still upon them—but He is only claiming His own.
Three disasters threatened the guilty land—locusts, fire, and plague; but the prophet’s intercessions warded off the blow. The Bible often tells a similar story of the power of intercession. If only the Church were united and prayed with one voice, she would be able to secure deliverance for the smitten earth. When God is said to repent, we must not attribute to Him changeableness of purpose, but He seems to repent, because man has changed his attitude. If you walk against the wind, it resists you; but if you turn and walk in the opposite direction, it helps you. The plumbline (v. 7) is used to discover the extent of the mischief, before the order, for destruction is issued.
Amaziah, the chief priest of the national idolatry, found the stalwart witness of the herdsman-prophet extremely inconvenient and wanted to get rid of him. There was great simplicity and dignity in the reply. Like Luther in after years, Amos could “do no other.” —Through the Bible Day by Day
Amos 7:1—The latter growth after the king’s mowings.
Our King has often to mow the grass of the inner life—the daisies and buttercups of experience of which we are so proud, the tall stalks, the flowering grasses. Were He to leave them, the entire growth would become altogether too coarse and rank for use. The lawn on which He loves to walk, with its velvet pile of grass, would become coarse and rough.
Mowing implies death. All the pretty flowers and myriads of blades lie in long swathes of death, presently to be carried away to the rubbish-heap. From myriads of dying flowers the last expiring sigh is being breathed out on the soft spring breeze. We must be prepared to die to our complacent self-content; to our blissful frames and feelings; to our complaints and consolations—if any of them come between us and our King.
But after the King’s mowings there is the aftermath. It is said that the tenderest, juiciest shoots appear on lawns which are repeatedly mown. This is what the young lambs love, if they may taste it. And surely there is no such piety as that which follows on the repeated application of God’s scythe. When repeated strokes have robbed us of health, friends, money, and favorable circumstances; then we put forth our tenderest shoots of love, and prayer, and consecration. Oh, do not be afraid of the scythe! The King loves thee too well to hurt thee. Be of good heart; thou shalt yet bear an aftermath!
“What do you think of your God now?” asked a well-known skeptic of Silwood of Keswick, who for 20 years suffered agonies. “Since He is able to keep me in perfect peace,” was the reply, “amid sufferings like mine, I think of Him more than ever.” Here was aftermath indeed! —Our Daily Homily