By A Graeme Auld
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Additional info for Amos
The other is the need for righteousness. If the words which, more than any others, describe the nature of his prophecies had to be given, we could find none more appropriate than these : “Let judgment roll down as waters, and righteousness as a mighty (or overflowing) stream” (Amos 7 :7-17). The prophet taught persistently that God is ever closely watching the doings of nations and of men, and that He will reward or punish them in accordance with the eternal law of righteousness. The great lesson he has emphasised is, that every sinful nation, no matter how great and prosperous it may seem, will assuredly perish; that the real strength of a people consists in righteousness.
Many of these proud Israelites were sunk in the grossest impurity, as the clear-sighted shepherd from the desert quickly discovered. There was much social oppression, much greed of gain, much injustice done the destitute and helpless. The nobles turned judgment into wormwood, Amos declared. The judges sold the righteous to obtain money, and the poor for a pair of sandals. The princes put the day of calamity far off, and brought the seat of violence near. These were the influences which were working toward the downfall of the state.
Whilst he was doing his farm-work and attending to his fruit, a blast from heaven struck his deeper consciousness, and he stood up a prophet. The Lord will bring His prophets just as He pleases, and from what place He chooses. Amos was a field-hand, and yet he was fearless; he was all the more fearless because he was a field-hand. A farmer could not have been so fearless. Amos was a farm-labourer, yet he was equal to the occasion. Education is never equal to anything that is supremely great. There are times in human history when inspiration must go to the front — talent must go behind, genius must go into the first place.