Wednesday, 6th July 2022
<To guardian.ng
Search
Breaking News:

Thinking Aloud On Prophets And Prophecies (1)

By Ernest Onuoha
12 July 2015   |   12:42 am
‘Amos answered Amaziah, I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd and I also took care of sycamore fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to these people, Israel …therefore, this is what the Lord says,’ Amos 7:14, 15,…
Ernest Onuoha

Onuoha

‘Amos answered Amaziah, I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd and I also took care of sycamore fig trees. But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to these people, Israel …therefore, this is what the Lord says,’ Amos 7:14, 15, 17.

THE Hebrew word ‘Nebim’ is a Semitic word and from it, the Arabs also derive their own word Anabi, which simply means a man of God. It means one who is a messenger and an intermediary between God, the Revealer and men, the receivers of such God’s direct messages. It is not something one thrusts upon oneself. It must of necessity be from God. That is why a prophet will always have the formula: ‘THUS SAYS THE LORD.’ In His call, therefore, there must be an occasion or circumstance that can make it explicit. From the passage, Amaziah, Bethel’s Priest, was envious of Amos’ popularity. He raised an alarm over Amos to King Jeroboam of Israel that he was raising a conspiracy against him and the land can no longer bear it, (Amos 7:10). Amaziah’s intention was to muscle out Amos and possibly attract attention to himself. However, this attitude is still prevalent today among the rank and file of prophets and ministers of the gospel, as each try to outdo the other. And because of this, we see a contest between light and darkness. But we are encouraged, however, that darkness will not overshadow the light in the long run. It should be noted that prophets are ordinary people called by God. As messengers, they are called to convey God’s will and mind to His people. Sometimes, we may see great reluctance in them, yet, the Caller, the all-knowing God, will still go ahead to use them. Remember Moses at the burning bush? Even his cry of not being eloquent was ignored. Also, Jeremiah’s appeal of being young was overruled, (Jer. 1v5).

And so in this instance, as a humble prophet, Amos put the records straight to the ambitious Amaziah. ‘I am neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son…’ I have nothing special to qualify me; yet, it pleased God to make me a prophet to the nations. Usually, it is to be noted that God’s ways are not like ours. He boasted that as the heavens are higher than the earth so are His thoughts to ours, (Psalm 103v11; Isaiah 55v9). Yes, Amos by every standard is ordinary, but it pleased God to enlist him into His service as a prophet. I can hear St. Paul saying: ‘God uses the foolish things of this world to shame the wise,’ (1 Cor. 1v27).

Interestingly, Amos was a Sycamore gatherer, a fruit farmer but souls were important to God, for He had said: ‘I do not delight in the death of a sinner rather that he might repent and live,’ (Ezek. 18v23, 32; 33v11). For God to achieve this aim for His people Israel, Amos was to be used as a messenger. Prophets, whether minor or major, whether former or later, as Theologians may wish to classify them, whenever they are called, they do have a message to convey to God’s people at the material time. What they carry, as the message, is a burden and must be delivered for the salvation of God’s people. Nevertheless, Amos was not a self-appointee, but was appointed by God as a mouthpiece. This is where many have missed it, calling themselves into an office not designated for them by God. Some now learn how to become prophets and through it prophesy. What does St. Paul say about the gifting we receive from the Lord? ‘And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,’ (Eph 4v11). He also noted incontrovertibly about doing the Lord’s work and offices in the church: ‘no one takes the honour unto himself, he must be called just as Aaron was,’ (Hew. 5:4). When God calls one, he has a stamp of authority. We will see what Amos did to Amaziah, as a proof that he was truly called by God.

Ven. Ernest Onuoha
Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State.
www.ibrucentre.org