Amos 7, Ordinary

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Jerry Simmons shared this Overview Bible study from Amos on Wednesday, December 7, 2022 using the New King James Version (NKJV).

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As we look at Amos Chapter 7 tonight, we're jumping in the middle of the book, and because of the minor prophets are short. These are books we just kind of get to get a taste of in our services, and so we're jumping right into Chapter 7. But to give you a little bit of the historical context here, Amos is ministering to the Northern Kingdom of Israel. So this is after the nation of Israel has been split into two. The Northern Kingdom kept the name Israel. The southern Kingdom took the name Judah, and we spent a lot of time talking to you talking about Judah through the prophet Jeremiah and Isaiah. Those were ministers to that Southern Kingdom. But here in the minor prophets, we have a couple ministers and prophets to the northern Kingdom. Hosea was one of them. And now Amos is another one. And so Amos around 762 is bringing forth these prophecies to the Northern Kingdom as part of God's last call to the nation. Before their final destruction because of their rebellion against God, and so the Assyrian Empire is coming around 7:22 BC they're going to. Conquer the northern Kingdom and lead all of the inhabitants away captive and so here is Amos on the scene sent by the Lord to give the people of Israel an opportunity to repent and turn back to God before that happens. And so the announcements of judgments that we see here in this book, as well as the other prophets. I always like to remind us these are always invitations to repent just like Jonah was sent to Ninevah to announce judgment. But it was an invitation to repent. Amos is sent to Israel. He's announcing judgment, but he's also. So through the Lord, giving that invitation to repent and turn back to the Lord and be restored into fellowship with him. Well, as we look at Chapter 7. Though I'm gonna. Pay attention not so much to the prophecies of EMIS not so much to the history or the details, but what really caused me to stop and reflect. As I was reading through this passage, was Amos himself, and so I've titled the message here in Amos. Chapter 7 ordinary. It's not a very long title. I understand it's probably kind of plain and boring, and so it fits, it's ordinary. In fact, tonight I'll be sharing three points and. I would suggest. A 3 point message is pretty ordinary. That's a pretty basic structure for a sermon. This is kind of what we see with Amos we see. Ordinary, not super special. Not amazing. Not out of this world. Not surprising what we see in Amos himself. The Prophet is what you would describe as ordinary dictionary definition talking about ordinary. Says it's a. It's of a kind to be expected in the normal order of events, something that's ordinary is something that is to be expected, something that is normal, something that is normally happening normally occurring the the standard variety, nothing. Exciting or special about its ordinary. The word ordinary can also mean that it's of common quality, rank or ability. You can think about Amos as a individual as a human being. He was pretty common. Common quality, he wasn't of royalty. He wasn't of a priestly lying. He wasn't, you know, something special in that way. He was common quality. He was a common person, a common individual. His rank was common. He didn't have a high rank. He wasn't noteworthy in that way. And his ability was common, not to slight, you know, the prophecies that he brought forth. He made it into the scriptures, right? But but at the same time, he was just a regular guy. He was ordinary. And I even like to throw this one in there. Another variation on this definition is to be deficient in quality, not just acceptable normal quality, but ordinary can also kind of have that implication of. It's just kind of deficient. It's not really special. It's not really noteworthy or great. It's just. Plain ordinary. And that is Amos. He is ordinary. As we look at this tonight and Amos's testimony about himself. I am encouraged. I am challenged and I'm reminded of how we need to grasp hold of this concept. And remind ourselves, this is the right place for us to be to accept and embrace this idea. This term ordinary. And that God is evil. To take someone who is ordinary. And use them. To do the extraordinary God doesn't do the extraordinary with someone because they are extraordinary. He does extraordinary things with and through and in ordinary people, and so three points tonight as we think about this idea of ordinary thinking about Amos. Here the Prophet himself and his ministry that God called him two point number, one as we look at this is that God calls. Ordinary people. God calls ordinary people normal people, regular people. That's the kind of people that God calls into service and into his work that has huge impact for all of eternity. It's quite staggering when you think about it. Looking again at verse 12 through 14, it says then Amazon has said to Amos go. You seer flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread and their prophecy, but never again prophecy at Bethel, for it is the King's sanctuary, and it is the royal residence. Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, I was, no prophet. Nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheep breeder and a tender of Sycamore fruit. Here, as we look at these verses, we have this guy amaziah and he is in opposition to the Ministry of Amos. Amos has been prophesying for some time now, and so amaziah now responds. Emesia is a priest at Bethel. Now if you remember the history, the Northern Kingdom, when the. Split the king of the northern Kingdom was afraid of his people traveling down to Jerusalem, which was in the southern Kingdom, to go to the temple to worship God. And he thought, well, if people are going back to Jerusalem, going back to the southern Kingdom all the time, then I'm gonna lose my power. You know, as the. King of the northern Kingdom. It's going to be compromised, and So what he did this is Jeroboam he set up two altars, 2 golden calves, one at the northern tip of the nation, and then one at the South. Tip so Dan at the top and then Bethel at the bottom. And so this city. Bethel was the place the prominent place of the idolatry that was set up. And that was the primary worship for the nation, and so Amos is now there in this place of idolatry. Speaking on behalf of God and you can see throughout the rest of the book, he has some very stern things to say. He's not refined really. In his speech. He just kind of comes out and says things bluntly and a little bit crudely, but it's the word of the Lord to speak to the people and call them to repentance. And emasi as the priest. Now he's not a priest in the sense that he's a descendant of Erin, and he's a legitimate priest in the Levitical sense. But he is a priest. He serves at this idol therein. Still, he is warned the King of Israel, about Amos, and now he confronts Amos directly and says you need to get out of here. He calls him seer. You go away, Seer. And Aseer is another word for a prophet. Sometimes that was used, but you kind of get the sense here. It's not used as a term of respect. You know it's like Preacher is a real thing and you know you can call someone a preacher. But you can also call someone a preacher in a way that is disrespectful to them and you're letting them know. I don't really think you're a preacher or you don't speak for God, you know. And so. Amaziah is coming against Emus and saying, get out of here preacher, get out of here, Prophet, go back to the. Land of Judah. Now that's interesting about Amos is that he was not from Israel, he was from the. Land of Judah. And God called him out of Judah the Southern Kingdom, where the temple. Plays and where you know there were sometimes revivals and things were going well, but. He called them out of. That to go. To Israel. And to call them to repentance. So at Messiah saying go back to Judah, they're eat bread. And there's a little bit of an implication like don't you know, try to come here and make money on your prophecies. Go back home and you know, let your hometown provide for you their prophecy, but don't do it here. This is the King's. Amos, you're being disrespectful. This is where the king comes to worship the King of Israel, right? Not the King of Kings and and not a godly king, but this is where the king comes to worship. And so it's disrespectful. I'm offended by you're prophesying and the things that you're saying, and so you need to. Get out of here. You need to go away. Go back to Judah. And so it's a very serious threat to Amos, a very serious confrontation. So Amos responds and explains his. Story a little bit. He tells Amaziah in verse 14 I was no prophet. Here he is setting the stage so that Amazi will understand look. This is not a money making scheme. You know it's long. Been said if you want to get wealthy, start a religion that's a guaranteed way to become wealthy, right? But but he's. Saying look I? I wasn't a prophet, I wasn't, you know, just. Down there trying to make it as a profit and it just really wasn't working out, so I moved up here and trying to earn my living as a profit. Here I'm I'm not just kind of roaming around trying to find some get rich schemes, or some quick ways to to earn some money to make a profit as a profit. I I was. Not a profit. That's not my occupation. Before this experience, before this occurrence, I was not a prophet this. Is all new to me. I I was never prophesying before this, I was never in that ministry or used in that way. This is my first time being a prophet. And and I'm not the son of a. Prophet so you know like I know how it all works. You know cause I grew up, my dad being a prophet. So you know now here I am kind of walking in his sandals and following his footsteps and now being a prophet like my father was a prophet. My dad wasn't a prophet. I'm not a. I wasn't a prophet before this. Listen Emziah, I was a sheep breeder. I was a sheep breeder. That's not a. Technical, prominent position high up in the Kingdom. If you're not familiar with the term sheep breeder, it means that he was breeding sheep. He he wasn't ruling over the southern Kingdom. He he wasn't, you know, some prominent official. He was a guy out in the field working with sheep. And that really wasn't sufficient for him, so he had to get a second job. He was also a tender of Sycamore fruit. So in some ways you could say it this way, like he wasn't a good enough sheep breeder to, you know, just live off of that. He also had to do another job and tend to Sycamore fruit so he's working out in the Groves and he's working out in the field with the sheep and doing the combination of both of those things. He's able to make ends meet and so this is. The life of Amos prior to his call to be a prophet. And so he's explaining his background and he's saying look, I'm just a regular guy, I'm ordinary. I was not a prophet. I wasn't raised in prophetic ministry or around these kinds of things. I was just a guy out in the field working with sheep in the Groves taking care of Sycamore fruits. Amos explains here. I'm just a regular guy doing what God called me to do and he goes on. In the next. Verse to explain that God called me to do this, so that's what I'm doing. I'm not noteworthy. I don't have a legacy and a history of, you know, prophecy and ministry that gives me like the pedigree or the credentials. I was just out in the field with the sheep and. Lord began.

To speak to me.

This testimony of Amos. Reminds us that God calls ordinary people. The prophet Amos. Although he's one of the minor prophets, understand that doesn't make his ministry. Or his work minor. It's just referred to as minor prophets because they're shorter books than the major prophets, which are longer books, and they were grouped together in that way, and so it was just a way to categorize them to talk about the different scrolls that they would be pulling out as they would be working their way through the scriptures way back in the day. So minor prophets, but, but he's a prophet. Of the Lord. We'll see in just a moment. There's some incredible fruits from from his ministry and the the things that God has him involved in are quite staggering. When you when you stop and think about it. But he's just an ordinary guy. He was a sheep breeder out in the field. And that wasn't enough to sustain him financially, so he also worked out in the Sycamore grows and and was working with the fruit there. God calls ordinary people. He saw Amos. There's a regular guy out in the field, and he said that's the guy I'm. Going to use. It's not his hometown. It's not even like he was already conveniently placed. God says, I'm going to take him away from his field out of his Groves. I'm gonna send him across the border to the northern Kingdom and there he is going to speak forth my word not because there was something special, not because he had some prominent position. He was just an ordinary guy. Paul tells us in First Corinthians chapter one. Is as you. See, you're calling brethren that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise. And God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty, and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised God is. Chosen and the things which are not to bring to nothing. The things that are that no flesh should glory in his presence. Paul, talking to the Corinthians, who had some struggles with pride, spiritual pride and aligning with you know the different apostles that they wanted to identify with. And fights and battles between each other because of their pride and and their their immaturity in their. Relationship with the Lord. He says Corinthians, you guys need to remember, look around and recognize. There's not many mighty that are called. Look around at the work that God is doing. It's not typically done by someone who is noteworthy. It's not typically done by someone who is noble. Someone who is outstanding in some way. Typically the work of God is done. Well, the way God has chosen to do it is with the foolish things of the world. He's chosen to use the foolish. He's chosen to use the weak. So that the wise are put to shame that the mighty are put to shame because God uses the weak and the foolish the base. Of this world, the ordinary. The things which are despised God has chosen. And and I like Paul's conclusion there in verse 29 that no flesh should glory.

In his presence.

If you, if you understand that's the objective of God. All of this makes a lot of sense. If the objective is that no person can glory in the presence of God, it makes sense that God doesn't say listen. You are so talented. I need you for my work. And then for the rest of eternity, that person could say the Lord picked me because I was so talented. I was so special. I had such awesome characteristics and qualities and they could glory in his presence. But the objective of the Lord is no. No flesh can glory in my presence. And so I'm going to choose the ordinary. The regular. Not the unusual, not the spectacular, not the noble, not the mighty. I'm gonna choose the ordinary. Understand that it's a rare thing. For God to use great people. It's a rare thing. God using ordinary people, that's not rare, that's normal. Or you could say ordinary like that's God's normal approach to his work to ministry to what he wants to do to things that have impact for all of eternity. God chooses ordinary people. For that, that's the normal thing that God does. It's the rare occasion where there is someone that has some type of special. You know, standing special features, special circumstances, and then God says, OK, I'm going to use you pick you for doing my work. That's that's unusual. That's rare. But you know what's even more rare than God using a great person? What's even more rare than God using a great person is for there to be someone who is too ordinary for God to use. In other words. It's impossible. Like we need to be reminded. God uses ordinary people and and it doesn't mean like you're the the one that is even less than ordinary. There is nobody who is excluded from being part of the work of the Kingdom of God, and being part of God's plans and purposes like that's the point. There is no one too little. It's rare for God to use someone great, and it's even more rare for there to be someone too little for God to use. In actuality, it's impossible there is nobody. Too little. Too insignificant for the work and the purposes of God. A few chapters later in First Corinthians chapter 12. Paul explains this using the illustration of the body, saying those members of the body which we think to be less honorable. On these we bestow greater honor, and our presentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the the body, having given greater honor to the part which lacks it. That there should be no schism in the body, but that the Members should have the same care for one another. Paul goes on to make this point very solidly here in Chapter 12, so if that's something you want to pursue, you can spend some more time in the surrounding verses as well. But the point here is that God composed the body he designed and engineered the body, putting it all in its proper place. Each one of us in their exact position as a part of his work, his body, his Kingdom. And there are parts that seem to have less honor. There are parts that and, and maybe that seeming is done by ourselves looking in the mirror and we think. Well, this is the part that has left on it. Less on it right here. This is the one I'm looking at in the mirror. It has less on it. It has you. Know not much value and. It's too insignificant. And yeah, I don't really have any kind of part in the body of Christ. In the work of God. But here what Paul instructs us is that no, no. The parts even that seem to be less honorable. God has designed things in such a way that actually those. Have greater honor. Those actually are more important than we esteem them or the than we give them credit for. And we might look at somebody else and think, yeah, but look at that position. Look at their role. Look at how they are and man they are extraordinary. And I'm just ordinary and the Lord says, actually, there's nobody who is ordinary in the sense that they are not useful. They're not part of the work everyone has. A unique place in the work of God and in the Kingdom of God that's formed and fashioned just for them. Perfectly designed. And for each one of us. God calls ordinary people and he gives them significant parts in his Kingdom and in his work. Think about the disciples. Is there any doubt about? Their ordinariness they were ordinary guys. And we'll be reminded of that as we hit the Gospel of Luke in January. The disciples. We're not great. They were not mighty, they were not noble. They were just regular. Guys and before the end of the gospel, before the book of Acts takes place before the baptism of the Holy Spirit, their ordinariness is very evident. They're making mistakes. They're saying dumb things. They're misrepresenting Jesus, they're. They're just regular people trying to find their way. They've found the Messiah and they believe in him, but they are mixed up still and confused and. Kind of bumbling around fumbling around, trying to figure things out. You can work your way through. Hebrews Chapter 11, known as the Hall of Faith. And look at each of these examples of faith and you know we kind of lift them up as these prominent people of faith. And yet, if you want to, you can walk through each of those names mentioned in the Hall of faith and revisit their story and recognize each one of them were really just ordinary people. They they were not extraordinary people. They they were regular people who. Had issues and failures and made mistakes. You can take Abraham for an example. Great men of faith. I mean, Scripture is written about him. His belief in God was credited to him as righteousness and is the foundation for the the doctrine of salvation by faith and grace by faith. Like wow, like what a a great cornerstone that Abraham is in the doctrine of salvation. And the work of God towards us. Yet at the same time, this is the same guy who was. So, doubting in God's protection that he convinced Sarah to lie about whether or not they were married to try to protect him from being killed in the land of Egypt and and so there was a couple times in his life where he had to instruct her. He just say that you're my sister, because you know. I'm a little bit of fearful of them trying to kill me just to to take you and so, but if you say you're my sister and they like you well, then they'll treat me well cause you know, they're hoping that they can to to obtain you and so he. Behaved in a way that was foolish. And yet he is the man of faith who. Was accounted righteous because of his faith in God, right? He was an ordinary guy. He didn't stay there, he didn't live his life out that living that lie the whole time, right? And so as you walk through the different people of faith, each one of them you can see that they were ordinary. But but you can also see they didn't start out where they ended up. And they didn't end up where they started. It wasn't that they were. Extraordinary, and they just kept getting better. They were ordinary. And then as they encountered the Lord, and walked with the Lord, they matured. And so there was maturing that took place. There was growth that took place. And so although they failed, they didn't always live in that failure. They still had weakness though. That's the point. God worked in their lives and matured them. They didn't stay in that place of immaturity. The disciples. The way they started was not where they were at the end. They grew, they developed and the Lord worked in their lives and transformed them. To be the men and women that we kind of look up to and to seem and go. Wow, they're pretty great, but the problem is sometimes we see that end result and we think they were always that way. Yeah, Peter was always that man of faith that bold preacher, but you know it was days earlier that he was broken by a little girl who. Was questioning him. The The the Lord transformed them as they walked and and we must not forget. We must not lift people up on pedestals and think. Well, they didn't have the kind of struggles that I have. Apostle Gens, and apostle John. Surely they didn't have less full thoughts. Surely they didn't have to deal with anger and wrath and losing their temper. Surely they didn't have to have these kinds of emotional struggles and doubts. Surely they didn't. But they did. You remember James and John got the nickname sons of Thunder by Jesus because they had some temper issues. They they they were, they were pretty ferocious when they, when they, well, if they they could be if if they were unguarded and let go. They wanted to call down fire from heaven to wipe out a talent because. They didn't receive Jesus on the way to Jerusalem.

They were ordinary.

They had real struggles. They had real battles they had. Issues with sin and struggles in their mind struggles in their hearts. Who in all of the scriptures that you see men and women used by God, who is not ordinary? That's probably a shorter list if you want. To try to make that list. If you list out all of the different people that God has used throughout all of history, that's going to be a long list. When you're listing the ordinary people. But if you list the ones. Who were not ordinary? Of course you would think of. Jesus, not ordinary. Born differently, virgin birth, right God, who became man? That's definitely not ordinary. Maybe you could lump in there. John the Baptist. You know, an Angel announced his birth. From birth. He was to be set apart for the ministry that he was called to to prepare the way for the Lord. Maybe John the Baptist you could put into. The category of not ordinary. Now of course we would still know that he was human and so. Even then, he's still ordinary. You can think about Samson, right. The Lord announced the birth of Samson said he would be at nazarite from birth. Special regulations about how he would conduct himself, how he would eat, and how his hair should be kept. And yeah, that's that's not typical. I don't know if Angels announced. Your birth ahead of time and gave you a special diet for you to follow the rest of your life. But that didn't happen to me. Happened to Samson. And yet, at the same time we. Find him, he's ordinary. He's human. He's got issues and failures. Who who is not ordinary. It's really just Jesus. Everybody else are regular people. With regular struggles. Regular capabilities regular. Tendencies and traits. We see the. End result sometimes and we give them far.

Too much credit.

And sometimes we compare ourselves to them and we think. Yeah, they they were always that way. You know sometimes we do that with people around today. We think about you know spiritual leaders. We think about prominent Christians in the world and we think, wow, yeah, they they don't have those kinds of struggles. They don't have those kinds of battles. They don't deal with things like. I deal with. I would suggest you need to be reminded.

God calls ordinary people.

He just uses regular people. The kind to be expected in. The normal order of events. Non spectacular people. Ordinary common, regular, common quality, common rank, common ability. There's that saying you know God doesn't. Called the qualified, he qualifies the called. Another way to put that is God's calling is God's enabling. It's not that God uses people because they're so talented. He calls people because they're so ordinary. So that no flesh can glory in his presence. Remember that's the objective. That's what he's going for that no flesh would glory in his presence. And so if we have anything that is extraordinary and noteworthy and impressive. Then now we're competing with the Lord. And we're saying, well, the Lord can use me, because listen. I'm great. Don't you know how great I am? Now, no God calls ordinary people. Well, let's move on to .2 looking at verse 15, God calls people doing ordinary things. Not only does God call ordinary people, but he calls ordinary people who are going about the process of doing ordinary things. Verse 15 says, then the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said to me, go prophesy to. My people, Israel. What was Amos doing when God called him? We know what he was. He was a sheep breeder. He was just a regular guy in the field working. And what was he doing at the time? It says, then the Lord took me as I followed the flock. As I followed the flock, I'm hanging out with the sheep. And then the Lord took me. And the Lord said, go prophesy to my people, Israel. Amos is doing the thing. He does as an occupation. That's what he's doing. When God gives. Him this special Commission this special call. And says now you're a prophet to the Nation of Israel. Faithfulness in the little things is always significant to the Lord. Faithfulness in you could say the ordinary things. This is what Amos was doing. He was being diligent and faithful as a sheep breeder, with the sheep doing his job. And it was in that place.

That God called him to be a prophet.

The prophet Elijah. And his. Successor the prophet Elijah. They had the school of prophets. And so there was a gathering of disciples who were. Seeking to be prophets. Learning to be prophets, and gathering together to seek the Lord. For for the role and the gift of prophecy, and. That wasn't wrong. But we don't have. Any scriptural examples? Of all of the prophets that came out of that school of prophecy. We do have Amos, who is out in. The field with the sheep. Is ordinary. He didn't go to seminary. He didn't go to the school of prophets. He was out in the field. And God said, go prophesy. To my people, Israel again thinking about the disciples. The disciples, when Jesus called them, were doing ordinary things. Matthew Chapter 4. Tells us that Jesus is walking by the Sea of Galilee. He sees two brothers, Simon and Andrew. And what are they doing? They're casting a net into the sea. For they were fishermen. They're casting a net into the sea. Well, that's their occupation. That's how they make a living. They're doing normal things, ordinary things. They're fishing because they're fishermen. It's not even like just for a hobby, they're not just out. You know. At in Bishop, you know having a good time enjoying nature and just worshipping God and throwing a a line in the water. They're just doing. Their job, they're fishermen, so they're out casting a net because, well, that's. What they do? The fisherman, so they're casting a net and Jesus said, follow me and I will make you fishers of men. They immediately left their Nets and followed him. Going from there, he saw two other brothers, James, the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their Nets. He called them and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. So James and John are mending the Nets. Why are they mending the Nets? Well, you know they had this really compelling ministry to perform. To mend the Nets of the poor, and so they're out. No, that this is their occupation. They're fishing and the the fishing Nets would get worn out. Would get caught on rocks and coral and things and so they would get torn and they would have to be mended. They'd pull out fish, you know out of the Nets and. Things would get cut, so they had to tie things back together and mend the Nets, and so they're mending the Nets, because that's. Their job, that's what they do to occupy them. Selves to provide for themselves and so here they are, minding their Nets, doing their job, doing something ordinary. Simon and Andrew casting out Annette because that's what they are. They're fishermen doing the ordinary. They're doing ordinary things, and the Lord says, follow me. He didn't find people who were doing extraordinary things in society and say, wow, you guys are doing such great things for the nation of Israel. You should be my disciples come follow me and we'll do even greater things now. They're just doing their jobs. They're they're doing the normal, everyday things. That are the right things for them to. Do as they. Work to provide for themselves and their family. He called one guy who is doing his job collecting taxes. Matthew Chapter 9. He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. He said to him, follow me. So he arose and followed him. What was Matthew doing? He was doing his job tax collector, collecting taxes, sitting at the booth. It was his office. He was there in the office on time where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be.

And Jesus said.

Follow me. I'm calling you. You're going to be involved in my work. And have a. Special role in the things that are about to take place. We could look at many. More examples God called people tending a flock. A lot like. Amos Moses back in Exodus Chapter 3. What was he doing when he saw? The burning Bush. While he was out there leading this, you know, great social campaign to really feed the poor of the Midianites and. No, he was out there taking care of sheep to provide for himself and provide for his family. And the Lord appeared to him in the flame in the Bush. I said you're standing on holy Ground I'm calling you commissioning you to lead my people.

Out of Egypt.

Elisha the. Servant and successor to Elijah. When he was called, he was out in the. Field plowing oxen? Because there was this, you know, real great opportunity to. Plow fields for the poor, and so he was out there. Just no he was. Doing his job, taking care of his field, plowing the field so that he could then. Farm the field and harvest the crop he he was doing. His normal ordinary regular routine. And Elijah came and threw his mantle on him. His cloak on him, and said.

You're called to be a prophet.

God calls people doing ordinary. This is important for us to grab hold of, to embrace and to accept because first of all we need to recognize. God calls ordinary people. Now we could think, well, OK, I'll accept that I'm ordinary and God calls ordinary people. But you know God's going to be working with ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things. You know they're really just. They've got a great cause in front of them and they're really fantastic at putting that together. And you know, stirring up support and and making things happen. And they're just really doing amazing things even though they're ordinary people. And so it's. It's great, you know how extraordinary the things that they're doing as ordinary people. You know, I'm an ordinary person doing ordinary things, and so you know, I'm just not really that kind of person that God would use because he likes to use ordinary people doing extraordinary things. No, that's not actually how God works. God calls people. Out of the ordinary normal, you might even say boring routine of life. But those who are being faithful in the ordinary things. Are prime candidates. For God to Commission and call into an incredible work for his glory ordinary things, the kind to be expected in the normal order of events. What's to be expected? Going out to eat. Making a meal at home. Going to the. Grocery store and shopping for food. Going to work, putting in your 40 hours a week, 4550 hours a week, driving home on the freeway. Going to sporting events. Going to different activities. Attending church like the the Normal. Ordinary things of life. Those are the normal ordinary things.

Of life.

And those are the things that we are to be doing and to be faithful in those ordinary things in those little things. And to understand that. We don't have to do something extraordinary. To be able to be part of God's work in God's Kingdom and to be invited to something that has eternal value and to a a work and and a reward that has eternal value. It's not ordinary people doing extraordinary things. It's ordinary people doing ordinary things and from. There, God says alright, I'll get the glory. If they respond to my call. I'll get the glory. It will be evident it's my work. And not. Their work. As he, as he stood before the Lord in Isaiah Chapter 6, heard the voice of the Lord, saying, whom shall I? Send and who will go for us? Then he said here I am send me. And God said, you know, what? Isaiah, you're right. You are quite extraordinary. I don't know how I ever lived without you or accomplished anything without all of your skills and amazing profits. You know I'm going to make you a profit because look at how much of a profit you already are. No, just prior to this Isaiah was saying I'm undone, I'm unclean and I'm dwelling in the midst of unclean people and God cleansed him. And then lead out the opportunity to see if. Isaiah would respond. He doesn't even say Isaiah go, he says. Who will go for us? He just lays out the invitation. Listen, this is how God continues to work his work. Is a volunteer work now God is our master and we are his servants and we are to do what he commands. That's that's all true, but at the same time, God consistently gives us the choice and the opportunity, and he invites us to the work. He doesn't force us to it. And so the question still goes out, whom shall I send and who will go for us? And and one of the reasons why this passage in Amos is noteworthy and stands out to me in this way, and I'm spending all this time talking about it tonight. Is because I think that many times what we do. In response to that, whom shall I send, and who will go for us is we look around at yeah? Who are you? Going to send Lord. Because I'm ordinary. Like it can't be me, I just do ordinary things. I'm just doing regular things. I just have, you know, average talents, average speaking ability, average you know, ability to comprehend things, average ability to. To read to write. I I'm I just I I'm just ordinary. So yeah, who will go for you? Lord, I don't. Know yeah I'm looking around trying to find somebody else to go. Maybe Josh should go. As we understand, the Lord is saying, whom shall I send? And who will go for us? We really ought to be in the place. Saying here I am send. Me. I mean I'm ordinary. I don't have much to offer. My hands are empty. But I'm yours. If you want to use me here I am send me. God calls people. Who are ordinary doing ordinary things, and then he equips them and enables them? To do things that are well beyond. Their own capacity and capability, and that's point #3 tonight God gives people extraordinary opportunity. Ordinary people doing ordinary things have extraordinary opportunity by the work of God and the grace of God and. So I want. To walk through these verses here verses one through 9 gives us this Third Point. And we're not going to get into great detail, Indies, but there's some really interesting things to consider. Check out verses one through three, it says. Thus the Lord God showed me, behold, he formed locust swarms at the beginning of the late crop. Indeed, it was the late crop after the King's mowings, and so it was when they had finished eating the grass of the land that I said, oh Lord, God, forgive, I pray. Oh, that Jacob may stand, for he is small. Verse 3 so the Lord relented concerning this. It shall not be said, the Lord. Here in these first verses. Verses one through 9 Amos is recording for us some visions that he has from the Lord. There's a series of three visions. Here's the first one in verses. One through 3. And this is a vision of locusts that are gathering and like preparing to devour now locusts could be a terrible plague like we saw in Egypt, because they would come in, and they would just devour all of the vegetation. All of the crops and just leave, you know, no food. Behind as they just came into the swarm, and so this is the kind of picture that Amos is seeing in this vision. Notice he says in verse one. Thus the Lord God showed me. So what we're seeing here is not an event that was happening. We're seeing a vision that the Lord is showing to Amos. He sees the locust swarms. And the timing is significant at the beginning of the late crop. The leak crop is after the Kingdom. Now, not being, you know, farmers, really, we don't really pick up on these. Things necessarily, but. The King's Mowings is referring to the taxes, essentially the first pick of the field. Had to go to the king, had to be paid his taxes just like you get your check and when you get your check, if you're employed by an employer already, by the time you get your check, the King's mowings have been taken out right, called FICA or whatever. They're there's withholdings that are already taken out. And then you get the rest. And so the idea here is the locusts are forming after that has taken place. So picture your farming, you have land you have. Whoa, look at this great crop we have. It's going to feed us for the whole season. All right? Thank you Lord and. And so we go through the field. We get the King's tax and we give that away. And then the locusts come in, and. Justice devour the field. So we've already paid our taxes. But now we have nothing left because it was devoured by the locusts. That's the picture that the Lord is showing Amos. When they had finished eating the grass. Of the land. In this vision. He miss says, oh Lord, forgive.

I pray.

Oh, that Jacob may stand, for he is small. This vision prompts. Amos to pray. For the nation of Israel.

Referred to here as Jacob.

When he sees the devastation, that's about to unfold. He sees what is about to take place. This judgment that is about to be brought. It hasn't happened. The God shows Amos. This is what is. About to happen. And as he's watching this, he's horrified. By the hurt, the damage, the pain.

The difficulty that the.

People will be in.

If this goes forward.

So he says, Lord, please have mercy, please forgive. They're not going to be able to survive if this happens. They're small this nation. Has expanded territory, but they're they're not strong, they're weak. They won't survive. That kind of devastation. And so he prays. And then verse three tells us something remarkable, something incredible. So the Lord relented. Imus praise Lord forgive, I pray. So the Lord relented. Why did the Lord relent? Because Amos prayed. The implication here is is very clear and very strong. If emos Saw that vision and said haha. Finally they're gonna get what's coming to them. Oh man, they're going to suffer so much when those locals come through. It's gonna be great to just watch them starve. If his heart was different and he wasn't prompted to pray. The implication here. The impression that we get is. That would have gone forward. Amos is the guide the Lord is showing this to you God. Chooses to show him. This vision it's an invitation. For Amos to be engaged. In the work of God. And to be to be part of the deliverance. By having pity, having compassion and praying for them. I often share that whenever God announces judgment, it is always an invitation to repent. I think we can add a little bit of an addendum on to that when God shows judgment to righteous people, it's always an invitation to intercede. There's an invitation to repent to those who need it, but there's an invitation to intercede to those who are walking with the Lord. And and there is here this clear understanding that that it it is a meaningful invitation. It's not a meaningless invitation. But it's because Amos prayed. The Lord relented concerning this. Because Amos engaged and allowed his heart to be moved, he. He made an impact. And the nation of Israel, the northern Kingdom. The Wicked Kingdom, experience of mercy and patience from God. Because Amos. Prayed while moving on to verses 4. Through six. Thus the Lord God showed me, behold, the Lord God called for conflict by fire. And it consumed the great deep and devoured the territory. Then I said, O Lord, God, cease, I pray, or that Jacob may stand, for he is small. So the Lord relented concerning this this also. Shall not be. Said the Lord God. Same pattern. The Lord shows him a vision. Bible scholars kind of debate about what exactly the vision is. What's a conflict by fire? Is it a conflict or is it a fire? Is it a famine? There's a lot of ideas you can wrestle with that, but it really doesn't matter, because here's the thing. There's this calamity that God shows him in a vision. This is about to happen. It prompts Amos to say, oh, Lord, God, don't do it please, I pray. That Jacob may stand, for he is small. And it again says, so the Lord relented concerning this. This also shall not be. This was going to be, but now Amos you've prayed, this shall not. Be amos's prayers made an impact and a difference. You know sometimes we pray and it feels like.

It did nothing.

And we might feel that way. That doesn't mean that it's the reality. We need to be reminded. That God gives us the invitation and the opportunity to pray, and to intercede and to be involved in his work, to a mighty degree and thousands of people are impacted. Because you responded. To the Lord in prayer. Pastor David Guzik says this is another amazing example of how much rests upon prayer. We may debate endlessly how this incident reflects on the issues of predestination and human responsibility. But clearly we're left with the impression that the plague either came or was held back based on the prophet's prayer. Yeah, this could stir up some doctrinal discussions and debates, and we could wrestle over things, but but you can't walk away from the clear impression that God is giving here. It's clear the Lord wants us to know the prayer of Amos made an impact. Here's an ordinary guy who was doing ordinary things when God called him. And God showed him these visions to prompt him to pray. And as he prayed, it made a significant impact.

For the nation of Israel.

James tells us in James Chapter 5. That famous verse, verse 16, the fervent prayer of a righteous man, avails much. Prayer can be a powerful. Opportunity for us to engage in the work of God, but again, we wrestle with that. Sometimes I go well, yeah, that's great, effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much, you know. So when I find a righteous man, I better ask them to pray. Sometimes people will approach me. Can you pray cause you know effective firm prayer of a righteous man avails much that that's not the point of this. The point isn't find that one righteous man and and ask them to pray. The point is, you righteous by. Faith in Jesus Christ. Have opportunity to pray and have it make an impact in the world and in the work of God and and you can see that in the next verse when he says Elijah was a man with a nature like ours. And he prayed, earnestly, that it would not rain.

It did not rain in the land for.

Three years and six months, and he prayed again and the heaven gave rain and the Earth produced its fruit. Here's exhibit A. For event. Effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much exhibit a Elijah ordinary guy. Called to be a prophet. Prayed earnestly, he was not more righteous than you. And the Lord answered his prayers made a huge impact on the nation. It didn't rain for three years because he prayed. Now we must not get the impression, of course, that that means. We can accomplish our will because, you know, we're so extraordinary and our plans are so perfect and so we just pray what we? Want and we get everything that we want. Elijah prayed in accordance with the will of. God Amos prayed in accordance with the will of God, but both of them had the opportunity. Had the invitation to be part of the work of God, and to make an impact on the work of God because they engaged with God and the work that he called them to, and so their effective, fervent prayers. Availed much Because they responded to what the Lord was saying, but Elijah was ordinary. That's the point. Just like you, Elijah is just like you. He had mental struggles, emotional struggles. He had sinful tendencies and desires, he had cravings and things that were not of God. He he had ideas that were good ideas but not God ideas. Not the best ideas he. He was ordinary. Just like us. Just like you. The Lord told Ezekiel the Prophet talking about the judgment that was coming upon the nation in Ezekiel's time, and the Lord tells how he sought for a man who would make a wall stand in the gap on behalf of the land that I should not. Destroy, but I found no one. Like Amos is standing in the gap here in Chapter 7, but. In Ezekiel's day, God says, I tried to find someone, but I found there was number intercessor. No one who is praying. For the people in accordance with my.

And so the destruction came. The judgment came.

Because nobody was filling that role. God gives people extraordinary opportunity. Ordinary people have extraordinary opportunity to pray.

And to be a huge part of. God's work.

We can see this over and over again, but I want to finish up with verses 7 through. Thus, he showed me, behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a Plumb line, with a Plumb line in his hand. The Lord said to me, Amos, what do you see? And I said, a Plumb line. Then the Lord said, behold, I am setting a Plumb line in the midst of my people, Israel. I will not pass by them anymore. The high places of Isaac shall be a desolate shall be desolate, and the sanctuaries of Israel. To be laid waste I will rise with the sword against the House of Jeroboam. Not only is there this extraordinary intercession, but. I would also say there's extraordinary gifting here. He gives him another vision and there's a message with the vision. The Plumb line it's not an invitation for Amos to pray. This time. It's a message for Amos to deliver, and he goes on. That's one of the interactions that he has with Amaziah and the king. And he's. Delivering the message he's gifted by the Lord to bring forth the word of the Lord to the people of Israel. And it's something that is important to be mindful of the work of God has always done. By the Gifts of God. And everyone has opportunity. To be enabled and equipped by the Lord for the work that he calls them to. And so if it's visions that you need God's going to give you visions, if it's words of prophecy, words of exhortation. If it's words of knowledge or words of wisdom, if it's mercy, or if it's finances to exercise the role of giving whatever you need God's going to. Supernaturally gift you. To enable you to fulfill the extraordinary opportunity. That he's setting before you God gives people extraordinary opportunity, and so this evening, I pray that Amos encourages you. To be reminded, God uses ordinary people regular.

People like Amos.

Like Moses like Elijah.

Like anyone of us.

It's not extraordinary for God to use ordinary people.

That's actually the normal thing.

It's rare to find someone who is extraordinary and find you know God working through them, that that's someone who's extraordinary without God, there's there's something amiss. There's something missing that's going to come out later on.

But it's the ordinary people. The regular people.

God says I can use you to do great and mighty things to do extraordinary. Work for the Kingdom of God that impacts.

10S and hundreds and thousands and 10s of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people.

That's the kind of people God uses to do that work. So don't count yourself out. Don't just. Say yeah, Lord, who are you going to send? I encourage you say here I am Lord send me and that means that you seek the Lord. That means you repent of sin, that it means you, you know, grow and develop and respond as God speaking to your heart. That's that's part of being available. But, but don't count yourself out. Listen, God wants to.

Utilize your life.

To make a great impact for all of eternity and so be involved in intercession.

Be involved in exercising your gifts.

Be involved in your ordinary daily routine. Faithfulness to the Lord, faithfulness and the little things.

Because it's that kind of person. The ordinary person.

Being faithful. In whatever role God is given to them.

That God chooses.

To give more opportunities to. And have extraordinary impact on the world. On the Kingdom of God and on all of eternity would we thank you. That you're so. Gracious and merciful. Towards us in our ordinariness Lord in our humanity and our deficiencies and failures. And Lord, not only do You forgive us and wash us and cleanse us.

But then you enlist us.

And Lord, we get to have the privilege of serving you and being part of something meaningful and valuable. Or it really doesn't make sense why you would do it.

That way, but it's what you have declared it's.

The way you've chosen to. Work you could do things. So much better and more efficiently without us.

Would you patiently?

Train US and raise us up and call us and invite us. To be part of your work.

Help us Lord.

To be like Amos.

To hear your call. And to respond.

To accept our ordinariness

But to let it prompt us to trust and rely. Upon you and your resources.

But I pray that you would fill us with your Holy Spirit. Empower us.

To pray.

To serve to work.

And to be faithful in the little things. That you've called this to. Pray this in Jesus name.