Tuesday after the Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Amos 7:7-17 (NKJV)
7 Thus He showed me: Behold, the Lord stood on a wall made with a plumb line, with a plumb line in His hand. 8 And 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.
9 The high places of Isaac shall be desolate, And the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste. I will rise with the sword against the house of Jeroboam.”
10 Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. 11 For thus Amos has said:
“‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive from their own land.'”
12 Then Amaziah said to Amos: “Go, you seer! Flee to the land of Judah. There eat bread, and there prophesy.
13 “But never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the royal residence.”
14 Then Amos answered, and said to Amaziah: “I was no prophet, nor was I a son of a prophet, but I was a sheepbreeder and a tender of sycamore fruit.
15 “Then the LORD took me as I followed the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to My people Israel.’
16 “Now therefore, hear the word of the LORD: You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel, and do not spout against the house of Isaac.’
17 “Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Your wife shall be a harlot in the city; Your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword; Your land shall be divided by survey line; You shall die in a defiled land; And Israel shall surely be led away captive from his own land.'”
In the reading for today it is clear that the Lord had laid out a clear, straight line for His people to follow: They were to believe and follow the Word of God! As usual, the people ignored God’s Word, going their own way. God sent Amos to prophesy their destruction. The priest demanded that Amos no longer prophesy in the land, and Amos replied he had been sent by God and could speak only what God gave him to speak.
In Acts 13 this same problem comes up. Paul and Barnabas were preaching Christ to the Jews, and the Jews rejected their words. St. Paul replied, “It was necessary that the Word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (verse 46). There is that straight line again—the Word of God!
In the New Testament Church—the Church of today—the Word of God is still the straight line. It still stands as the plumb, the standard by which God works in His Church. The Church has no other standard. Just as the Old Testament prophets preached the Word in its truth and were rejected, so also pastors today continue to preach the Word in its truth and are also rejected.
But the Holy Spirit still comes and works in the hearts of the faithful where He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies His Church on Earth and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith.
We pray: Keep, we beseech You, O Lord, Your Church with Your perpetual mercy; and because the frailty of man without You cannot but fail, keep us ever by Your help from all things hurtful and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation. Amen.