PRAYER: Dear Lord, wake me morning by morning, wake my ear to listen like one being instructed. (Isaiah 50 4)
SCRIPTURE READING: Amos 7: 1-17
INSIGHT: Chapter 7, verses 1 to 9, mentions 3 consecutive visions. Amos gives a narrative of the first and the second vision (chapter 7, v. 1, 2, 4). Afterwards, the prophet cries out to the Lord for mercy (v. 2, 5). Lastly, God makes a decision (v. 3, 6). God shows His mercy every time and “relents”, and they are spared of the disaster.
But the third vision is different. The Lord says, “I will spare them no longer.” “No longer” is reminiscent of the first two visions (vs. 3, 6), which shows that the Lord gradually revealed His righteous wrath. This is because Israel’s behavior remained unchanged even after the first two disasters had passed. The previous disasters were averted, yet the Israelites still did not mend their ways. (It may also be assumed that there was an intermediate period between the first and third visions, as documented in chapters 1 to 6.) Thus, when Amos sensed the arrival of the third vision of destruction, he no longer prayed to stop the disaster; God’s mercy had been shown in the first two visions; and now in the third vision, He no longer “relents” nor commands the judgment to stop.
第一, 二個異象很簡短, 也沒有說出神降災的原因, 但第三個異象卻相對詳細, 明顯地阿摩司在這裏指出神降災的原因:
The first and second visions are short, and it doesn’t say why God is sending the disaster, but the third vision is relatively detailed, and Amos clearly points out here the reason why God is sending the disaster:
(1) 虛假的敬拜 — 以色列人不但是純粹只有外表、毫無實意的宗教行動, 達不到「那真正拜父的，要用心靈和誠實拜他，因為父要這樣的人拜他」(約四23)的要求。更而甚之, 祭司亞瑪謝: 「這裏有王的聖所，有王的宮殿」(13)。王的聖所不但是王敬拜之處，也是他權力的掌管下督導。王自己也可經理獻祭禮拜的事（參閱王上十二31-33）。這不是假冒為善、虛有其表的敬拜, 而是明目張膽地以王權取代神治、公然地違反「除了我以外，你不可有別的神」的第一誡。
(1) Fake Worship – The acts of worship of the Israelites were not only insincere, but they could not even achieve the requirements of John 4:23: “The true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” What’s more, the priest Amaziah said: “This is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” (v. 13). The king’s sanctuary was not only the place where the he worshiped, but it was under his authority, his control and supervision. The king himself could offer sacrifices and manage matters of worship (See 1 Kings 12:31-33). This is not only hypocritical worship, but ostentatious worship, blatantly using royal power to replace God’s sovereignty, openly violating the first commandment: “You shall have no other gods before me.”
(2) 扼殺神啟示 — 亞瑪謝禁止阿摩司: 「不要向以色列說預言，也不要向以撒家滴下預言」(16)。掩耳盜鈴、歪曲真理是好一個愚民政策。一方面在本地「給拿細耳人酒喝，囑咐先知說：不要說預言」(二12), 同時驅趕阿摩司的外來的屬靈資訊, 實行全面封鎖真理的啟示。
(2) Stifling God’s Revelation – Amaziah coerces Amos saying : “Do not prophesy against Israel, and stop preaching against the descendants of Isaac” (v. 16). Deceiving oneself and distorting the truth is a fool’s plan. On the one hand, internally: “Made the Nazirites drink wine and commanded the prophets not to prophesy.” (2:12) At the same time, driving away Amos’ external spiritual instructions.
撒旦引誘人的一個非常有效方法, 就是利用人「厭煩純正的道理，耳朵發癢」(提後四3)的傾向, 使他們成為「悖逆的百姓、說謊的兒女，不肯聽從耶和華訓誨的兒女。他們對先見說：不要望見不吉利的事，對 先知說：不要向我們講正直的話；要向我們說柔和的話，言虛幻的事。(賽
A very effective way which Satan uses to tempt people is to make them ” not put up with sound doctrine, and to hear what their itching ears want to hear.” (2 Timothy 4: 3), making them become “rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the Lord’s instruction. They say to the seers, ‘See no more visions!’ and to the prophets, ‘give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.’” (Isaiah 30:9-10)
by 洪同勉牧師 Rev. Tommy Hung