**Forewarning: this blog post completely changed from ‘Silence is beautiful and we need more of it…’ following a really ‘happy’ blog post, to what you read here. Beware, it wasn’t me…it was the one I serve. If you are looking for beautiful silence, probably find a different blog…because the silence you read here is a bit dangerous.**
Amos. He’s in the Bible, I checked. It helps when God keeps bringing scripture forward from this obscure book everywhere. His name in Hebrew also means ‘burden’ as in lifting or carrying a burden. Appropriate for a prophet I think, because with the words they are burdened with from God…they cannot rest in silence.
Amos is the book of the Bible right after Joel and before Obadiah.
Who the hell is Obadiah?!?! I said the same thing, and he only had a page in my Bible, so I felt a better about not quickly recollecting his words. Bible fact of the day: Obadiah is the shortest book in the Bible with 21 verses.
Have you heard of minor prophets? Well, they weren’t minor because they were less important…they are just smaller books. Isaiah had to be wordier, he was predicting Jesus…a lot!
We blogged about prophets earlier in our Lent journey, but it is important to note that God called prophets to speak, and to not follow the beliefs and ways of the nations they were calling out. Then they had the beautiful opportunity to proclaim the message of salvation and coming glory…the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.
Amos’ carried a message for God’s people to return to his ways…instead of their current perverted sense of religion and complete lack of justice.
Amaziah, priest at the shrine at Bethel, sent a message to Jeroboam, king of Israel: “Amos is plotting to get rid of you; and he’s doing it as an insider, working from within Israel. His talk will destroy the country. He’s got to be silenced. Do you know what Amos is saying? ‘Jeroboam will be killed. Israel is headed for exile.’
Then Amaziah confronted Amos: “Seer, be on your way! Get out of here and go back to Judah where you came from! Hang out there. Do your preaching there. But no more preaching at Bethel! Don’t show your face here again. This is the king’s chapel. This is a royal shrine.”
But Amos stood up to Amaziah: “I never set up to be a preacher, never had plans to be a preacher. I raised cattle and I pruned trees. Then God took me off the farm and said, ‘Go preach to my people Israel.’ [Amos 7:10-15 MSG]
They wanted to silence Amos’ message against greed, injustice and self-righteousness. Their society was incredibly materialistic to the point that the wealthy were setting themselves way above the peasant class, and only using their wealth to improve their own gain.
Amos gave a message with absolute clarity that God hated evil and was going to punish injustice.
Thinking of anything familiar?
Our culture has pigeon-holed us into a corner that makes us feel like our beliefs might offend someone. That we should be quiet and that we have no business forcing our beliefs on others. Even when those beliefs include setting right the wrongs in this world.
I had lunch with some students today, and one was sharing that she wasn’t going to Tweet during the showing of the Bible Series anymore. When we pushed her for why, she said, ‘I lost 4 followers because I was tweeting about the Bible.’
If we live in a world where God’s message and conversation are no longer welcome, are we really okay with not push against those enforced boundaries? Do we let it slide and decide we shouldn’t use social media to spread the message and truth of God? Do we sit in our buildings, our homes…in silence?
Let me just say, it’s against my nature to let it slide. It is, however, in my nature to push against boundaries and has been since I was a toddler. Just didn’t grow out of it, I guess.
And I am definitely not perfect, by any stretch of the word.
But when it comes to my beliefs, who I serve and why I serve Him…I’m sure as hell going to push back on anyone who says I shouldn’t be sharing.
I believe in being in relationships with others, and that God created us for community.
To learn from one another. To share our stories with one another.
I am not intrusive with my beliefs. (At least I don’t think I am…maybe I really am one of the crazy ones others find intimidating.) But you could say I am intrusive with my actions, because I am going to care about people that no one cares about. I am going to love people that some say I have no business loving. I am going to talk about the reality of God’s Kingdom. I choose to embrace my God given missional impulse. And I am going to fight against the injustice in this world, because things in this world are really screwed up and God never intended it to be this way.
Stand up. Do not be content with silence. Speak God’s message through relationships that matter. Choose to see the world through God’s eyes, instead of the eyes that are conditioned to our culture.
Amos called out God’s people for not caring about the things that mattered and I think we can learn from his lack of silence.
Care to join? Think wisely…you might just be told you shouldn’t.