(Part 2 of 21)
What is a layman? Laymen are the stuff churches are made of. They come in all sizes and all temperaments. They are God-fearing men and women whose influence reaches a long way. Neighbors love them, businesses respect them, and churches depend upon them. A layman can be a plumber, a doctor, a mechanic, a clerk, a nurse, a homemaker, a teacher, a Democrat, a Republican, or an Independent. They are everything that is Christ-like in this world. Laymen are the ones who can always find time to hold out a helping hand. Laymen stand strong for what is right and honest. Our nation needs strong anointed laymen to stand before the legislators and speak the truth.
Amos was a layman who spoke for God… He spoke of God’s justice and mercy and love. He warned against luxuries and the sin of self-indulgence. He preached that God would punish wrongdoing. He preached repentance and a need to be restored to the living God, in whom is true riches and prosperity. Judgment is no small thing. When it is about to fall upon a nation, it is time to stop everything and pray. Joel prophesies this in Joel 2:15-17. Isaiah prophesies that the Lord will come to Zion and bring to light every hidden thing of darkness (Isaiah 59:18-20, 1 Corinthians 4:5, Ecclesiastes 12:14, Ephesians 5:13). Also note Malachi 3:1-3; Isaiah 4:1-3, 66:5; Jeremiah 5:22; Ezekiel 26:16-18, 32:10; Daniel 6:26; Hosea 11:10-11; and James 2:19. When God comes, people will tremble. Judgment begins at the house of God first and then continues to the rest of the nation. In Isaiah 6:3, the seraphims cried “Holy, holy, holy” (KJV). God’s holiness was so bright that they covered their faces. Modern man scoffs at God’s holiness.
Amos was from Judah but prophesied to Israel… God called an unspoiled and plain man to rebuke a spoiled generation. Israel didn’t realize it, but she was sitting on a time bomb that was ready to explode. The prophetic word that came from Amos was God’s mercy coming to spare her from coming problems. Repentance was needed for her to survive. God was standing by to forgive. Our nation is also sitting on the time bomb of destruction. Judgment is coming upon her unless there is a turning towards God.
AMOS 1:1-8… The Lord roars… “The LORD will roar from Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem” (v. 2, KJV). We think that the devil is the roaring lion, but he is only “as” a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8). The Lord is the roaring lion. Isaiah 42:13 says, “He shall cry, yea, roar.” Jeremiah 25:30 says, “The LORD shall roar from on high.” Hosea 11:10 says, “He shall roar like a lion.“ Joel 3:16 says, “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion.” Revelation 5:5 says that Jesus is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. God’s roar terrorizes His enemies, immobilizes them, and gets their attention.
God roars through His prophets out of Zion (the church). God speaks through men. Amos was a layman. He could speak honestly and forcefully about what God was saying. If he had been a theologian, God might have bypassed him. Why? Because he might have relied on his own wisdom and his own opinions. God is going to roar through men and women like Amos, the layman. Our nation’s leaders are not listening to the preachers today. Just wait. The laymen are coming who will speak like Stephen, and the politicians will not be able to resist the Holy Spirit that is in them. Today, people prophesy in the churches the word that they should be prophesying on the Capitol steps. Believers are hearing what God is saying, but the politicians are not. The politicians are not in the church. The prophets are prophesying in the wrong places. They need to testify and to proclaim the Word of God, with power, in front of committees in Washington, D.C. God will roar against sin and iniquity. God is about to roar that sin will be judged in the nation, in the family, in the individuals, and in the churches. What caused God to roar? The sins of the nation (Amos 1:3-2:1-8). God roars eight times in these verses. He roars against six heathen nations and against Judah and Israel, the heathen world and the church world.
Amos 1:3-5… God roars against Damascus (present-day Syria), because they threshed Gilead with threshing instruments of iron. God never judges without a reason. God’s consuming fire is used. “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire” (Deuteronomy 4:24, KJV; Hebrews 12:29). Notice the phrase in Amos 1:3, “For three transgressions . . . and for four.” This refers to “for crime after crime” or “for multiplied sins.” Sin has a measure. In the Bible, chastening is used for correction but judgment is used when there is no repentance. The word “transgression” as used here means “to fall away, to break away, to turn away from God’s standard of righteousness.” The transgression of Damascus is referred to in 2 Kings 10:32-33, 13:3-7. The Syrian army destroyed Israel’s army “like the dust by threshing” (2 Kings 13:7). They used “threshing instruments of iron” (Amos 1:3). They rode over the bodies of Israel’s men with these heavy threshing instruments. God saw it all. Iron is classed as an instrument of cruelty. God judged Damascus for their excessive cruelty. If we oppress any person with cruelty, God, as a consuming fire, will get on our case.
(To be continued…)
Pastor George Belobaba
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