Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sacrilegious audacity

I'm working on a preach on Amos 7 for our church soon. I'm really struck by the attempts of Amos and Amaziah to avoid God's word of wrath against his people. Amos does it heartbroken and appalled, with confession of sin and appeal to God's promises and gains a partial relief. Amaziah does it by trying to silence the prophets. He sets himself up in direct opposition to God, which is what this cow-priest has been doing by ministering at the altars of Bethel. John Calvin is brilliant on this:

Amaziah was indeed worthy of being destroyed by God a hundred times, together with all his offspring: but Amos intimates that God’s wrath was especially kindled by this madness, — that Amaziah dared to put a restraint on God, and to forbid his Spirit freely to reprove the sins of the whole people. Since, then, he proceeded so far, Amos shows that he would have justly to suffer the punishment due to his presumption, yea, to his furious and sacrilegious audacity, inasmuch as he set himself up against God, and sought to take from him his supreme authority, for nothing belongs more peculiarly to God than the office of judging the world; and this he does by his word and his Prophets. As, then, Amaziah had attempted to rob God of his own right and authority, the Prophet shows that vengeance had been thereby increased.
Keep me from restraining the word of God. Keep me from forbidding the Spirit to expose the sins of the church. Keep me from setting myself up against God. Keep me from taking authority from God. Let God be judge of all people by his word. That is his right. That is his authority.

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