God’s logic is strange and has troubled people of every generation. Sometimes it does not follow the pattern of our logic at all. His thoughts are very deep. Again, that logic is very simple. A child can often understand it better than the wise.
The words which Amos now speaks are meant not only for Israel, but also for Judah. He addresses himself to the whole family which God delivered from Egyptian slavery, It has meaning for all of them, They are the only ones whom he has known of all the families of the earth, This is, of course, not an intellectual knowledge. It is rather a “love-knowledge.” He knew them intimately, He delivered them from Egypt and also bound them to himself with a covenant bond. It is as a marriage relationship. So had he not known any other people, What is now the conclusion which is to be drawn from this statement? Israel believes that he will conclude: therefore will I shower my blessings upon you. But, the divine logic answer in a different vein. Because I have so known you, therefore “I will visit upon you all your iniquities.” Is that a strange conclusion? No! It hurts far more if a loved one turns against you than if a stranger does so.
The Lord now asks several questions. He does not give the answers because the answers are self-evident. These are simple questions. Though simple, they contain a wealth of thought. They are so simple that a child can answer them but his people seemingly do not know the answers. One has to live close to God to understand his logic.
Shall two walk together except they have agreed? Of course, the answer is, No. Two people do not fellowship together except there be basic agreement. Has it ever dawned on Israel that God win not walk with them if they are not in agreement with him? Will a lion roar in the forest when he hath no prey? Of course not. A lion roars when he is about to spring upon his prey. If he roars too soon, his prey will escape. When the lion is certain of his prey, when there is no possibility of escape, then he roars. God and Israel cannot walk together anymore. The judgment is now irrevocable. Will a young lion cry out of his den if he have taken nothing? Amos refers to a young lion, but one which already hunts. It has the prey and is already devouring it. The cry is one of satisfaction. Is there still a possibility of escape? To ask the question is to answer it.
There is a difference of opinion regarding the next question. We believe it to be as follows : Will a bird fall into a snare if he does not seek prey? The bird falls into the snare when he is tempted by its bait. Israel is tempted by the godless world. This will prove to be her undoing. Will a snare spring up from the earth if it has taken nothing? No, a bird falling on it only makes the snare jump up from the ground.
Shall the trumpet be blown in a city and the people not be afraid? The trumpet warns the people of approaching peril. When it sounds, the people tremble, but…Israel doesn’t. The peril which approaches is the evil which Jehovah brings upon the city.
Amos further tells Israel that Jehovah will do nothing except be reveal his secret to the prophets. This does not mean that all the books of God are opened to the prophets so that every deed of his providence whereby he controls and governs the world is first made known to them. Rather, the great deeds of the Lord by which he brings about great changes in the history of his people, are first made known to the prophets. This should cause the people to listen intently to the message which the prophets bring because it comes directly from the mouth of Jehovah.
“The lion hath roared: who will not fear?” Amos is now drawing the conclusion of that which has gone before. His prophecy has been called “the gospel of the lion’s roar.” The lion does not roar until it is certain of its prey. The time is short. The lion has roared. The prey will naturally tremble. God’s voice is now likened to the roar of a lion. That is not the way in which we are accustomed to speak of the voice of God. His voice is perfect. It is more beautiful than the voices of angels. But God also thunders and can also roar as a lion. He is angered against Israel. Against that people he utters his voice. Why doesn’t the prey (Israel) freeze in fear? The logic of sinful Israel still sees no reason to fear.
When the Lord Jehovah speaks with such a voice, how shall anyone refrain from prophesying? That is the voice which Amos has heard. He must prophesy! There is no other way out. One can never forget such a roar! Compulsion is laid upon him. Amos is certainly not pictured as an emotional man. But this is more than he can stand. It is not a pleasant task to declare coming judgment to Israel, the people whom Amos loves. But, he must! How can anyone be silent when the lion’s roar still sounds in his ears? One must be more than deaf not to hear it. Nor should the prophet be the only one who will prophesy. Everyone is to witness to it. Amos was not a professional prophet. He was a herdsman. But he was a herdsman who had heard the lion roar.
How the lion roared in the history of Israeli How can this people be so complacent? How the lion roars in this 20th century! How can the church be at ease?
The lion’s roar is heard in the wars of our lifetime. It is heard in the fears of the present time. Jehovah is speaking! The trumpet is blowing; the lion is roaring; the snare is snapping shut; many are no longer walking in agreement with their God. How can one be silent under such conditions? Israel laughs at the prophet and continues its festivities. That is not logical. That is the logic of hell! This logic cries peace, peace…while the lion roars!
Questions for discussion:
1. God’s thoughts are not our thought! (Isaiah 55:8). Then how are we able to understand God?
2. Must one be learned to understand God’s ways?
3. What are some of the lessons f0r today in the simple questions which are asked in this passage?
4. Should anyone become a minister unless he is constrained? Explain.
5. The voice of God is revealed in different ways in Scripture. Which voice is heard the most in modern day preaching? Is this good or bad?
6. How does God speak to us today?
7. How can people be made to tremble at the word of God?