Amos 7:12-15 Then Amaziah [the priest of Bethel] said to Amos, “Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of Judah. Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there. Don’t prophesy any more at Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.” Amos answered Amaziah, “I was neither a prophet nor a prophet’s son, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees. But the LORDtook me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Amaziah is a good example of what happens when people adopt a worldview that is MAN-centred instead of GOD-centred. Apart from giving us a WRONG view of everything (because God, the Creator, the Author of Scripture, and the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, really DOES EXIST, even if we arrogantly refuse to acknowledge him), this ideology of Humanism, which is rapidly becoming the generally accepted way our present culture views the world, leads to a complete misunderstanding of the prophetic voice. The typical ‘man in the street’ today looks on the faithful Gospel preacher as only a paid professional expressing his own personal opinion. It follows, therefore, that if I don’t agree with his opinion, I am perfectly justified, even compelled, in taking whatever steps are necessary to SILENCE him.
This is what Amaziah, the priest-cum-politician in the Northern Kingdom of Israel, tried to do with the outspoken ‘commissioned voice of God’ from the South, Amos.
One of the important insights gained during the 16th Century Protestant Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. Unhealthy ‘professionalisation’ of the ‘clergy-role’ can be a real hindrance to the advancement of God’s Kingdom. Even the Pharisees started off with the most noble of intentions, wanting to study the Scriptures and maintain the purity of Biblical faith in post-Exilic Judaism; but by the time of Jesus they had become ‘professionals’ and failed even to recognise the very Messiah their Scriptures foretold.
It was good for the Early Church to train and set apart elders to lead and shepherd God’s ‘flock’; but by the time of the Reformation the ‘professional’ priesthood had totally lost its way.
Amos had been given the onerous task of pronouncing God’s Judgement on Israel and calling the nation to repentance, but he was soon rejected because they thought he was just a professional, money-making ‘seer’ (12). His defence against this accusation was not his ‘STATUS’, but his personal calling from the LORD himself! We need to act professionally in whatever ‘calling’ God has entrusted to us, but we must be on our guard against the dangers of formal ‘professionalism’ as we serve him together and encourage one another to SPEAK OUT the eternal TRUTH of his Word courageously and unashamedly in our ministry for him.