Words at War
"Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel said to the king of Israel, 'Amos (the prophet) has conspired against you... The land cannot bear all his words’" (Amos 7:10).
In some pulpits on a Sunday morning you may hear the preacher proclaim “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life.” In other pulpits you may hear that Jesus is one of many paths to God. In the news you may hear someone being extolled on one station and excoriated on another. Our world is full of words at war. Behind these words are masters with their own agendas. Commentators for CNN and Fox promote the agendas of their networks. Preachers in their pulpits promote the agendas of their gods.
Amaziah the priest and Amos the prophet are examples of two men serving as mouthpieces for contending masters. Amaziah served the god of his belly. He proclaimed words the king and his people longed to hear. He opposed the preaching of repentance and judgment brought by Amos. Amos served the God of Israel who was calling the nation to repentance and faith.
Jeremiah the prophet also found himself at war with other prophets of his day. He said to the Lord, “Ah, LORD God, behold, the prophets say to the people, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.’ And the Lord said to me: ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds’” (Jeremiah 14:13-14).
Likewise John gave warning about false prophets in his day. He said, “Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:18-19). The servants of God and the servants of the devil are both at work proclaiming the words of their masters. It is vital to discern the two, to listen to the former and to flee from the latter.
When Ford explains why their vehicles are better than Chevy’s these are words at war in marketing. When one political party explains why the other is wicked, foolish, and in the service of the Russians, these are words at war in politics. When Jeremiah and Amos are in conflict with Amaziah we have words from gods at war with one another. The true God sends His messengers in the name of His Son Jesus to save you from sin, death and the devil through the death and resurrection of Jesus. The devil sends his messengers to deceive you unto your death. These deny, undermine, or minimize the message of the cross and replace it with their own ideology - flavors vary.
The servants of the Triune God are calling you to repent and trust in Jesus. Servants of other gods teach that repentance and faith are not necessary. For example, the god of lust and self-indulgence calls us to rejoice in sexual sins, calls them beautiful, and teaches our youth to do the same. In contrast, those who serve Jesus declare that He has died for the forgiveness of our sins. We declare to you that in baptism God joins us to the death of Christ so that we might no longer live in our sins but might walk in newness of life (Romans 6). Those set against us continue to wickedly declare that no such repentance is necessary and that your sins and lusts are beautiful in God's sight. This war of words will continue until the Lord returns in glory - then He will have the final say.
In the days of Amaziah and Amos the words of Amaziah proved to be far more popular than the words of Amos. However, the words of Amos proved themselves to be true. The judgments he proclaimed fell upon the people who were then cut down by the sword or taken into captivity. The words of Amaziah were suddenly revealed as lies.
Today the words of those who tell us God rejoices over sexual sins may be more popular than the words of those who declare that we must repent. Nevertheless, God's Word is always true. When the Day comes, the Amaziahs of our day will be condemned along with all those who have listened to them (See Revelation 20:15). But those who have listened to the true preaching of the Word of God and who have responded with repentance and faith will have forgiveness of sins and everlasting life. May you, dear reader, listen carefully to the true preaching of God's Word and flee from all those who bring a different word.