Don’t Let Power Turn You Into A Harlot

'Lost and Found' by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.
“Lost and Found” by Greg Olsen. Used with Permission.

July 2, 2020

Reading: AM 7:10-17

Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, sent word to Jeroboam,
king of Israel:
“Amos has conspired against you here within Israel;
the country cannot endure all his words.
For this is what Amos says:
Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
and Israel shall surely be exiled from its land.”

To Amos, Amaziah said:
“Off with you, visionary, flee to the land of Judah!
There earn your bread by prophesying,
but never again prophesy in Bethel;
for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple.”
Amos answered Amaziah, “I was no prophet,
nor have I belonged to a company of prophets;
I was a shepherd and a dresser of sycamores.
The LORD took me from following the flock, and said to me,
‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’
Now hear the word of the LORD!”

You say: prophesy not against Israel,
preach not against the house of Isaac.
Now thus says the LORD:
Your wife shall be made a harlot in the city,
and your sons and daughters shall fall by the sword;
Your land shall be divided by measuring line,
and you yourself shall die in an unclean land;
Israel shall be exiled far from its land.

Gospel: Mathew 9:1-8

After entering a boat, Jesus made the crossing, and came into his own town.
And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic,
“Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.”
At that, some of the scribes said to themselves,
“This man is blaspheming.”

Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said,
“Why do you harbor evil thoughts?
Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’
or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?
But that you may know that the Son of Man
has authority on earth to forgive sins”–
he then said to the paralytic,
“Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.”
He rose and went home.

When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe
and glorified God who had given such authority to men.

I hope, you noticed the thread for the two readings today.

If not, it’s Evil. Both Amos and Jesus come from similar beginnings. Jesus was born in a manger among animals and visited by shepherds. Amos, came from shepherd stock and was poor growing up.

Each became well-known and respected despite their humble beginnings. Amos became a prophet and Jesus . . . well, he was the Son of God.

But notice how those in power tried to get rid of them.

Amaziah was the chief priest of Bethel which was the King’s sanctuary. Amaziah didn’t like the prophesy that Amos gave saying the king would die by the sword and Israel would be exiled. So he writes to the king to say he must tell Amos to leave.

Then he tells Amos to go away because his prophesy means nothing in Bethel. Go back to the other prophets, he wasn’t needed there.

So, Amos fills in the blanks for Amaziah. He says he wasn’t a prophet until God called him to speak to the people. Now, he was going to speak to Amaziah.

He tells him that his wife will be a harlot in the streets. His children would all fall to the sword and that Amaziah would die in a non Jewish land.

Oh, and by the way, Israel would be exiled far from their land.

Now, Jesus comes into his town from doing great miracles and crowds following him. He sits down in Peter’s home and some men brought their friend, a paralytic, to Jesus asking that he hill the man.

Jesus takes pity and tells the man his sins are forgiven.

The scribes declare Jesus is blaspheming – punishable by death.

Jesus knows what they are saying and doing and like Amos, Jesus speaks of something even greater. Not only are the man’s sins forgiven but I say he can walk. And the man walks.

Nothing like shutting down an argument with a bona fide miracle.

Don’t argue the good of someone just to save your place of power. Your power comes from above, not from here.

Don’t let power turn you into a harlot.

At least that’s what I heard Him say…

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