Thus has the Lord GOD showed to me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and…
I. CONCERNING INTERCESSION.
1. This intercession was made by Amos alone. Neither Hosea nor Isaiah, nor any other God-fearers of the time joined in it. To Amos alone the vision appeared, and by him alone the intercession was made.
2. This intercession was made in the behalf of a wicked people. Amos calls them Jacob, but they had renounced the principles of that holy man, and stained their manners with the vilest corruptions. Corruption in manners, the effect of corruption in principles, like a spreading pestilence, infected the whole kingdom.
3. The form of this intercession is a prayer for pardon. Sin is the cause of misery, and misery is the effect and punishment of sin. By pardon sin is taken away, and when the cause is taken away the effect ceases. In going to the throne for deliverance from misery, if we have a true sense of sin, pardon will be our chief concern.
4. This intercession was made in a moment of extremity. In the preceding reigns the kingdom had been mortally wounded, and though under Jeroboam some of its wounds were bound up and healed, others continued bleeding, and terminated in a universal mortification.
5. Importunity in this intercession is tempered with reverence. For the preservation of the house of Israel, the man of God is earnest and fervent in prayer; but his prayer is blended with the reverence that is suitable to Divine majesty and holiness.
6. This intercession is exemplary; an example and pattern to after ages.
II. CONCERNING THE PREVAILING OF THIS INTERCESSION. "The Lord repented for this." His meaning is, the Lord accepted his importunity, granted the desire of his heart, and assured him that the miseries, represented under the emblem of the grasshoppers, would not eat up and consume all things. Illustrate the form of words in which this meaning is expressed.
1. The holy writings frequently contain this expression.
2. Changes in the administration of providence, according to the purpose of God, are expressed by these words.
3. These changes of administration encourage intercession, and furnish excitements and motives to repentance. Encouraged by considerations of the grace, mercy, and kindness of the God of Israel, Amos stood and interceded.
III. THE SOVEREIGN MANNER IN WHICH THE LORD WAS PLEASED TO EXPRESS AND COMMUNICATE THE PREVAILING OF THE INTERCESSION. "It shall not be, saith the Lord."
1. This intimation came immediately from the Holy One, by whom alone pardon of sin and remission of punishment is granted.
2. This intimation was made by the Saviour of Israel, who alone had power to restrain and countermand the destroyers of Israel. The waster is the creature of His power, and the servant of His providence.
3. The intimation came to the individual who had made intercession.
4. This intimation is effective and sovereign. "He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast."
5. The intimation is solemnly authenticated. Amos heard the words distinctly pronounced, and "saith the Lord," solemnly added by the glorious Speaker. This encouraged him to continue interceding, and raised his hope of prevailing.Inferences.
1. Intercession for a wicked and perverse people is a duty. The Lord allows, requires, and commands it, and in accepting it hath glorified Himself.
2. Supplication for pardon is an essential part of intercession.
3. Through the forbearance and long-suffering of God, some temporal strokes may be mitigated, or removed, upon intercession; while the desolation determined, deserved, and denounced, is making ready and hastening forwards.
4. Intercessors, though friends to their country, are sometimes treated in it as enemies. Toward the restoration of the country Amos contributed more by prayer than Jeroboam did by the sword. A few men who have power with God in prayer are better than chariots of war, and stronger than standing armies. Exhort —
(1) Men who are lively and warm in prayer. Do not faint because prayer doth not always prevail, nor because evidences of acceptance are withheld for a time. Men ought always to pray, and never to faint.
(2) Men who are cold and spiritless in prayer. Deadness of heart in devotion is one of the distempers of our time.
(3) Men who are formalists, who multiply prayers, but never pray from the heart, and with the Spirit. Whatever be your own opinion of these, forms, no petition which is not conceived and uttered by the Spirit, and offered in the name of Christ, comes into His censer, nor goes up before the throne with acceptance.
(4) Men who neglect prayer. Such are enemies to themselves, to their country, to their king, and to their God.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me; and, behold, he formed grasshoppers in the beginning of the shooting up of the latter growth; and, lo, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings.