Listen to the Lord

Pentecost 7 (Proper 10), July 11, 2021

Text: Amos 7:7–15

Theme: The Lord has something to say

Other Lessons: Psalm 85; Ephesians 1:3–14; Mark 6:14–29

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.

1. The Old Testament lesson serves as our sermon text for this morning.

1. Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, let us pray:
– Help us, O Lord, in the midst of our fears, to trust solely in
You. Amen.

1. Grace, mercy, and peace be yours from God the Father through our Lord
and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


1. Whether you served in the military or you played a sport in high
school or college, the commanding officer or coach would tell
you the same

1. Know your enemy.
1. By looking at the big picture (strategic plan).
2. Examine how and what the enemy does (operational plan).
3. Finally, looking at what the enemy does day by day (tactical
2. A sports team will study the films of the other team to learn
their plays and identify their strengths and weaknesses.
3. A chess master will study the games of the other chess master to
know the opponent’s strategies.
4. In the world of the military, the general and the commanders will
study the battle plans to see where the enemy’s strong and weak
points are

1. Our lives as Christians is no different:

1. We need to know who the enemy is!
1. That enemy is not God!
2. That enemy is not our fellow brother or sister in Christ,
whether at this church or the church down the street!
3. That enemy is not yourself!
4. The enemy we need to be concerned about is the devil!

1. It’s a competitive environment out there:

1. The devil would have us listen to false voices, the Holy Spirit to
the Lord’s voice.

1. In a much more serious matter, you should know your ultimate enemy:

1. “The old evil foe Now means deadly woe; Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight” (LSB 656:1).
1. What are the aims and goals of the old evil foe, the devil, the
“ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)?
2. What is his agenda?
3. What are his strategies, his tactics?
2. Therefore, know your enemy.

1. Well, certainly the devil wants to see all manner of violence and

1. The more violence and wickedness there is, the happier he is.
2. But the center of what he’s about is unbelief.
3. He wants to keep unbelievers in unbelief, dead in their sins.
4. He wants to entice and draw believers away from their Lord and
Savior, away from faith to unbelief.
5. The devil wants us to see unbelief with death, temporal and
eternal death, as the only future.

1. But what does the Holy Spirit want?

1. The Holy Spirit wants to create and sustain faith in the heart.
2. The Holy Spirit wants to tighten the bonds between you and your
Savior, Jesus, the Messiah, to help you become a stronger, more mature
Christian, to grow in Christ.
3. How does the Holy Spirit do that?
1. By means of the Word of God.
2. The Holy Spirit does not work directly or without instruments.
3. He works through the Word of God proclaimed in its truth and
4. Through the Law of God, he leads sinners to contrition and
5. Through the promises of God fulfilled in Christ, he creates and
sustains faith and gives joy in the Lord.
6. The Holy Spirit works through the Word of God.

1. Therefore the devil’s simple goal is to prevent sinners from hearing
the Word of God.

1. He wants to keep you from:
1. hearing,
2. really listening,
3. and taking seriously what the Lord God Almighty has to say.
2. At its core, the devil’s agenda is to prevent you and others from
hearing the life-giving Word of God himself, your Maker and Redeemer.

1. Well, how does the old evil foe do that?

1. We see his tactics recorded in Holy Scripture.
1. One approach is to fill the arena with umpteen false voices in
an effort to drown out or marginalize the true voice of God.
2. Throughout the history of ancient Israel, we read of false
prophets, counterfeit voices.
3. In fact, they usually outnumbered the true prophets.
4. The false prophets would tell sinners what they wanted to hear,
and as a result, they were indeed very popular.
5. That way sinners would basically listen only to themselves.
6. The true Word of God is never the only voice in the arena.
7. It was and still is a competitive environment.
8. Which voice are you going to listen to?

1. Another common approach is to silence the proclaimers of God’s saving

1. Just silence them.
2. It’s said the prophet Isaiah was sawn in half.
1. “The mighty seer of old” executed like so much garbage!
3. The apostle Paul was beheaded.
4. Peter was crucified upside down.
5. Very often the prophets and apostles were pursued and imprisoned.
6. Elijah was constantly threatened.
7. The prophet Jeremiah as well as Paul often found themselves in
8. But God has the last laugh.
9. The writings of the prophets and apostles were preserved, and we
can hear and study them to this day.
10. God will not be silenced.

1. The Lord sent Amos to speak his Word; the devil sent Amaziah to
silence it.

1. The devil, the ruler of this fallen, corrupted world, strives to
prevent sinners from hearing the true Word of God.

1. One instance of this happening is recorded in our text for this
morning, Amos 7.
2. Let’s jump in a time machine and travel back to the year 760 BC.
3. The place is Bethel, about ten miles north of Jerusalem.
4. When Solomon died, the northern ten tribes separated.
5. The north “seceded from the union” you might say.
6. But the Creator of all made ancient Israel his very own covenant
people, and that included the ten northern tribes as well.
7. So God raised up prophets like Elijah and Elisha to proclaim his
Word to the people.
8. Now God called Amos and sent him to proclaim God’s Word to His

1. Amos was there in Bethel, where throngs of people had gathered to

1. Instead of worshiping at the temple in Jerusalem, where they were
supposed to go, the northern tribes set up its own sanctuaries.
2. One was located at Dan in the far north and the other at Bethel,
in the southern end of the Northern Kingdom.
3. Amos was called and sent by the true God to proclaim what the true
God had to say.
4. Therefore, Amos would repeatedly emphasize just this point with
expressions such as:
1. “Thus spoke Yahweh, the God of Israel”
2. or “the utterance of Yahweh.”
5. The true God wanted his Word to be proclaimed to the people, and
through that Word, the Holy Spirit works.
6. Therefore, Amos kept saying:
1. “Listen to What the Lord God Almighty Has to Say.”

1. But the authority at the false sanctuary in Bethel did not want to
hear it.

1. Amaziah, the priest at Bethel, complained about Amos to the king in
1. Notice how Amaziah did some spin-doctoring.
2. Amos was announcing God’s words of judgment against rebellious
Israel, but Amaziah construed it as a conspiracy by Amos:
1. “Amos has conspired against you [O King Jeroboam II]” (verse
2. Amaziah painted Amos as some kind of political subversive.
3. Amaziah interpreted the message of the true God as mere
human politics, as the Southern Kingdom trying to
overthrow the Northern
3. Through his prophets, the true God spoke to sinners to give
them life.
4. But the opponents reduced the Word of God to worldly
politics—as if everything is only about worldly politics and

1. Amaziah considered Amos, the prophet of the true God, to be stirring
up some kind of conspiracy.

1. Amaziah discounted what Amos was proclaiming as only words from Amos,
that these words were invented by Amos to serve the political
goals of Amos
and the Southern Kingdom.
2. Amaziah reported to King Jeroboam:
1. “For thus Amos has said.”
3. Amos had been emphasizing:
1. “Thus spoke Yahweh, the God of Israel,
4. Amaziah considered it only a human message and human opinion from
the man Amos.

1. The old evil foe tries to prevent sinners from hearing the
life-giving Word of God.

1. This is one way he does it, by leading people to:
1. discount it,
2. trivialize it,
3. ignore it,
4. dismiss it as simply human speech and human opinion.
2. Amos said:
1. “Thus spoke God,”
2. And what do the opponents say?:
1. “No, that’s only what you say, preacher man.”
3. Then Amaziah tried to pressure Amos to leave, to go back to his
home in Tekoa in Judah, about ten miles south of Jerusalem:
1. “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah” (verse 12a),
2. Amos was to flee as if his life was in danger.
3. Amaziah pretends to be Amos’s friend who fears for Amos’s life
when Amaziah was the one who reported Amos to the king in the
first place.
4. The kingdom of darkness is very deceitful, very conniving.
5. Then Amaziah insulted Amos by telling him to make his living back
in Judah as a prophet for hire:
1. “Eat bread there, and prophesy there” (verse 12b).
2. As if Amos were just another self-serving religious guru,
feathering his own nest.

1. Amaziah revealed his real thinking as he said to Amos:

1. “But never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary,
and it is a temple of the kingdom” (verse 13).
2. To proclaim judgment against Bethel was to oppose the government.
3. The false government of northern Israel in Samaria and the false
temple of northern Israel in Bethel were united.
4. To proclaim against one was to proclaim against the other.
5. The false government supported and promoted the false religion.

1. It’s you the devil wants to prevent from listening to the Word of the

1. The kingdom of darkness does not want sinners to hear the true Word
of the true God.
1. It seeks to silence or remove the true prophets.
2. It leads people to discount the Word of the true God as only
self-serving religious talk, as only self-serving proselytizing:
1. “Don’t impose your religion on me,” they say.
2. “Keep your religion to yourself,” they declare.
3. “Don’t give me all that religious mumbo jumbo,” they
3. Such assessments are actually true about false religions.
4. But when it comes to the authentic Word of God:
1. Not true!

1. The kingdom of darkness wants to prevent sinners from hearing the
Word of God.

1. How about you?
2. Do you want to hear the Word of God?
3. Or do you find ways to discount and ignore it?
4. Do you dismiss it as irrelevant and boring?
5. Do you find it hard to read?
6. Do you find you have more important things to do with your time?
1. Your life is busy, swamped with daily duties and activities.
2. And so many voices are vying for your attention:
1. on TV,
2. the computer,
3. digital devices,
4. over the radio.
7. Because we are bombarded with so many voices, the danger faces
all of us to listen only to ourselves.

1. Know your enemy.

1. Your ultimate enemy, the enemy, the old evil foe, certainly knows
2. He wants to prevent you from hearing the life-giving Word of God
for yourself.
3. The enemy wants sinners to listen only to themselves.
4. The powers of the old age wanted Amos the prophet of God to leave.
5. In fact, his life was in danger.

1. But the Lord is insistent his Word will be heard because it creates
and sustains faith and true hope.

1. Amaziah would have agreed with the adage:

1. “It’s all about power, getting it and keeping it.”
2. Amaziah had no intention of listening and repenting.
3. He was only concerned about self-preservation, and he assumed Amos
was too.
4. But Amos was called and sent by the Lord God Almighty himself to
proclaim the Lord’s words.
5. Amos remained and kept on proclaiming the Word of God, in spite of
opposition from Amaziah.
6. In fact, in the next two verses, Amos responded to Amaziah’s
pressure tactics by announcing God’s judgment against Amaziah himself.
7. Then Amos repeated his message to all of Israel.
8. The Word of God spoken by Amos was written down and preserved.
9. To this day, now over 2,700 years later, we can still read, mark,
learn, and inwardly digest the Word of God spoken by the prophet Amos.

1. The Word of God shall still remain.

1. God will not be silenced.
2. God is the God who speaks.
3. He does not hide himself in secrecy so that access is only via:
1. divination,
2. sorcery, and
3. astrology,
4. or by turning inward and looking into your own soul in order to
find God of your own design.
4. The true God, the almighty Creator, speaks.
1. We see that throughout the Scriptures, beginning in Genesis 1.
2. The true God speaks in human language so that he can be heard
and understood.
3. The true God is not deceitful but open and transparent.
4. The true God is a straight shooter.
5. He reveals his will and ways in clear human language.

1. The true God is the almighty maker of the heavens and earth.

1. He Himself is the God of ancient Israel and made ancient Israel his
own people, his treasured possession.
2. To convey his Word to them in BC time, he raised up prophets.
3. He had taken Amos from working as a herdsman and a dresser of
sycamore figs and called him:
1. “Go, prophesy to my people Israel” (verse 15).
4. Why was the true God so insistent that his Word be proclaimed,
even when it meant that his spokesmen would be:
1. hunted,
2. arrested,
3. imprisoned,
4. and even face death for it?
5. Why?
6. Is all that bother even worth it?

1. The true God, the Creator of all, the God of ancient Israel, wants
his Word to be preached, proclaimed, spoken, and written.

1. Why?
2. Because through his Word, the Holy Spirit leads sinners to
contrition and repentance.
3. That was why God called Amos.
4. So that ancient Israel would turn away from their evil and turn to
the Lord, the true God.
5. God’s Word of judgment and repentance leads sinners away from
their idols and their crooked ways.
1. It reveals that those false ways lead only to death.
2. The false voices only confirm sinners in their sins.
3. Listening only to yourself has the same effect, sinners
listening to sinners.
6. Only the Word of the true God can lead sinners out of this endless
cycle of sin and death.
7. So Amos announced God’s coming judgment against sinners, the death
sentence even for Israel as an independent nation.
8. God sent Amos to move Israel away from its sinful ways.

1. Why does God go to such a bother to have his Word proclaimed?

1. Because through the promises of God, the Holy Spirit creates and
sustains faith and true hope.
2. Only the promises given by the true God are true and trustworthy.
3. The promises of:
1. false voices,
2. of the world, always mislead.
3. They misdirect you to believe in illusions.
4. But the true God fulfills his own promises.
5. Those are the promises to actually:
1. listen to,
2. take to heart,
3. believe,
4. and trust in.
5. They are true promises given by the Lord God Almighty himself.

1. Listen to What the Lord God Almighty Has to Say.

1. For what the Lord has to say is fulfilled in Jesus, the crucified and
risen Davidic king.

1. Well, what happened?

1. Sure enough, ancient Israel rejected the Word of God spoken by the
true prophets and listened only to themselves.
2. Thereby they brought God’s judgment down upon themselves.
3. In the 700s BC, God raised up the ancient Assyrians, who came and
destroyed the Northern Kingdom and most of the Southern Kingdom.
4. Then a century later, God raised up the ancient Babylonians to
destroy even Jerusalem.
5. The death sentence came down on collective Israel just as Amos had
6. God does not deceive like other voices.
7. What God says is the truth.

1. But that was not the end of the story.

1. God through his prophet Amos also spoke a promise, the sure and
certain promise that one day, God would reverse the judgment.
2. In Amos 9:11–15, God directs Amos to declare:
1. “In that day I will raise up the booth of David that is fallen
and repair its breaches, and raise up its ruins and rebuild
it as in the
days of old, (12) that they may possess the remnant of Edom
and all the
nations who are called by my name,” declares the LORD who
does this. (13)
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the
plowman shall
overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows
the seed; the
mountains shall drip sweet wine, and all the hills shall flow with it.
(14) I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel, and they shall
rebuild the ruined cities and inhabit them; they shall plant
vineyards and
drink their wine, and they shall make gardens and eat their
fruit. (15) I
will plant them on their land, and they shall never again be
uprooted out
of the land that I have given them,” says the LORD your God.

1. In the fullness of time, this prophetic promise was fulfilled by
God—fulfilled big time.
1. Jesus of Nazareth is the new and greater Davidic King, not only
like David but also David’s Lord.
2. Jesus came as the new and greater Prophet, and like the
prophets of old, he was rejected.
3. Sinners wanted to listen only to themselves, even though he
proclaimed the truth and was, in fact, the truth standing before them.
4. Jesus embodied Israel and went through death just like Israel
of the past.
5. Only he died a more severe death by suffering the just
punishment of God against Israel and against all sinners.
6. The God of Israel laid upon him the iniquity of us all.
7. Jesus, the messianic King, suffered in the place of sinners and
for sinners.
8. He suffered in your place and for you.
9. But then God raised him up bodily, just as he promised through
Amos when he said:
1. “I will raise up the booth of David” (9:11).
10. God raised him up and highly exalted him above all.
11. Jesus of Nazareth is truly Lord over all.

1. Now the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God the Father and the Spirit of
his Son, Jesus the Messiah, is at work through God’s Word.

1. Listen to what the Lord God Almighty has to say.
2. Through the ancient prophetic Word of Law and judgment, the same
God still leads us daily to contrition and repentance.
3. He still calls us all to repent, to confess the sin of listening
only to ourselves and hearing only what we want to hear.
4. Through the prophetic Word of promise, fulfilled in Jesus the
Messiah, he creates and sustains faith and transforms our lives.
5. The Word of God brings us under the Messiah’s saving rule.
6. Through Holy Baptism, Jesus, the new and greater David, puts his
name upon us, even us Gentiles.
7. We belong to him.
8. Through his Supper, received by our mouths, he unites us with his
life-giving body and blood.
9. Moreover, he promises that one day, we, as his people both
Israelite and Gentile, will inherit the new and greater promised
land, the
new creation, in Christ.


1. It’s rather interesting what Amos was going through when the Lord
called him to be a prophet.

1. It’s not as if he woke up one morning and said:
1. “I have decided to be a prophet in Bethel.”
2. That might have been true for Amaziah, but not for Amos.
3. Amos already had an honest, if unspectacular and not too
high-paying, vocation—two, really:
1. he was a shepherd and cared for sycamore fig trees.
2. Besides, Amos lived in Tekoa, in the Southern Kingdom, and
Bethel was up in northern Israel, one of the sites old King
Jeroboam I had
set up for his corrupted worship, to keep his people from crossing the
border down to Jerusalem.
3. But then one day, Yahweh called Amos to speak for him, and in
Bethel at that.
4. So here he was.

1. None of this probably made any sense to Amaziah.

1. He was a career man, made his living as a prophet—which could be
quite lucrative if one said all the “right” things, the things the
king wanted you to say.
2. And Amos was definitely not saying those “right” things.
3. Amos was not a “company” man.
4. Well, then, Amaziah knew what to do.
5. He’d find favor with the king:
1. telling him Amos was conspiring against him.
2. Then, to boot, he’d go “warn” Amos—in order for him to flee.
3. Like a good friend who had his best interest at heart, all the
while being the hero by solving the king’s problem too (Amos 7:7–15).

1. This text asks all of us:

1. Which side are you on?

1. When Amaziah the priest rebukes Amos and orders him out of Israel,
the prophet responds by uttering some of his most chilling words of

1. Amos does so with good reason for, on top of all their other sins,
the people of Israel have now dared to openly despise the prophetic word
even as it is being spoken to them.
2. This scenario reminds us just how dangerous it is to ignore God’s
Word and to defy those sent to call us to repentance.
3. Though guilty ourselves of similar failings, we take comfort in
Christ’s loyalty and unbounded forgiveness.

His death has paid the debt of our rebellion, and His resurrection
assures us that even as He lives, so also shall we.
1. Therefore, Listen to What the Lord God Almighty Has to Say.
2. Only his Word can lead you to daily repentance.
3. Only his Word can sustain faith in your heart.
4. Only his Word can lead you to eternal life.
5. Despite so many confusing voices (including your own), listen to
what the Lord God Almighty has to say. Amen.

1. Let us pray:
– Lord, we know that we should fear and love You so that we do not
despise preaching and Your Word, but hold it sacred and
gladly hear and
learn it. For Jesus’ sake, open our hearts and move our wills
to do this,
dear heavenly Father. Amen.

1. 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love
of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

1. The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts
and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen.

1. In the Name of the Father…Amen.