“For the Lord God does nothing
without revealing his secret
to his servants the prophets.
The lion has roared;
who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken;
who can but prophesy?” Amos 3:7-8 ESV
So [the religious leaders] called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” Acts 4:18-20 ESV
If you have ever been hiking in the mountains, you might have seen a lookout tower. This is a place where a person who watches for forest fires can live. It’s a lonely job, living alone high in the hills, watching all day for a fire to break out. A fire lookout’s job is to watch for the first puff of smoke and to give a warning, along with the exact coordinates of the fire. There are not very many lookouts anymore. Lots of the work is done by cameras attached to drones nowadays, but there are still human fire lookouts. Some of them stay on the job for years, and they have a lot of knowledge about the weather and the terrain, and they can give important information to firefighters. Fire behavior has become more unpredictable in recent years, and that’s another reason human fire lookouts are still used in some places.
A prophet of God has the same kind of job as a fire lookout. If God speaks to his prophet, the prophet’s job is to give the people the warning. Often the words of a prophet aren’t easy to hear. Hearing about sins and punishment can be scary, like hearing a lion roar. Some people might have wished that a prophet like Amos would keep quiet and not give such frightening messages. But Amos said that God tells his people his secret plans through the prophets. He gives them warnings so that they can turn away from their sins. If God speaks, a prophet can’t help but tell the people what God said.
There are some messages from God that are frightening and unhappy. These are messages about our sins and about the punishment we deserve for our sins. But God has good news for his people. He doesn’t want to punish us. He wants to forgive us, and he sent Jesus to take our punishment on the cross so that we could be forgiven and know God’s love and care. This is such good news that many years later, when religious leaders told Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus and what he had done, they told them they couldn’t stop. Who Jesus is and what he has done is so wonderful that they couldn’t help talking about it. God sends us his Holy Spirit so that we can also tell others the wonderful news of Jesus and his love.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us your word that tells us that our sins our forgiven through Jesus. Help us to share that word with others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.