God’s Word Is Alive
God Uses the Lowly Ones
THE home of Amos is in Tekoa, a town situated about 10 miles (16 km) south of Jerusalem. To the east lies the wilderness of Judah, with its rounded, barren hills, cleft by valleys and ravines. During the rainy season, the area produces meager vegetation. Here Amos has his employment as a humble sheep raiser. He also engages in seasonal work as a nipper of sycamore figs, pinching or puncturing the fruit to hasten its ripening and to increase its size and sweetness.—Amos 1:1; 7:14, 15.
While doing his shepherding work, Amos receives a call to serve as a prophet of Jehovah. Impelled by God’s spirit, he heads northward into the territory of the 10-tribe kingdom of Israel. Courageously, Amos announces a message of doom for the royal house of Jeroboam, the son of Joash, and also foretells the exile of Israel.—Amos 6:7; 7:9, 11.
At Bethel, a center of calf worship, the prophesying of Amos greatly disturbs idolatrous priest Amaziah. Seeking to frighten Jehovah’s prophet, he tells him: “O visionary, go, run your way off to the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and there you may prophesy. But at Bethel you must no longer do any further prophesying, for it is the sanctuary of a king and it is the house of a kingdom.”—Amos 7:12, 13.
Emboldened by the spirit of God, Amos stands his ground. “I was not a prophet, neither was I the son of a prophet,” he says, “but I was a herdsman and a nipper of figs of sycamore trees. And Jehovah proceeded to take me from following the flock, and Jehovah went on to say to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’” Then he declares to Amaziah the judgment that will befall him for opposing God’s message: “As regards your wife, in the city she will become a prostitute [being violated by soldiers of the conquering army]. And as regards your sons and your daughters, by the sword they will fall. And as regards your ground, by the measuring rope it will be apportioned out [by those who will come to occupy the land]. And as regards you yourself, on unclean ground [outside the land of Israel] you will die.”—Amos 7:14-17.
The choosing of Amos as Jehovah’s prophet in the ninth century B.C.E. forcefully illustrates that the Almighty does not depend on the wise ones of the world to accomplish his work. Even today it serves God’s purpose well to use the lowly ones who are willing to yield to his spirit. And how fearless they have been in proclaiming his name and kingdom! Thus the wise are put to shame. Jehovah God proves thereby that their wisdom is not needed. The abilities in which they pride themselves are shown up to be valueless.—1 Cor. 1:26-31.