Amos 7 & Luke 2

Amos

Chapter 7

This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, he was forming locusts when the latter growth was just beginning to sprout, and behold, it was the latter growth after the king's mowings. When they had finished eating the grass of the land, I said,

    “O Lord GOD, please forgive!
        How can Jacob stand?
        He is so small!”
    The LORD relented concerning this:
        “It shall not be,” said the LORD.
    
    
This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, the Lord GOD was calling for a judgment by fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said,

    “O Lord GOD, please cease!
        How can Jacob stand?
        He is so small!”
    The LORD relented concerning this:
        “This also shall not be,” said the Lord GOD.
    
    
This is what he showed me: behold, the Lord was standing beside a wall built with a plumb line, with a plumb line in his hand. And the LORD said to me, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A plumb line.” Then the Lord said,

    “Behold, I am setting a plumb line
        in the midst of my people Israel;
        I will never again pass by them;
    the high places of Isaac shall be made desolate,
        and the sanctuaries of Israel shall be laid waste,
        and I will rise against the house of Jeroboam with the sword.”
    
    
Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, “Amos has conspired against you in the midst of the house of Israel. The land is not able to bear all his words. For thus Amos has said,

    “‘Jeroboam shall die by the sword,
        and Israel must go into exile
        away from his land.’”
    
    
And Amaziah said to Amos, “O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, and eat bread there, and prophesy there, but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king's sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom.”

Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, “I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs. But the LORD took me from following the flock, and the LORD said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’ Now therefore hear the word of the LORD.

    “You say, ‘Do not prophesy against Israel,
        and do not preach against the house of Isaac.’
    
    
 Therefore thus says the LORD:

    “‘Your wife shall be a prostitute in the city,
        and your sons and your daughters shall fall by the sword,
        and your land shall be divided up with a measuring line;
    you yourself shall die in an unclean land,
        and Israel shall surely go into exile away from its land.’”

(Amos 7 ESV)


Luke

Chapter 2

In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

    “Glory to God in the highest,
        and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
    
    
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

    “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
        according to your word;
    for my eyes have seen your salvation
        that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
    a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
        and for glory to your people Israel.”
    
    
And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

(Luke 2 ESV)

A Humble Entrance

Terry Evans

 

Just as we come to realize that Jesus was no ordinary man; Jesus was also no ordinary child. Yet, His entrance into this world was less than ordinary. Man had no accommodations for Him so God enters the world in a small obscure shelter made for animals. He then announces His presence to simple shepherds in a field. Visualizing the Creator of the universe coming into His creation as an infant lying in a feeding trough with no honorable visitors except some nearby shepherds puts any ambition, arrogance or entitlement on my part into its proper perspective.  

Why do I cling to status or certain privileges in life as if I've earned them and deserve them? What is a justifiable reason for refusing to 'empty myself' for the sake and service of others? If shepherds and a stable were good enough for the Incarnation, I have no right to expect or demand anything greater in life. Therefore, all entitlement should be buried, and a heart of thanksgiving for all I've been granted should blossom.

May we not live for selfish ambitions or self-exaltation, but in humility, may we count others more significant than ourselves and concern ourselves with their interests just as much as our own. Jesus, who was in the form of God, did not cling to His status and privileges as God, but emptied Himself, by taking the form of a humble servant (Philippians 2). May we always be mindful that the Son of God was born as an innocent infant wrapped in the arms of a teenage mother lying in a dwelling place intended for animals and unannounced apart from some nearby shepherds.