“Do I need to be liked? Absolutely not. I like to be liked. I enjoy being liked. I have to be liked. But it’s not like this compulsive need to be liked, like my need to be praised.” No, these are not my words. These are the words of Steve Carell’s character Michael Scott from the best show (yes, seriously), The Office. We read these words and laugh, but how much does this battle rage within our souls? Is it just me? Perhaps, but I don’t think I’m alone in this battle between my flesh and the Spirit.
I have to daily fight this fear of man that seeks to creep up inside of me. If I don’t wage war within myself, it’ll paralyze me. If I fear man, I won’t share the gospel (and if I do share the gospel, it may be a diluted version of the gospel, which seeks to minimize any talk of sin so that I don’t step on anyone’s toes). If I fear man, I won’t preach faithfully. If I fear man, I’ll find myself caring more about pleasing the world than living faithfully according to the Word of God. The fear of man is enslaving. The fear of man hinders our service to the Lord.
In Amos 7:10-17 we see a man stand boldly upon the Word of God. He doesn’t recant. He doesn’t back down. His delight is in the Law of the Lord. His name is Amos. Amos is a book of justice and judgment, and Amos is preaching to Israel and bringing the message of judgment from God and as you might expect, it isn’t received well. In fact, Amaziah the priest calls for Amos to quit preaching. He says, “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 (Amos 7:12-13).”
Amaziah is that hypocritical, religious person you would meet on the street as you’re out evangelizing that says he doesn’t need to hear about God because “he’s good.” Hypocritical, religious people don’t actually delight in the Word of God, they only pretend like they do.
The priest said he didn’t want to hear the Word of God any longer. The “church” would not have the Word of God preached any longer! Talk about a sad state of affairs. Amaziah told Amos to leave. Further, Amaziah called the temple the king’s sanctuary and a temple of the kingdom. He omitted God’s name, which is fitting because God wasn’t worshiped there, even though they claimed to love God.
But look at how Amos was tempted. He was tempted to seek self-interest, “success” and “security.” Amaziah commands him to leave for the sake of remaining unharmed. This wasn’t a place for a man like Amos. He needed to “go” for this was “the king’s sanctuary and a temple of the kingdom.” Second, according to Amaziah, Amos would have better luck with his “act” down in Judah instead of up in Israel. He told Amos to go to Judah and prophesy there. He would have an audience. People would respect him there. His ministry would “thrive” down there. He’d be on the conference circuit in no time! We also see that Amos was tempted to seek security. If he goes to Judah, he could have bread to eat. They would take care of him. The “pay is better in Judah.”
Aren’t we tempted in a similar way today? Christians are threatened with these same ideas. We live in a time where the cancel-culture is increasing and perhaps it’ll be worse as the days progress. We’re called bigots for standing on biblical truth. We’re “non-inclusive nor tolerant. We’re judgmental. We’re hateful.” This is coming from the non-believers. From the religious, we’re “hard-hearted, cold, legalistic, and unloving.”
We’re facing temptations and threats from all sides. “Stop speaking!” That’s what we hear. So, what do we do? What do we do when we are called by God to speak, yet the world around us tells us to remain silent?
What does Amos do when he’s commanded to cease prophesying? He prophesies! I love that. He rebukes Amaziah and brings judgment against him. He states that he didn’t seek out this “profession.” God called him and he was being faithful. We see this in Acts don’t we? Peter and John are before the council and are told to stop teaching in the name of Jesus. What do they say? “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 4:19-20).”
Again, we see this in the next chapter. The apostles are arrested and told to stop teaching and they say something similar. They say, “We must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). I want to be a man with this sort of resolve. I want to be a Christian that lives with this boldness, that stands in the face of opposition and says, “I’m not backing down. I cannot but speak of what I have seen and heard.” Lord, give me that boldness. May we be a people that understand that the calling from God to speak overshadows the calling of the world to shut up.
In a world of celebrity pastors and social media, it’s encouraging for me to look back and see a man that didn’t chase worldly approval or success. His mission was obedience to the Lord. Listen, if you wish to serve the Lord faithfully, you need to be prepared to face opposition, persecution, and trials. They’re inevitable. Jesus teaches this, doesn’t He?
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you (John 15:18).” He says, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward is great in Heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matt. 5:10-12).” Peter speaks to this idea and says, “beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Pet. 4:12).”
But Jesus doesn’t just teach on this; he models it. Was He despised? Yes. Was He hated? Yes. Was He rejected? Absolutely. He was killed. He was killed and He came to put sin to death. He wasn’t oblivious to His mission. He knew what it would cost. Yet, the writer of Hebrews said, “Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Heb. 12:2).”
Did you catch that? “For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” what a beautiful verse of Scripture. Jesus despised the shame. He looked down upon the shame of the cross. How different is this from our way of thinking. Generally, we fear being shamed by others. We don’t enjoy being despised by men. We want to be liked. And often times our desire to be liked pullsus off the track of biblical faithfulness. But Jesus endured. He endured because of the joy that was before Him. What was that joy? Spurgeon said,
“the joy which Christ felt! It was the joy of feeding us with the Bread of Heaven—the joy of clothing poor, naked sinners in His own Righteousness—the joy of finding mansions in Heaven for homeless souls—of delivering us from the prison of Hell and giving us the eternal enjoyments of Heaven! But why should Christ look on us? Why should He choose to do this for us? Oh, my Friends, we never deserved anything at His hands! As a good old writer says, “When I look at the Crucifixion of Christ, I remember that my sins put Him to death. I see not Pilate, but I see myself in Pilate’s place, bartering Christ for honor. I hear not the cry of the Jews, but I hear my sins yelling out, ‘Crucify Him, crucify Him.’ I see not iron nails, but I see my own iniquities fastening him to the Cross! I see no spear, but I behold my unbelief piercing His poor wounded side—
‘For You, my sins, my cruel sins, His chief tormentors were!
Each of my sins became a nail and unbelief the spear.’”
The Joy of Christ was the joy in our redemption for the praise of the Father’s glory. What is our joy? It is our redemption. It’s our inheritance that we have in Christ Jesus. It’s the blessing we have of living eternally in glory with our God.
So, how do we live like Amos in this world today? We meditate on the gospel. We immerse ourselves in the miracle of salvation. As we do our hearts will be filled with great joy and awe in the God we serve. We go before Him and pray consistently for Him to give us the strength necessary to accomplish our calling here on earth. And, we set before us the glorious joy that we will one day experience fully in communion with our God.
O God, thou art very great,
My lot is to approach thee with godly fear and humble confidence, For thy condescension equals thy grandeur,
And thy goodness is thy glory. I am unworthy, but thou dost welcome; Guilty, but thou art merciful;
Indigent, but thy riches are unsearchable. Thou hast shown boundless compassion towards me
By not sparing thy Son, And by giving me freely all things in him; This is the foundation of my hope,
The refuge of my safety, The new and living way to thee, The means of that conviction of sin,
Brokenness of heart, and self-despair, Which will endear to me the gospel. Happy are they who are Christ’s,
In him at peace with thee, Justified from all things, Delivered from coming wrath, Made heirs of future glory;
Give me such deadness to the world, Such love to the Saviour, Such attachment to his house,
Such devotedness to his service, As proves me a subject of his salvation. May every part of my character and conduct
Make a serious and amiable impression on others, And impel them to ask the way to the Master.
Let no incident of life, pleasing or painful, Injure the prosperity of my soul,
But rather increase it. Send me thy help, For thine appointments are not meant To make me independent of thee,
And the best means will be vain Without super-added blessings.
–Confidence, The Valley of Vision
Soli Deo Gloria,
If you would like to stay updated on new content, please click the “follow” button at the bottom of the page. Also, you can go and like our Facebook and Instagram pages (look at bottom of the page) for more content! Thanks for reading!