Sunday, July 15, 2018

Amaziah's #FakeNews

Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, gets almost everything wrong today: Who Amos is, Why he is prophesying, Where they are right now, Where Amos needs to be...

But the fact that God called and sent Amos, and that Jesus called and sent the Twelve, and that we are called and sent too is a chance to skip the Fake News and learn the truth about missions. 

15th Sunday, Year B 

Amos and Apostles

In just 4 verses today you can learn a lot about the Old Testament. 

Many consider OT boring, or confusing, or irrelevant. 

But usually it's just that it's never been explained well. 

Or at all. 

Look at today’s 1st and let it help us understand today’s gospel. 

"Flee to the land of Judah"

Where are they?

When are they?

~About 800 BC

In 900s, the kingdom split

A Divided kingdom:

First there had been the three kings we talk about most
Saul, then David, and then David’s own son Solomon. 

Three kings of a United Kingdom of Israel 

After Solomon’s death, it split:

Solomon's son was a jerk.

So they had a rebellion/secession that split them into two nations:

One with just 2 tribes now,

One with the other 10 tribes

The one with 2 had the tribe of Judah which meant they kept the line of David, 

and had Benjamin, which meant they kept Jerusalem. 

Smaller and poorer, but had the throne and temple: 

Went by the name of “Judah”. 

Southern kingdom

Had more dynastic and religious legitimacy, but had just 2. 

Other 10 tribes, the northern tribes, went by old name of “Israel”

Probably a boast: all the sons of Jacob!
(His other name had been Israel) 

10 of 12 tribes. 

Up north, more fruitful land. 

Bigger, richer, lack some legitimacy

So we have this split. 

It will carry on till Israel, the northern 10 tribes, are destroyed by Assyrians maybe 100 years later...

and later on, Judah taken to captivity and exile in Babylon. 

But they will at least get to come back. 

"Get out of here. Get out of Bethel."

What's Bethel? 

The major shrine of the northern kingdom

Splitting with Jerusalem meant losing not only the Davidic king, but also David’s and Solomon’s temple. 

This was the harder dilemma to deal with. 

The line of David not very old, but Hebrew people’s attachment to Ark of Covenant, meeting tent, and sacrifices of the temple...

So their new rebel king and followers had pointed to Bethel. 

Old shrine from Abraham's day

literally, “House of God”

King of Israel had set up own temple, own priesthood, own sacrifices. 

Big deal. 

Many priests and families fled south to smaller kingdom of Judah 

Amaziah: "for it is the king’s sanctuary and a royal temple"

No. And no. 

That’s #FakeNews

It’s neither

Amos had called out Israel, these northern 10 tribes, for their rebellion, injustice, and their tendency to mix with other people and worship their false gods

Like King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in previous generations whom Elijah fought against 

Now Amos is calling this generation out. 

“Go to Judah.”

“There earn your bread by prophesying!”

Maybe they'll listen. 

Maybe they'll support you. 

Maybe you can get a job in their king’s court.

Amos says, “Again, no. That’s not me either.”

I don't prophesy to make people happy

Not trying to earn a wage. 

I’m not a court prophet.

Shepherd and Dresser of Sycamores. 

God chose me. 

Specific task. 

Unexpected task. 

A task that could be rejected

But I'll go.

Jump to Gospel reading

Yes, we’ve heard it tons of times. 

See the connection?

Obvious parallel. 

In both Testaments, God makes clear:

1) He doesn't chose the pros 

Fishermen, farmers, tax collectors

2) He still asks a lot of those he calls 

Apostles having to shake dust off feet when rejected

3) But he's with you

You know he has called you and he accompanies you with signs and power

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