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Amos 7:1-9, Locusts, Fire, and a Plumb Line

Friday, November 17

From Isolation to Community

Narrative Lectionary Daily Devotions written by Kace Leetch from Clergy Stuff.

Amos has been begging for the Lord's mercy on behalf of the people of Israel, who have sinned. When God threatens to send locusts to destroy what is left of the people's food supply, Amos intercedes, and God relents. When God threatens to send fire from the sky to destroy the land, Amos again intercedes, and God once again relents. But this time God will not relent. When God holds up a plumb line (a tool used to measure verticality, or in this case uprightness), the people do not measure up. God proclaims God will no longer pass before the people of Israel. They are on their own.

We were not created to be on our own, especially not on our own apart from God. We were created to be in community. What is so devastating about God's pronouncement is the isolation created by God's unwillingness to walk with the people in this particular situation. Being isolated is psychologically harmful to human beings. In fact, being isolated can lead to physical problems like high blood pressure, infection, and dementia.

But we don't have to be isolated or alone. We can practice the art of communion, communication, and community. We can connect with others. Instead of withdrawing when we are stressed or grieved, we can take the risk to reach out and let others walk the journey with us. We are all part of some community. Who are the important people in yours?

Narrative Lectionary Text: Amos 7:1-9

This is what the Lord God showed me: he was forming locusts at the time the latter growth began to sprout (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, forgive, I beg you! 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: the Lord God was calling for a shower of fire, and it devoured the great deep and was eating up the land. Then I said, “O Lord God, cease, I beg you! 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: 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, “See, I am setting a plumb line in the midst of my people Israel; I will never again pass them by; 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.”