A Vision of Locusts
1The Lord God showed me that he is going to send locusts to attack your crops. It will happen after the king has already been given his share of the grain and before the rest of the grain has been harvested. 2In my vision the locusts ate every crop in the land, and I said to the Lord, “Please forgive your nation. It's so weak. How can it survive?”
3Then the Lord felt sorry and answered, “I won't let it be destroyed.”
“Forgive me for asking.“ (7:2) We ask forgiveness for many things, but how often do we ask forgiveness for the questions we pose God? Does it sound stilted, rather formal; how you might speak to the Queen? What does it say about Amos? He is like Abraham with his plea for Sodom & Gomorrah: “May the Lord not be angry” even though “I am but dust and ashes” may I ask: “If there are just fifty… forty, thirty, twenty, ten” righteous people will you relent?
Are they diffident, weak, fearful, cloying? No, they know themselves, they know God, and they understand the difference. How often do we confuse intimacy with God with casual chumminess? Is he our coach, helping us achieve our “Personal Best”?
No, says Amos, he is “The Lord God All-Powerful.” What is power? What does All-the-Power look like?” It looks like this: “The Lord felt sorry.” That sounds weak. We read about God’s relenting and repenting, and we squirm on the horns of our systematic theological dilemmas: can a God who knows all, can do all, change his mind, make a mistake? Great schisms sprout from the paradox.
Yet, this says more about us, than God. If God is All-Powerful, there is no limit to his power, including to not be constrained by history, even his own. Is a king who is bound by the precedent of his own verdicts more powerful than the king who isn’t?
But it is not just the quantity of power that bothers us, it is its quality. The All-Powerful God does not use power like we do: to control and exploit. He uses it to free, to rescue, to lift, to forgive, to spare, to feel sorry for us, even when we deserve it.
Forgive me for asking – for mercy, for help, for my friends and family, for all that is mine. Forgive me for questioning – your wisdom, your judgment, your power, your goodness. Let me know your kind of power: the powerful kindness that moves us to repentance.