In Amos 5 the prophet pictures the nation of Israel as a young woman lying dead–but nonetheless he delivers a funeral lament for her to hear! Israel is truly dead–yet is commanded to hear. That is a “marvelous contradiction,” as Herman Veldkamp points out:
“In marvelous contradiction, the prophet Amos told the virgin Israel, whose obituary he was reading and whom he already saw lying dead on the ground, to listen to what he was saying–as if a dead person could hear! This obvious impossibility did not stop Amos, for he knew that the impossible is possible with God.” (The Farmer from Tekoa, p. 153).
God’s gracious Word continues to speak to those who are dead in sin. Ezekiel’s vision of dry bones (Ezekiel 37) reflects the powerful co-joining of the Word and Spirit. You cannot respond in your own strength, but God graciously gives new life, enabling those he calls to turn to him.
The Wednesday evening Bible study and prayer at Trinity Presbyterian Church focuses on Amos 5 this evening.