“I have seen the Lord standing by the altar, and He saith: ‘Smite the knob, and the thresholds shake, And cut them off by the head — all of them’” Amos 9:1
As with many of the prophets, Amos is known for his writing of judgment. This chapter is particularly interesting to me because the Lord himself is standing beside the altar. This judgment of “smiting” and “shaking” is the destruction of the temple. Many times when God is about to do a great work, he starts with his house, his people. Today God is moving, he is shaking the church to its foundation. The reason is likely we are heading in the wrong direction. God is moving us in one direction, while we are moving the other direction, and honestly we do not want to change. But make no mistake, God will have his way. The verse says, “cut them off by the head”, meaning at the top. There is some difficulty in the interpretation of this phrase, but listen to what John Gill writes about this verse:
the lintel and doorposts are not to be taken literally, but figuratively; and that the smiting and cutting of them intend the destruction of men; by the “head”, the king, and the princes, and nobles, or the priests;
Quite literally God strikes at the head and pulls down the entire house. God is about to shake the power structures and move his people into positions of authority. However, this requires us to make an about face and move with Christ instead of against him.
Let me illustrate how personal this is to me:
Two days after my 40th birthday, the Holy Spirit woke me early in the morning (really early), and showed me a vision. Now don’t freak out – God clearly speaks to his servants through dreams and visions sometimes as scripture tells us. Anyway, part of what I saw was a man (Jesus) riding on a horse coming directly toward me and others who were walking in the opposite direction. As he passed me, he told me to get on a horse and come with him. To do this I had not only to jump on a running horse, but completely change my direction. One last thing I would share is that when I got up on the horse (not sure how I did that), I saw where we were headed – into a deep dark cloud. This is a brief summary of the vision, and I share it to show what God is saying to us today. We are walking along in the wrong direction (away from darkness). But Jesus is calling (really commanding) us to jump on a horse and ride swiftly with him into the deepest and darkest places of the enemy. Friends, Christ is with us leading the way, there is nothing to fear, but we must jump on and change our direction.
After making a complaint to God about evil men prospering, Jeremiah is not doubt shocked at God’s response. He says, ““If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan?” (Jeremiah 12:5) God was telling the prophet that things were going to get worse, but he was also strengthening his resolve so he could “run with the horses”.
The American Church is by and large asleep. We are just walking along minding our own business, and we are completely out of touch with what God is doing. Wake up! God is on the move, he is shifting the high spiritual places (heavenlies), which will shift and move our world as we know it. Get ready to move with Christ instead of expecting him to continue to do the same thing. We must shift and change with him. His chief goal is to shine his glorious light in the dark places, particularly the high places of influence. Jesus is about to “cut off the head” and expose the corruption of those in “high places”. When he does this, we need to be ready to take our position with him and turn darkness into light!