It was so with the shepherd-king. ‘He chose David also His servant, and took him from the sheepfolds: from following the ewes that gave suck He brought him to feed Jacob His people, and Israel His inheritance.’ It is a blessed experience when the Lord takes man or woman from the ordinary avocations of life, and gives them specific work for the souls of men.
I. He takes us into covenant relationship with Himself.—This is the greatest experience which can befall us, when God comes into our lives and says, ‘I have redeemed thee: thou art Mine.’ He puts the ring of changeless love upon our finger, and binds us to Himself and Himself to us for ever. This is fundamental to all our after-influence.
II. He takes us into fellowship with His purposes.—He shows us those other sheep which are not of this fold, and whispers: ‘These also I must bring.’ He shows us the great multitudes that sit in darkness and the shadow of death, as He did to Carey, who kept the map of the world before him as he cobbled shoes. And, lastly, He lays on us the burden of the perishing souls of men, so that we rest not day nor night thinking of them.
III. He takes us into the chamber of His anointing.—The servants are bidden to go on before, our relatives are not told; but God takes the vial of oil, and pours the chrism of Pentecost on our heads, and from that moment we are His anointed ones. Oh, that we may never come to our Gilboa! (Cf. 1 Samuel 10 with 2 Samuel 1.)
‘Often in the story of Israel, prophet and priest were in collision, because the prophet rebuked the priest for his heartless ritual and shameless life. So it was here, and, as so often, the false priest accused the prophet to the king. Amaziah felt that so long as Amos persisted in making Bethel the scene of his ministry, there would be no foothold there for himself; so by approaching the king on the one hand, and by suggesting to Amos to remove Judah where he would be sure at least of his bread, he hoped to secure relief. In answer, Amos could only fall back on his original commission which had come to him unsought. But, instead of Amaziah speaking against him, it would have been wiser far to have joined forces in a common effort to bring Israel back to God, because the sins which were rife could only bring the punishment of those ruthless Assyrian soldiers, who would show no mercy to man or woman.’