It’s hard to imagine being a prophet. Most of us don’t think of ourselves as prophets. Instead we think of ourselves as teachers, students, administrators, health care workers, social workers, or something else. Not prophets. In order to be a prophet, you have to be a special, extraordinary, even holy person, and most of us don’t think of ourselves in those terms. We’re just ordinary people, often unsure of ourselves, and certainly not very holy. In our own estimation, we are not good candidates for the vocation of the prophet. We’re perfectly willing to live as Christians to the best of our ability, but please, O Lord, please do not ask us to be prophets. Prophets have a hard life. They often get into conflicts with other people. And they tend to get killed before their time.
However, Alex, there is one part of being a prophet that you might be able to understand: the part about needing to speak someone else’s words. A prophet generally does not speak his or her own words, but the words God prompts him or her to speak. Now when Amos sat down to write the words that make up the book of Amos, I doubt that God dictated every single word and made Amos write them down just so on parchment. Instead I assume Amos worked by inspiration. That is, the Holy Spirit worked through Amos’ thoughts, feelings, intuitions, and bodily sensations. The Holy Spirit helped Amos come up with the general ideas, and then allowed Amos to edit those ideas with whatever words Amos chose to use. Still, the ideas, and at least some of the words, weren’t Amos’. They were God’s ideas, and often, God’s words.
- Amos 7:7 - 15