SEVENTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST – FIRST SCRIPTURE READING: Amos 7:7-15

The Lord showed me a vision of himself standing beside a wall and holding a string with a weight tied to the end of it.  The string and weight had been used to measure the straight-ness of the wall. 8Then he asked, “Amos, what do you see?”  “A measuring line,” I answered.  The Lord said, “I’m using this measuring line to show that my people Israel don’t measure up, and I won’t forgive them anymore.  9Their sacred places will be destroyed, and I will send war against the nation of King Jero-boam.”  Amaziah, the priest at Bethel, sent this message to King Jeroboam of Israel:  “Amos is plotting against you in the very heart of Israel.  Our nation cannot put up with his message for very long.  11Here is what he is saying:  `Jeroboam will be put to death, and the people will be taken to a foreign country.’”  12Then Amaziah told me, “Amos, take your visions and get out!  Go back to Judah and earn your living there as a prophet.  13Don’t do any more preaching at Bethel.  The king worships here at our national temple.”  14I answered: “I’m not a prophet, and I wasn’t trained to be a prophet.  I am a shepherd, and I take care of fig trees.  15But the Lord told me to leave my herds and preach to the people of Israel.