Does Intercession Work?

Amos  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  29:03
0 ratings
Sermon Tone Analysis
View more →


2 Peter 3:9; Amos 7:1-9
Charles Dickens opened his famous novel A Tale of Two Cities this way:
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...
We’ve entered into a season that for many is the best of times - it is a time when we celebrate the birth of our most blessed Savior by spending time with family and celebrating the gift given to us by sharing presents and our presence with one another
But for some in our midst it is also the worst of times - and even though it has long been disproven that suicide rates spike during the holiday season, for many it is a difficult season as memories of loved ones and special holidays past are vividly remembered or family is missed
And as saddening as that is, the more saddening and sobering fact is that there are many who pass this season without really knowing what Christmas is all about or the hope that can be found in Christ
In a recent movie by Ray Comfort called “Christmas Gone Viral” he demonstrates two truths - the first is that it is very easy to use Christmas to get to the Gospel and second that there are many people in America and around the world that don’t recognize that Christmas is really about Christ
What might even be more saddening than that is that there are millions of Christians who stand idly by and watch as their family, friends and neighbors practice the trappings of this season without ever embracing the real reason for the season
2 Peter 3:9 NASB95PARA
The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
Now it can be very intimidating to share your faith with someone - I know. In 2008 I went to the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony for President Barak Obama intent on sharing my faith. The atmosphere was one of a party and spirits were high. It was such an intimidating atmosphere that I failed to open my mouth that day.
Tonight through Amos we’re going to see the easiest way to reach out to another person. The amazing thing is that you don’t even have to talk to them - because you’re going to be talking to God on their behalf.
Open your Bibles with me to Amos 7 we’ll be reading verses 1-9.
Read Amos 7:1-9

Unfathomable Grace - Amos 7:1-6

Amos 7:1-6;
We’re entering into a section of the book, that will take us to the end of our study of Amos, where Amos is going to experience several visions.
Visions were very common ways that God communicated with the prophets to show them what would or could take place. They were a way for God to clarify or to demonstrate for the prophet what the event being foretold looked like. As human beings 75% of our learning is done visually and these visions were a way that God could capitalize on that.

Locust Vision

Amos 7:1-3; 1 Kings 7:4-6;
The Lord is creating this storm of locusts
Almost like He has His hand going around in a circle and the locusts are appearing and the cloud just gets bigger and bigger
After the King’s cutting but before the common folk’s harvest
There were two cuttings - one for the King and a second later harvest for the farmer’s needs
The timeframe here would be late spring (March or April) just when the rainy season would be happening and crops would be growing
A locust swarm at this time would be devastating to the farmers as they would have nothing to eat and no fodder for their livestock until the next harvest
This would completely devastate the people
The closest thing we could have to understanding this would be the devestation caused by locusts on the American plains in 1884
Farmers, their pants legs cinched with string, ran to cover their valuable wells. In many cases their drinking water was about the only thing they could save. As the swarms landed on houses, fields and trees, the skies cleared, but then the real devastation began. The locusts soon scoured the fields of crops, the trees of leaves, every blade of grass, the wool off sheep, the harnesses off horses, the paint off wagons and the handles off pitchforks. They washed in waves against the fences, piling a foot or more deep. They feasted for days, even devouring the clothing and quilts farmhands threw protectively over the vegetable gardens. Livestock feasted on the locusts, and farm families killed many of the invaders by building bonfires. But there were just too many of the “nasty things” for man or beast to control. The locusts, farmers grimly quipped, “ate everything but the mortgage.”
The locusts ate everything for an area of 2 million square miles - and a report issued estimated that only one family in ten had enough provisions to last the fall and winter.
This is the same dire situation that would have faced Israel had this plague been allowed to fall.

Fire Vision

Amos 7:4-6;
Next Amos is shown a vision that God is going to contend with the Israelites by fire.
The fire is said to consume first the great deep and then to begin to consume the farmlands.
There could be several explanations for this fire - the first being the type of devastation that fell on Sodom and Gomorrah when the Lord judged those cities in Genesis 19 with brimstone and fire falling from Heaven.
Or it could have been a volcanic eruption that causes lava to come up out of the sea or the springs and then begin to devour the farmlands.
Again this would result in a total destruction of the nation of Israel.

Amos Intercedes

Amos intercedes for the people in each of these visions
There is great Old Testament precedent for intercession
Abraham dared to attempt intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18
Several times in the desert Moses intercedes for the people of Israel
After they worship the golden calf Exodus 32
After they refuse to enter the promised land Numbers 14
There are several things we can learn from Amos prayers of intercession
At the first vision Amos prays for forgiveness
Lord God, please forgive
Amos offers a prayer much like Solomon did at the dedication of the Temple
1 Kings 8:37-39
Notice though that there is no evidence given of any actual repentance on the part of the people - God simply relents and based on Amos’ prayer He doesn’t enact the locust swarm
Amos wasn’t concerned with the Israelite’s behavior - he was concerned with his responsibility
God had appointed him as a prophet to the people of Israel
This role was two fold - not only was he God’s voice to the people but he was also the people’s advocate to God
Charles Spurgeon said it this way “Men of God, if you are indeed the Lord’s, and feel that you are His, begin now to intercede for all who belong to you. Never be satisfied unless they are saved too.”
Now we cannot effect salvation in the heart of another individual - but we can forestall God’s judgement of them until such time as the Spirit can work on them
In his second prayer of intercession Amos utters only one word - stop.
He is pleading for people that he desperately cares about and begging for God to spare them
Even here he doesn’t ask for their forgiveness - just that God would not bring about the judgement that had been revealed to him.
Here again God relents and waits.
Amos prays in deep faith and confidence that God will actually hear his prayers and relent
Often as intercessors we (at least I) fail in two areas - we don’t really believe the person can be saved and second we limit God’s ability to save them because we’re not sure He is actually going to hear us
Andrew Murray said it this way “Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ, and expect great things.”
Oh thank God that our intercessor never gives up on us. Even now Christ is at the throne interceding for us with the Father. The Spirit is praying for us in ways that we can’t even begin to imagine because they are deeper than we could ever utter.
Don’t lose heart - for we know what awaits those who do not come to Christ and if only for that reason we should be praying ceaslessly for the unsaved in our midst.
Because God will not continue to tarry long…His judgement is coming.

Point 2 - Amos 7:7-9

Amos is shown another vision of God standing next to a wall
There is much debate over the translation here
The original Hebrew word could mean either tin or lead
With that being said I think the best translation is that which we have and that being a plumb line
The question is what is the plumb line in Amos?
I think there are three possibilities - the Gospel, the Law and Amos himself
Reading from our 21st century perspective it would be easy to say that of course it’s the Gospel - but we should be careful of that. The Gospel says that we could never be good enough, that we can’t measure up and therefore Christ had to come and do what we couldn’t do. For the plumb line to be the Gospel and for God to judge the Israelites for not measuring up to the plumb line would not resonate with the Gospel message.
Amos is another option that could represent the plumb line - but he too was a sinful man who required a saviour and so for God to measure the Israelites against Amos as the plumb line wouldn’t make sense either.
I think in the context of the book and the judgements against their religious practices as well as their political failings the best understanding of the plumb line would be the Mosaic convenantal laws that they were expected to uphold. The people of Israel had wandered from the covenant they were given and thus were out of plumb with the intentions that God had for their nation.
Because of this He would no longer forestall His righteous judgement of them.
Now is when we can take that understanding and apply our 21st century understanding.
We know that there will be a time when God judges all men - Hebrews 9:27 promises that it is appointed once for man to die and then comes the judgement
And on that day we know what the plumb line will be - it will be the Law - whether or not we have lived up to God’s righteous standard of perfection. And we will all know that we, on our own have failed to measure up. But we have a Savior who did and for that reason the plumb line will hang straight and true for us.
It is what we do with this knowledge that is important.
In the case of Israel their high places and sanctuaries would lie desolate. The high places were shrines on the hills and the sanctuaries were the temples located in Bethel, Dan and Gilgal. All of these places would be laid waste as proof of the emptiness of their religion.
The other area that would be judged would be the failed political leadership of the nation. Instead of providing protection for the people, these men had taken advantage and abused their position and the people of the nation.
The people of Israel failed to recognize that a day of judgement was coming. We cannot do the same. Everywhere we look Christ is being removed from the public square - not just at Christmas time but all year. We have an apostate nation and an increasingly apostate church.
Amos 3:8 NASB95PARA
A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?
How can we remain silent? If nothing else we must at least intercede on behalf of those we know who are not believers.
Charles Spurgeon says it best “If then you will be damned, let me have this one thing as a consolation for your misery, that you are not damned for lack of calling after, you are not lost for the lack of weeping after, and not lost for the lack of praying after.”


Amos intercedes for a nation that he should have hated. Can we do less for those we love?
What I want to do tonight is to gather in groups of no more than three - each of you pick three people to intercede for…someone who doesn’t know Christ. This isn’t a time to pray for sickness or jobs or anything except salvation. Pick one family member, one neighbor or friend and one person you haven’t met yet and pray for their salvation.
Remember who you group up with and next week, and the week after, and the week after ask one another how the intercession is continuing to go. If there is a praise report that’s beautiful, but the question is will we continue to pray even when there doesn’t seem to be any fruit evident?
The nation of Israel went into exile after Amos interceded for them - yet that didn’t stop him. Will it stop us?
Related Media
See more
Related Sermons
See more