March 10, 2011

Minor Prophets XXXIV: Are God's Rhetorical Questions Rhetorical?

"Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? Does a lion roar in the thicket when it has no prey? Does it growl in its den when it has caught nothing? Does a bird swoop down to a trap on the ground when no bait is there? Does a trap spring up from the ground if it has not caught anything? When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?" Amos 3:3-6

"Surely the Sovereign LORD does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets. The lion has roared—who will not fear? The Sovereign LORD has spoken— who can but prophesy? Amos 3:7-8There is a  relationship between the rhetorical questions raised in Amos 3:3-6 to and 3:7-8

The actions of His people have caused the punishment. Their actions have solicited His wrath. The first 3 verses are questions are directly linked to the overall context of inevitable judgment. Things do not happen in a vacuum in God’s universe. God is aware of all things transpiring in His creation and where things demand that He enter His creation and act on it because of any given attribute (such as justice), He will. We see also that once His decision is made it is inevitable and unavoidable. These first five questions are an example of “effect followed by cause” The Lord is the cause or allows things to happen and He is aware of them. The remaining two are reversed to “cause and effect”. Because He knows of it He also can speak through His prophets to warn of it and by doing so He is showing mercy and grace.

The lion (of Judah?) has roared (spoken definitively) through His prophets. He is done hunting, He has caught his prey. He will devour it. All men can do now is prophesy of the coming judgment. We must remind ourselves that prophecy to God is not a revealing of the future for Him. He knows what is going to happened, He planned it. Prophecy is a revealing to man of what God intends to do. This is a really good scriptural indicator of the purpose and use of prophecy and its relation to man and God. God is Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Sovereign, eternal, etc, etc. This is a pretty profound statement about the attributes of God (Myers 115).

Myers, Jacob Martin. "Amos: Introduction-Authorship." The Book of Hosea ; The Book of Joel ; The Book of Amos ; The Book of Obadiah ; The Book of Jonah . Atlanta, GA: John Knox Press, 1978. 114-115. Print.


ArtWerx said...

once, when i was praying, a sort of vision came into my mind, of an ornate book laid open. on it was all of history depicted & laid out, sort of like a child's pop-up book, & i realized that could be a bit like how God see's events.

Don and Shelly said...

Good post, Andy... and so true.

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