I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore fig trees.
We see in the case of the prophet Amos that Jehovah noticed the potential of one of his servants, even though he might have appeared to many to be rather insignificant or unassuming. Amos’ bold response to the corrupt priest Amaziah confirmed that Jehovah had chosen the right person and could use his abilities that might not at first seem obvious. Yes, Jehovah notices the potential in each of his servants. He assured King David that he would always guide him, with ‘his eye upon him.’ Do you see why that should be encouraging to us? Even though we may lack self-confidence, Jehovah can help us to go beyond our perceived limits and reach goals that we would not have imagined. Just as an instructor watches an inexperienced rock climber attentively in order to help him find the best handholds, Jehovah is willing to guide us as we make spiritual advancement.
I suppose there is nothing particularly odious about the Watchtower using the prophets to make nice little object lessons for Jehovah’s Witnesses, such as had been done with Jeremiah and now Amos.
However, that is not the intended purpose of the prophets. Although the prophets themselves are of little importance —being mere men who happened to be used by God, even as Amos testified — obviously, their messages were/are important. The words of the prophets are Jehovah’s legal judgments, his judicial decisions —part of his immutable word that transcends time.
And nearly all of the judgments contained in the prophets are earmarked to be unveiled at a future point in time — ultimately, during the final part of the days, concurrent with the coming of Christ. And they most certainly have relevance for Jehovah’s Witnesses, particularly the leadership of the organization now.
The men who were once used by Jehovah to issue his warnings, who stood before power —before Israel’s princes, priests and prophets —to declare God’s judgments to them, are no longer alive. But according to the very word of the prophets themselves, in his special time God will use other individuals whom he will raise up as watchmen, who will function in a similar capacity as the original prophets in declaring the pre-recorded judgments of God to the relevant princes, priests and prophets. That has been my role in these times. After all, we cannot reasonably expect Bethel to announce God’s judgments upon itself, can we?
Personally, I can relate to Amos. I had no pedigree in the truth. For example, my father was not an elder. I was also a tree trimmer, similar to Amos, who said of himself: “I was not a prophet nor the son of a prophet; but I was a herdsman, and I took care of sycamore fig trees. But Jehovah took me away from following the flock, and Jehovah said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’”
About 20 years ago Jehovah took me away from my secular work and my duties as an elder and by his irresistible spirit, over the course of a couple of years he opened my mind to see his word in a whole new light. Although I was a dedicated Luddite at the time God apparently saw my potential. He put a computer in front of me and a keyboard, which I have used to project God’s voice into the modern world.
My motivation for going up against the Watchtower? The answer is found in the 3rd chapter of Amos. “The lion has roared! Who will not be afraid? The Sovereign Lord Jehovah has spoken! Who will not prophesy?’”