The Coming Day of Bitter Mourning
8 This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit. And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me,
“The end has come upon my people Israel;
I will never again pass by them.
The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,”
declares the Lord GOD.
“So many dead bodies!”
“They are thrown everywhere!”
Hear this, you who trample on the needy
and bring the poor of the land to an end,
saying, “When will the new moon be over,
that we may sell grain?
And the Sabbath,
that we may offer wheat for sale,
that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great
and deal deceitfully with false balances,
that we may buy the poor for silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals
and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:
“Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Shall not the land tremble on this account,
and everyone mourn who dwells in it,
and all of it rise like the Nile,
and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”
“And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
“Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD,
“when I will send a famine on the land—
not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water,
but of hearing the words of the LORD.
They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east;
they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD,
but they shall not find it.
“In that day the lovely virgins and the young men
shall faint for thirst.
Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria,
and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’
and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’
they shall fall, and never rise again.”
Amos 8 Commentary
by Hank Workman
I used to have a friend who said, “If you’re green – you’ll grow. If you’re ripe – you’ll rot.” This statement has stuck with me for years.
As chapter 8 opens the Lord directs Amos’ eyes toward a basket of ripe summer fruit. The point he makes from this visual is His judgment against Israel is ripe. Severe grief and upheaval is coming.
There is such a need for us to be growing in the work of God. As we have accepted His salvation, have gone forth and grown in Him, we should never become ‘ripe’.
“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things.”Philippians 3:12-15
Paul beautifully reveals through his attitude he had not arrived. No matter how much he had changed, how much he had done for the Kingdom, there was still work for him to do. He had matured but not landed – there was still growth for him.
And the same is true for us. So often we become comfortable (remember the blog on complacency a few days ago?) and we begin to grow lax in our commitment and obedience. This becomes a foothold of the enemy. God’s goal is we continue to grow and move forward in Him until our last breath. The goal laid out before, the Holy Spirit continues to call and woo us toward growth and maturity… but not becoming ripe.
Amos 8 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
What can be more susceptible to rot and disease than ripened fruit? There is a short window of time for the beautiful and refreshing sweetness of ripe fruit to be tasted. But after that window, there is no escaping the steep decline. The analogy used here not only illustrates the end result for Israel but also represents the swiftness with which it will occur. The end was near and there was nothing Amos could do about it. He was just a man. Even if he desired, he could not step in as Jesus did to take the full punishment of sin.
When the time of harvest arrives, there is no escaping the separation that must occur. Though the wheat and tares may blend together for a season, there will eventually be a time of clear division. In the same way that Israel’s punishment was inevitable, and God followed through to completion, our world will also be harvested. The people we see each and every day will either go to eternal glory or eternal separation from God. You see, there is no middle ground during the harvest. Wheat or tares. Sheep or goats.
For Amos, he witnessed the same type of crimes we are witnessing today. The elite ruling class preyed on the poor and needy as they continued to climb their ladder of worldly success. Slowly and subtly, they forgot about God and dedicated their lives to material pleasures.
“Eager to increase their stores, they wearied of time given to religion. They grudged passing a day without opening their salesrooms. They did not scruple to make their measures (ephah) small, and to demand a greater weight of money (shekel) from their clients. These were crimes that could not be passed over. It is an awful sentence when God says, “I will never forget,” Amo 8:7”F.B. Meyer
God would strip them of these idols so that they would remember what truly mattered. Their appetite for His Word and His ways had declined and exile would be the only path to bring their priorities back in line. Praise God that through Jesus God’s “I will never forget” has been transformed into “as far as the east is from the west…”