Amos Chapter Eight

 

Read Amos 8:1-3 – The Second Vision

 

v.1-2Thus hath the Lord GOD showed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. 2And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.”

 

            The second vision that God shows Amos is that of a basket of fruit.  This is fruit that has already been picked, ripe fruit; perhaps even somewhat overripe.  The fruit represents Israel and the fact the God’s judgment is due, and even overdue because of their rebellion and their sin.  We have a similar warning to the remnant of Judah by Ezekiel:

 

Ezekiel 7:1-4Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 2Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land. 3Now is the end come upon thee, and I will send mine anger upon thee, and will judge thee according to thy ways, and will recompense upon thee all thine abominations. 4And mine eye shall not spare thee, neither will I have pity: but I will recompense thy ways upon thee, and thine abominations shall be in the midst of thee: and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

 

v.3And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.”

 

            God repeats his message regarding their worship.  In an earlier passage they have been told that their worship is an abomination, that God will no longer hear them:

 

Amos 5:23Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols.”

 

Now he tells them that their songs of worship will become “HOWLINGS” of pain, despair and consternation because of the judgment that he will bring upon them.  There will be dead bodies everywhere as the nation is destroyed.  In Amos 6:9-10 God indicated that 90% of their population would be destroyed or removed; 100 of 1,000; 10 of 100.

 

Read Amos 8:4-10 – Warnings to the Rich

 

v.4Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,”

 

God is now addressing the rich and powerful specifically.  They were like the unjust judge:

 

Luke 18:2 “Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man:”

 

Christ goes on in this setting to describe how he denies a poor widow justice until she wears him down and he relents just to get rid of her.  He closes this discourse by telling them that God will avenge those “SPEEDILY” who have been wronged.  But the people who live with this mindset, just as Israel is living just don’t think that God will even the score some day.  David’s description of a corrupt man asks this question:

 

Psalms 14:4 “HAVE ALL THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY NO KNOWLEDGE?  WHO EAT UP MY PEOPLE as THEY EAT BREAD, AND CALL NOT UPON THE LORD.”

 

In the words of the Holy Spirit through the seer Agur:

 

Proverbs 30:14There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.”

 

v.5-6Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit? 6That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?”

 

            These are the charges that God is bringing against the rich.  They can’t wait to feed their greed.  They are tired of the restrictions brought about by observing the sabbaths and new-moons; they didn’t want to “waste” their time attending to the worship of God because it restricted their ability to make money or to enjoy pleasure.  Even after Israel is destroyed, Judah is held captive and God’s power over them was manifested; they were returned to Jerusalem the men of Judah were no better:

 

Nehemiah 13:15-16 “In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. 16There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.”

 

Oh, they went through the motions of worshipping God but their hearts and minds were elsewhere, chafing because this was not what they wanted to be doing.

            As is common among people with this condition of heart they were also always looking for ways to take advantage, to get more, by any means necessary.  They made the ephah small.  What is an ephah?  It is a dry measure equaling 3 pecks and 3 pints in English terms, just a little less than a bushel.  When they sold, they short changed their measure, they overcharged when possible, they falsified their scales and cheated their customers.  Micah makes the same charge:

 

Micah 6:10-11Are there yet the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is abominable? 11Shall I count them pure with the wicked balances, and with the bag of deceitful weights?”

 

He charges them with buying the poor for silver, indenturing them and making them servants or slaves, buying the needy for a pair of shoes, even selling the wheat chaff that is basically useless in food value.

 

v.7  The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.”

 

            God swears by the good name of Jacob of Israel their father that he will not allow any of the wrongs that they have committed escape judgment.

 

Hosea 9:9They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gib-e-ah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.”

 

And those things that God does not forget, neither does he forgive.  In the case of the unjust, unmerciful men God will be just as unmerciful.  Those whose judgments have shown no mercy are not to expect mercy from God.  He will not give it.

 

v.88Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.”

 

            The very land will tremble and everyone that dwells therein will mourn the result of God’s judgment.  God seems to refer to two floods in this scripture.  First of all he reminds them of the power of his wrath when he destroyed the entire world by flood saving only righteous Noah and his family who served him.

            Secondly he mentions the flood of Egypt.  We do not have a record of God bringing a flood against Egypt but we do know that God destroyed Pharoah and his army by water in the Red Sea.  The commentator, Matthew Henry, thinks that that occurrence is what is being referenced here.  Complete destruction is what is promised, just as also prophesied by Hosea:

 

Hosea 4:3  Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.”

 

v.9And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:”

 

            This judgment and destruction will come upon them as unexpectedly as the end of time:

 

I Thessalonians 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

 

God through his prophet Isaiah gives a similar warning to Judah:

 

Isaiah 13:9-10Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. 10For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”

 

v.10And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.”

 

            Just as Amos had recorded in verse 3 where the “SONGS OF THE TEMPLE SHALL BE HOWLINGS”, God’s wrath and vengeance against those who defy him will bring to them mourning, howling and lamentation.  Just as Isaiah warned Moab:

 

Isaiah 15:1-3The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; 2He is gone up to Ba-jith, and to Di-bon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Me-de-ba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off. 3In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.”

 

Read Amos 8:11-14 – God Will Take Away His Word

 

v.11Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:”

 

            Now God warns them that he will bring a famine against them.  Not a famine like we know in the normal course of world events but a famine of truth, a famine of the word of God.  Israel has been there before, endured times when God did not commune with them:

 

I Samuel 3:1And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision.”

 

A similar judgment is spoken of by the psalmist Asaph in his description of the destruction of God’s sanctuary in Jerusalem and the synagogues of the Jews:

 

Psalms 74:7-9 “THEY HAVE CAST FIRE INTO THY SANCTUARY, THEY HAVE DEFILED by casting down THE DWELLING PLACE OF THY NAME TO THE GROUND.  THEY SAID IN THEIR HEARTS, LET US DESTROY THEM TOGETHER: THEY HAVE BURNED UP ALL THE SYNAGOGUES OF GOD IN THEIR LAND.  WE SEE THEIR SINGS there is NO MORE ANY PROPHET: NEITHER is there AMONG US ANY THAT KNOWETH HOW LONG.”

 

God will not even communicate with them through a prophet.  They have become as those spoken of by the Holy Spirit through Paul:

 

II Thessalonians 2:8-118And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:”

 

            Are we not enduring a famine of the word of God today?  Do we not see millions of people living in a Godless delusion brought by Satan and millions more worshipping God in vain because they are teaching the commandments of men (Mark 7:7)?

 

v.12-13And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it. 13In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.”

 

            This famine of the Word of God will be so great that they will wander about trying to find it and will not.  Young men and young women will faint; die of thirst for the “WATER OF LIFE”, die spiritually and be separated from God eternally.

 

v.14They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.

 

            This destruction will be brought upon those who swore by the gods of Dan and Bethel.  Those who worshipped the golden calves in their idol temples as Jeroboam commanded.  They knew better because of the words of Moses who destroyed the calf at Sinai:

 

Deuteronomy 9:21And I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust: and I cast the dust thereof into the brook that descended out of the mounT.”

 

Those who give idols, whether they be of gold and silver or the pleasures of this world today the worship that is due God; will suffer the same consequences.  They shall fall and never rise up again because God, after exhausting his patience and longsuffering will give them up to wallow in their sin and excess.  Then when the final judgment comes He will cast them out with the devil and his angels into eternal separation and never ending torment.