Read Amos 8
A Basket of Ripe Fruit
8 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked.
“A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered.
Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
3 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!”
4 Hear this, you who trample the needy
and do away with the poor of the land,
“When will the New Moon be over
that we may sell grain,
and the Sabbath be ended
that we may market wheat?”—
skimping on the measure,
boosting the price
and cheating with dishonest scales,
6 buying the poor with silver
and the needy for a pair of sandals,
selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
7 The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done.
8 “Will not the land tremble for this,
and all who live in it mourn?
The whole land will rise like the Nile;
it will be stirred up and then sink
like the river of Egypt.
9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your religious festivals into mourning
and all your singing into weeping.
I will make all of you wear sackcloth
and shave your heads.
I will make that time like mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “The days are coming,” declares the Sovereign Lord,
“when I will send a famine through the land—
not a famine of food or a thirst for water,
but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.
12 People will stagger from sea to sea
and wander from north to east,
searching for the word of the Lord,
but they will not find it.
13 “In that day
“the lovely young women and strong young men
will faint because of thirst.
14 Those who swear by the sin of Samaria—
who say, ‘As surely as your god lives, Dan,’
or, ‘As surely as the god of Beersheba lives’—
they will fall, never to rise again.”
God continues to reveal to Amos His judgment of the Northern kingdom, Israel. This vision pictures ripe fruit which represents the end of Israel’s time as a flourishing kingdom. Amos reminds Israel of their prideful injustice and flagrant oppression of the poor. The end to rotten Israel is near. Amos describes God’s judgment with vivid descriptions that reveal the depth of wickedness permeating Israel and the intensity of God’s judgment on His people who have rejected Him by oppressing the vulnerable and cheating the poor.
In reading Amos’ prophetic words, one might respond with fear, dread, conviction, or relief that this is not for our day. Amos underscores that the judgment of our Sovereign Lord is certain. There will be an end to the evil perpetrated by those who reject God. In Amos’ description, he points to a day when the land will tremble and God will make the sun go down at noon, darkening the earth in broad daylight. God will make it like mourning for an only son. These days of judgment will bring silence from God who has repeatedly spoken to Israel through His prophets and His word. This famine of deadly significance will be an inability to hear God.
As sobering as these words are, there is hope revealed in the next chapter. There also is hope in Amos’ description of the dark day when mourning for an only son occurs. Jesus’ day on the cross was that day. As His death on the cross brought the earth to tremble, the day to darken, people to mourn, and shaken followers to fear, God’s judgment on evil and injustice was born by our Lord Jesus. He paid the penalty for our sin and wickedness with His life. As Romans 8:1 reminds us, “There is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.” Jesus paid it all!
- What is your reaction to the judgment prophesied for Israel? (fear, conviction, relief?)
- How have you heard from God as you read His word throughout the book of Amos?
- How does your understanding of God’s response to evil and His provision in Jesus spur you to gratitude and hope?
Listen to the modern hymn “In Christ Alone” and be reminded of the hope we have in Christ. Reflect on this line: “Till on that cross as Jesus died, the wrath of God was satisfied. For every sin on Him was laid, here in the death of Christ I live.”
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