Amos 8 Devotional
by Pastor Lawrence
In this second vision from the Lord, Amos sees a basket of summer fruit that signifies that the day of God’s judgment has finally arrived; the end has come. Instead of passing by Israel or passing over (hence “Passover) them, the Lord will pass through them bringing forth his mighty arm against them because of their sin. The scene is described as a complete slaughter with dead bodies strewn across the land with only an eerie silence remaining. In this revelation, the Lord gives some of the reasons for such a devastating blow. First, they have no desire to worship and obey the Lord. Although they observe the holy days by law, inwardly they are chomping at the bit to get back to work to make a profit dishonesty by taking advantage of the poor and the needy. It is this utter disregard for the Lord and those created in his image that has hastened the day of God’s judgment. And the Lord swears that the same type of judgment that fell upon the Egyptians years before will now fall upon his own people because of their pride.
Similar to other prophecies regarding the day of the Lord’s judgment, here it is described as a day of great darkness and confusion, mourning and bitterness. But in this passage, the Lord doesn’t focus so much on the physical judgments against his people as much as he hones in on the spiritual judgments against them. Notice, in vv.11ff that the primary judgment rendered is not a famine of bread or water, but “of hearing the words of the Lord.” We must remember that in Biblical times, ordinary people did not have a copy of God’s Word in their homes, or on their phones, thus they would have to go looking for a priest who had a copy of God’s Word on a scroll in a synagogue or seek out a prophet who could speak God’s word verbally to them. But as a result of God’s judgment, no true priest or prophet could be found to comfort God’s people since God’s wrath remained upon them. Individuals are pictured as wandering from sea to sea, from the north to the east, running to and fro in search of God’s word, but they cannot find it.
In this day and age, it would be hard for us to imagine that such a judgment would be possible for God’s people. The Holy Scripture are available so plentifully, even at a touch of a button. Nevertheless, it is possible that in a country under God’s judgment one may not be able to find a true preacher of God’s Word to help in understanding the gospel as it has been given. There are places in the world today in which no true church remains, no genuine preacher speaks, and no fellowship can be found. That is a very scary prospect for a nation as a whole. But individually, this same judgment can be applied. Although there may be plentiful churches and preachers and fellowships of saints, the individual in question may have so hardened his heart that he can’t tolerate such Christianity, so, instead, he continually searches out other congregations to try and satisfy his hunger but to no avail. There are many who have walked away from the Lord in this manner and have faced such a spiritual judgment. May the Lord use such examples as can be found in this book of prophecy to keep us awake, alert and hungry for God’s Word.