Amos 8* The near approach of the ruin of Israel. (1-3) Oppressionreproved. (4-10) A famine of the word of God. (11-14)1-3 Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to beeaten; which signified, that the people were ripe fordestruction, that the year of God's patience was drawing towardsa conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, butmust be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw fromthem any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or theirown unrighteousness. Sinners put off repentance from day to day,because they think the Lord thus delays his judgments. 4-10 The rich and powerful of the land were the most guilty ofoppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were wearyof the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wishedthem over, because no common work might be done therein. This isthe character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath dayand sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will eitherbe profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend ourtime better than in communion with God? When employed inreligious services, they were thinking of marketings. They wereweary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood stillthe while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies tothemselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, whowould rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have noregard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will notlong keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those theydeal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance ornecessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouringpoor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, insuch numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord,we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the serviceof God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker;as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that aregot by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that getthem. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks thecase of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed,miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation everywhere. It shall come upon them when they little think of it.Thus uncertain are all our creature-comforts and enjoyments,even life itself; in the midst of life we are in death. Whatwill be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful andsensual pleasures! 11-14 Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At anytime, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of Godis the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yetsome will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a goodsermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sinaway. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plansand endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand themin no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, forwant of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let usvalue our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinningthem away.
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