Amos 8

* The near approach of the ruin of Israel. (1-3) Oppression

reproved. (4-10) A famine of the word of God. (11-14)

1-3 Amos saw a basket of summer fruit gathered, and ready to be

eaten; which signified, that the people were ripe for

destruction, that the year of God's patience was drawing towards

a conclusion. Such summer fruits will not keep till winter, but

must be used at once. Yet these judgments shall not draw from

them any acknowledgement, either of God's righteousness or their

own 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 of

oppression, as well as the foremost in idolatry. They were weary

of the restraints of the sabbaths and the new moons, and wished

them over, because no common work might be done therein. This is

the character of many who are called Christians. The sabbath day

and sabbath work are a burden to carnal hearts. It will either

be profaned or be accounted a dull day. But can we spend our

time better than in communion with God? When employed in

religious services, they were thinking of marketings. They were

weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still

the while. Those are strangers to God, and enemies to

themselves, who love market days better than sabbath days, who

would rather be selling corn than worshipping God. They have no

regard to man: those who have lost the savour of piety, will not

long keep the sense of common honesty. They cheat those they

deal with. They take advantage of their neighbour's ignorance or

necessity, in a traffic which nearly concerns the labouring

poor. Could we witness the fraud and covetousness, which, in

such numerous forms, render trading an abomination to the Lord,

we should not wonder to see many dealers backward in the service

of God. But he who thus despises the poor, reproaches his Maker;

as it regards Him, rich and poor meet together. Riches that are

got by the ruin of the poor, will bring ruin on those that get

them. God will remember their sin against them. This speaks the

case of such unjust, unmerciful men, to be miserable indeed,

miserable for ever. There shall be terror and desolation every

where. 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. What

will be the wailing in the bitter day which follows sinful and

sensual pleasures!
11-14 Here was a token of God's highest displeasure. At any

time, and most in a time of trouble, a famine of the word of God

is the heaviest judgment. To many this is no affliction, yet

some will feel it very much, and will travel far to hear a good

sermon; they feel the loss of the mercies others foolishly sin

away. But when God visits a backsliding church, their own plans

and endeavours to find out a way of salvation, will stand them

in no stead. And the most amiable and zealous would perish, for

want of the water of life, which Christ only can bestow. Let us

value our advantages, seek to profit by them, and fear sinning

them away.
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