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Bible Studies in Amos 8


This chapter opens with a beautiful picture of the basket of fruit, the fourth vision. God asks Amos what do you see? Amos responds that he sees a Basket of ripe fruit. This seems to be a pleasant comforting picture and almost an encouragement to Amos. This of course is the fourth vision but it does not last long before God goes into a full description of the judgement that will fall on the children of Israel. The fruit- Israel- is ready to be consumed in judgement. When the harvest was ripe, they held the Feast of Tabernacles, giving thanks for the harvest and looking forward to the coming year. But this is different; God says he won’t spare them any longer, so he pronounces his judgement on their wickedness. He then goes section by section listing the ways in which they will be judged.

  • Temple praise will be replaced by wailing- their failed sacred actions
  • An invading nation will cause distress and anguish, then a silence, not an end but a shock
  • Their market trading will be upset- their commerce will fail
  • Their hope for prosperity will come to nothing- their personal wealth will be lost

God shows that the whole of their life will be changed as they have failed in all sections of it and it all began with their debasement of the Temple worship. It is a final; it is too late for repentance.


Look at the issues that God raises about their actions, their reaction was not repentance but impatience to get on making money:

  • They wanted the Sabbath to be over so they could get back to making money, worship was a hindrance to their prosperity.
  • They despise and ill-treat the needy and the poor
  • They are dishonest in their trading, they changed God’s standards:
    • Under sell
    • Inflate the price
    • False scales which are out of true
    • Cheat the poor and needy making slaves of them for very little cost, putting them into debt for the necessities of life, i.e., sandals!
    • Sweep up the dust and sell it with the grain

Then come the promised consequences:

  • The disaster will have an effect on all the people
  • The land will be in turmoil like the Nile- the Nile would on an annual basis flood from the volume of water, which built up in the source area, the hills of Ethiopia. The flood would bring sediment down from the hills and it would spread across the low-lying land and then recede. In normal circumstances this would make the land fertile for the next crops. Here it is seen to be a total disruption of their lives.
  • Even the natural day/night sequence would be disturbed
  • If they tried to turn to their festivals to reverse the events, it would not be accepted, they will go into mourning, wear sackcloth and shave their heads, it would be a bitter experience, likened to losing an only son.
  • A famine is promised, but not of food or drink but a spiritual famine.
  • The Lord would be missing, yet they would try and search the land to find him, they would be unsuccessful.
  • God taunts them for their insincere worship and faith. Their worship of idols, set up in Samaria, at Dan and Beersheba. These gods will be of no use and the people will suffer loss because of their idolatry.
  • We see these events:
    • V8 an earthquake
    • V8 a flood
    • V9 an eclipse
    • V10 a funeral
    • V11 a famine

We need to remember these five elements of judgement when we study the Book of Revelation later in the year.

We see in these latter verses, 11-14 that they were frightened by the outcomes, but they had taken the words of the prophets of the Lord as a necessary nuisance. So now when reality is dawning they rush about seeking remedies, they go from sea to sea, north to east, but ignore going south to Jerusalem, where there is still God’s presence in the Temple. His light is still there, but they seek everything and everywhere and everything but the truth. In ch 4 they were promised various lacks, but here the lack is of ‘the Word of the Lord’. The young people are weak because they have not been brought up in the faith; their natural youthfulness is not sufficient for the issues of the coming day.


When they turned to the idols of Dan and Beersheba; they would find them to be failures, they searched for spiritual help from false gods, because of their depraved minds, doing what they ought not to do. [Rom 1.28] They had passed the point of no return and the end was coming. This is a similar picture to that found in Revelation 20; where it will be too late to repent and those whose names are not in the book of life will be cast into the lake of fire. This coming exilic judgement contained no promise for the future; no hope of return; it was final. What a disaster for the nation that were ‘my people’; ‘my chosen one’.




Page last updated: Friday 15th January 2016 5:32 PM
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