Amos 8 POT-LUCKS TURNED INTO FUNERAL DIRGES

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INTRODUCTION TO AMOS CHAPTER 8

A bowl of summer fruit─the season is over─the end has come upon my people Israel. The dancing and singing will be silenced.  The land is going to tremble─worse than after a flood.  Their pot-lucks are turned into funerals and their country music into sob songs.  They are pictured living in a foreign land with the pagans ruling over them and a few can remember the old time prophets and they long to hear the word “just one more time.”  “I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread or water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

EXPOSITION TO AMOS CHAPTER 8

1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit. 

The fruit basket would include such fruits as grapes, pomegranates and figs.

2 And he said, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A basket of summer fruit. Then said the LORD unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.

 This bowl of summer fruit came at the end of the harvest and God is about to have a harvest of judgment on Israel.

3 And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD: there shall be many dead bodies in every place; they shall cast them forth with silence.

 Dead bodies will be strewn everywhere and the singers will be howling as the dead bodies are picked up for burial no one wants to talk about the reason for God’s anger.

4 Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,

They had trodden all over the poor…people had lost their homes and farms…swallowed up by the rich.   When the poor failed it only afforded them another opportunity to make money.

5 Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?

I was raised on a farm and my parents did not go to church but when Sunday came they refused to work the fields. Today Christians are weary of the restraints of the blue laws, and have cancelled most of them, because no common work might be done therein. This is the character of many who are called Christians.  Because of our carnal heart we want no restraints and thus profane holy days.  They were weary of holy duties, because their worldly business stood still on these days.  These people 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 would do anything to make a fast buck. Dishonesty came in many forms─the rates of exchange for money and cheating with weights and measures.

 6 That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; yea, and sell the refuse of the wheat?

They bought the poor for silver which was of little value. Joseph and Jesus were both sold for thirty pieces of silver.  The courts were so corrupt that a pair of sandals would buy a slave.  First, by dishonesty and oppression they gained their lands and goods. Then the poor would sell themselves and these double dealers would buy them for little of nothing.

Lev 25:39  ‘And if a countryman of yours becomes so poor with regard to you that he sells himself to you, you shall not subject him to a slave’s service.

They had created the conditions and now claimed to be working within the framework of the law.

After sifting the wheat through a sieve they would mix a portion of the hulls and chaff and small seeds and unfilled grains among the good thus giving the buyer a poor measure.

 7 The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.

God swears that he is keeping track of their sins and won’t forget their deeds.

8 Shall not the land tremble for this, and every one mourn that dwelleth therein? and it shall rise up wholly as a flood; and it shall be cast out and drowned, as by the flood of Egypt.

 When God pours out his wrath it will be like a river rising above flood stage and sweeping everything in its path to ruin.  Amos pictures the land trembling and the people mourning.

9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:

 When leaders fall and nations collapse God likens it to the sun going down or the moon turning to blood or the sky falling.  Now, let’s take a look at the blackness and darkness that happened to Israel.  Suddenly the unlooked for crash came.  Pekah was the king of Israel and had reigned for seventeen years when he along with Rezin the king of Syria attempted to extirpate the line of David and set up a Syrian of the line of Tabeel on his throne.  

 Isa 7:6  “Let us go up against Judah and terrorize it, and make for ourselves a breach in its walls, and set up the son of Tabeel as king in the midst of it,”

Ahaz was weak, with no human power to resist; his “heart was moved, and the heart of his people, as the trees of the forest are moved with the wind”

Isa 7:2  When it was reported to the house of David, saying, “The Arameans have camped in Ephraim,” his heart and the hearts of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake with the wind.”

So, Tiglath-pileser came upon Pekah and carried off the tribes beyond Jordan.

2Ki 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon and Abel-beth-maacah and Janoah and Kedesh and Hazor and Gilead and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria.

Pekah’s sun had set, and all was night with no dawn. Shortly after, Pekah himself was murdered by Hoshea as he had himself murdered Pekahiah.   

 2Ki 15:30  And Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck him and put him to death and became king in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

After an anarchy of nine years, Hoshea established himself on the throne; the nine remaining years were spent in the last convulsive efforts of an expiring monarchy, in which he was subject to Shalmaneser.  Hoshea then rebels against Shalmaneser and expected help from Egypts king by the name of So which help was like depending on a broken reed.  Shalmaneser  conquered all of the 10 Northern tribes of Israel and the lamp went out and there was darkness in all the land.  The following scriptures will tell the full story.

2Ki 17:1-18  In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king over Israel in Samaria, and reigned nine years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, only not as the kings of Israel who were before him. 3  Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea became his servant and paid him tribute. 4  But the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea, who had sent messengers to So king of Egypt and had offered no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year; so the king of Assyria shut him up and bound him in prison. 5  Then the king of Assyria invaded the whole land and went up to Samaria and besieged it three years. 6  In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and carried Israel away into exile to Assyria, and settled them in Halah and Habor, on the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes. 7  Now this came about, because the sons of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and they had feared other gods 8  and walked in the customs of the nations whom the LORD had driven out before the sons of Israel, and in the customs of the kings of Israel which they had introduced. 9  And the sons of Israel did things secretly which were not right, against the LORD their God. Moreover, they built for themselves high places in all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city. 10  And they set for themselves sacred pillars and Asherim on every high hill and under every green tree, 11  and there they burned incense on all the high places as the nations did which the LORD had carried away to exile before them; and they did evil things provoking the LORD. 12  And they served idols, concerning which the LORD had said to them, “You shall not do this thing.” 13  Yet the LORD warned Israel and Judah, through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments, My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14  However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15  And they rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers, and His warnings with which He warned them. And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. 16  And they forsook all the commandments of the LORD their God and made for themselves molten images, even two calves, and made an Asherah and worshiped all the host of heaven and served Baal. 17  Then they made their sons and their daughters pass through the fire, and practiced divination and enchantments, and sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the LORD, provoking Him. 18  So the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight; none was left except the tribe of Judah.

After reading the above comments and scripture you can see how there was darkness over all the land.

10 And I will turn your feasts into mourning, and all your songs into lamentation; and I will bring up sackcloth upon all loins, and baldness upon every head; and I will make it as the mourning of an only son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

Its dooms day for them─their parties will be turned into funerals and their songs will not be lyrics of happiness but a funeral dirge.

11 Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:

In the previous chapter we noted that Amaziah had banished Amos from their territory and told him to take his vision and messages from God and go back to his goat keeping and his tree trimming job in Tekoa.  They didn’t need his kind in the King’s chapel.  One judgment however stands out above all others: the nation will experience the silence of God, a famine of the words of the Lord. A few more prophets succeeded Amos, but after Malachi no prophet appeared in Israel for four centuries, until John the Baptist came to announce Jesus.  The 10 tribes were banished to Iran and now the people run everywhere to hear the word of the LORD but they won’t hear it.

 12 And they shall wander from sea to sea, and from the north even to the east, they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the LORD, and shall not find it.

Judgment day had happened to the nation that did not want God to interfere in their lives and now they are pictured as seeking the word of the Lord and not finding it.  The previous verses and comments left us with the full picture of the nation whose sun had gone down.  Take a hard look at the following verse for it sets the record straight.

Eze 7:26  ‘Disaster will come upon disaster, and rumor will be added to rumor; then they will seek a vision from a prophet, but the law will be lost from the priest and counsel from the elders.”

13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
Their lives were falling to pieces because of the lack of water during the drought and famine.  This was a drought in which the bread and water of the word was scarce.

Eze. 7:27  ‘The king will mourn, the prince will be clothed with horror, and the hands of the people of the land will tremble. According to their conduct I shall deal with them, and by their judgments I shall judge them. And they will know that I am the LORD.'”

God did not speak to them through the prophets; He breathed not upon them his Spirit.   He did not appear to them, but is silent and hidden. There was   enmity between God and Israel.

14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beersheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again. 

God had repeatedly told them to swear by his name but this rebellious people swore to by their idols and God says that their idols shall fall and never rise again.

Jos 23:7  in order that you may not associate with these nations, these which remain among you, or mention the name of their gods, or make anyone  swear by them, or serve them, or bow down to them.

 Hos. 8:5 He has rejected your calf, O Samaria, saying, “My anger burns against them!” How long will they be incapable of innocence?

Hos 8:6  For from Israel is even this! A craftsman made it, so it is not God;

Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces.

 Ch 24:18  And they abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their fathers, and served the Asherim and the idols; so wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their guilt.

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Amos 1 GOD SENDS AMOS TO DAMASCUS, GAZA, ASHDOD, ETC.

According to the first verse, Amos prophesied during the reigns of Uzziah over Judah (792-740 B.C.) and Jeroboam II over the Israel (793-753). After the reign of Solomon the Kingdom of Israel was split into two kingdoms. The Northern 10 tribes were called Israel (nick-named Ephraim) and the Southern two tribes were called Judah. In the North the religious shrines had become centers of vice and by Amos’s day the people had become pagan at heart. The Dan and Bethel shrines were about calf worship and Idolatry. Into this situation God chose as his spokesman a simple shepherd and itinerant orchard worker who was an enthusiastic Jehovah worshiper. He was from the working class of people but he understood human nature. This Tekoan shepherd launches out in his prophecy like a boiling pot he takes on such issues as social injustice and economic issues. His messages touched people, politics and purses. This commentary will explore the messages of Amos about the various Nations.
HIGHLIGHTS OF AMOS
Amos was like a roaring lion. This true man of God takes on the establishment. Ritualism had supplanted religion. They sneered at the thought of a rugged country man pouring out his messages like muriatic acid on a concrete floor. His messages were plain and simple he likens their escape to a shepherd yanking back a leg or an ear from a lion’s mouth, or to a person escaping with only a table leg or a corner of a blanket. His messages were bad news. He portrays God as being sick and fed up with their brand of religion.

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Amos 2 MOAB PASSED INTO OBLIVION

This inhuman act was prompted by the spirit of vengeance. The most outstanding men shall be removed. Centuries have looked down on Moab and not a descendant living and fifty or more of her cities lie in total ruins. The scene passes from Moab to Judah and Amos predicts the burning of her palaces and then turns to Judah’s unthankfulness.

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Amos 3 GOD PAYS ISRAEL A VISIT.

Israel and Judah are urged to hear the word of the Lord. God tells them that he is not threatening them without a cause. That lions don’t roar without a prey. Trumpets don’t sound with a cause. That two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. The prophet tells them that God does not do anything without revealing his intentions beforehand. He tells the prophet to publish in the palaces from Ashdod to Egypt what he had planned to do about their violence. He lets them know that in the day he pays them a visit that they will be lucky to escape with a table leg or a blanket. God says “I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel;…I will smite the winter house and the summer house…” This visit will not be pleasant. Read the exposition for further details.

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Amos 4 SAMARITAN WOMEN LED AWAY WITH NOSE HOOKS.

The women of Samaria had led their husbands around and now he tells them that they will be led away to captivity with fishhooks in their nose. God had withholden the rain, smitten them with blasting and mildew, gardens had failed trees and crops were ravished by the locust, their young men had perished. Deuteronomy 28 was being fulfilled before their very eyes and yet they could not see. The prophet urges them to prepare to meet their God. He’s coming down hard on them with the devastations mentioned in the text. Yes, it will not be a god that they carry around with them or wear around their neck. It will be the God who is the mountain shaper and the wind maker─he’s the one who brings everything out of nothing. This visit won’t be friendly and they will have no one to help them.

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Amos 5 GOD WAS SEEKING AN OCEAN OF JUSTICE

The prophet does not rejoice over the fact that God is going to destroy the nations around Israel and punish Israel with an exile into slavery. The nation will be greatly reduced by ninety percent because they had turned judgment into wormwood. They are urged to seek the maker of the Atoms and the Angels and not the golden calves of Bethel. Amos has a word for the rulers who are bribed and the fraudulent dealers. Again, he speaks of a remnant and of wailing and lamentations when he passes thru with his judgment. He hates their sacrificial feasts where there is no piety. He wants an ocean of justice and a river of fairness. But, because of their stubbornness he will cause them to go beyond Damascus to a real hell hole to spend their days and none of that generation will return.

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Amos 6 LIVING IN THE LAP OF LUXERY

They were still living in denial and laying on beds of ivory and living it up with excessive drinking and made no connection with the people. They “just hadn’t gotten it.” It’s getting worse─ten men in one house and all are dead and a relative comes for the burial. The last verse of the chapter says it all and here it is summarized: I will rise up a nation against you (Syria) and they will make hash of you from the extreme north to the extreme south.

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Amos 7 AMOS IS THROWED OUT OF THE COUNTRY

The seventh chapter consists of two parts. First A vision of grasshoppers or young locusts, which devour the grass, but are removed at Amos’ entreaty; second by Fire drying up creeks and springs, and withering part of the land, but removed at Amos’ entreaty; and third by a plumb-line to mark the buildings for destruction. Secondly by Amaziah demanding that Amos go back to Judah with his preaching. In Consequence of the foregoing prophecies, Amos tells the priest Amaziah that his wife will become the town whore and that his children will all be killed and that he will face deportation and receives a life sentence in a heathen prison.

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Amos 8 POT-LUCKS TURNED INTO FUNERAL DIRGES

A bowl of summer fruit─the season is over─the end has come upon my people Israel. The dancing and singing will be silenced. The land is going to tremble─worse than after a flood. Their pot-lucks are turned into funerals and their country music into sob songs. They are pictured living in a foreign land with the pagans ruling over them and a few can remember the old time prophets and they long to hear the word “just one more time.” “I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread or water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”

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Amos 9 GOD ORDERS THE PAGAN SHRINE DESTROYED.

Too little─too late. God is pictured as standing on the altar in the courtyard of the idol temple and he is going to bring it down with a crash. People will try and hide but he who has the keys of Hell and Death will find them and justice is on the way. It is as sure as the rising of a mighty flood. The prophet declares that the “eyes of the LORD is upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth;” The house of David will again rule—the Messiah Jesus has fulfilled this prophecy.

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