The time of God’s patience draws surely to a conclusion,
and if men do not make an end of sin,
God will make an end of them,
even though they be His professing people.
To continually trample under foot the Word of God will end in a famine of the Word of God,
which in a time of trouble will be the sorest judgment.
1 Thus hath the Lord GOD shewed unto me: and behold a basket of summer fruit.
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.
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.
4 ¶ Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
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?
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?
7 The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
13 In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
14 They that swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy god, O Dan, liveth; and, The manner of Beer-sheba liveth; even they shall fall, and never rise up again.
Amos 1 – J. Vernon McGee
Amos 8 – The Worst Famine of All
What is more fragile than summer fruit! So beautiful, so refreshing, yet so readily corrupted and diseased. To Amos it was an emblem of the rapidity with which dissolution would overtake his rebellious nation. The end had arrived. The Great Husbandman could do no more. When the harvest has come, separation between good and bad is inevitable (Isaiah 5:4; Matthew 13:30).
The crimes of the ruling class were enormous. Eager to increase their stores, they wearied of time given to religion. They grudged passing a day without opening their salesrooms. They did not scruple to make their measures (ephah) small, and to demand a greater weight of money (shekel) from their clients. These were crimes that could not be passed over. It is an awful sentence when God says, “I will never forget” (v. 7). Invasion would sweep the land like an inundation. Since the people would not heed the God-sent messengers, they would be withdrawn. There would be a famine of the Word of God, and those who had most despised it, because enamored with the fascinations of youth, would be smitten with an insatiable appetite for it. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Amos 8:11—I will send a famine in the land,… of hearing the words of the LORD.
Israel will not listen to God’s prophets, and their voices would be silenced. This was a just retribution. As they were not willing to have the word of God, so there should be a famine of that word. The word of God was precious in the days of Samuel, because there was no open vision; so should it be again. And perhaps this privation will one day be meted out to our beloved country. There is a much larger proportion of our population outside than inside our churches; and men proudly eschew God’s Word. It may be that the message of the Gospel will almost cease from among them, and be replaced—as in so many instances is now the case—by the dry husks of morality and ceremonialism. Then they shall run to and fro to seek the word of the Lord, and shall not find it.
We may question ourselves, whether we feed enough on God’s Word. If we would grow strong, we must feed, not on condiments and sweetmeats, not on tid-bits and scraps, not on versicles and pious sentences; but on the strong meat of the Word, on the doctrines, histories, types of Scripture. Oh for more hunger and thirst for these! Would you have it so? No child will enjoy its meals who is constantly being surfeited with sweets between times. Beware lest you cloy your appetite with the painted sweetmeats of the world.
It is worth notice, that if men have not God, they will find some substitute. They will swear by the sin of Samaria, and say, Thy God, O Dan; thy manner, O Beersheba. This is why palmistry, spiritualism, so-called Christian science, are just now so much in vogue. Man’s nature is made for God, and hungers for a substitute. —Our Daily Homily