Amos 8: A Time to Reap What Has Been Sown
A day is coming when everyone will reap what they have sown. A day when every deed will be judged. A day when God will pay the wages for the work done. A day when each life will be held up against the plumb line of God’s Word.
In Amos 8 we find such a day. Prior to this chapter, Amos has been warning the people of God that a day of judgement was coming and now he tells them the day has arrived. A basket of summer fruit is used to picture a ripe harvest signifying Israel’s ripeness for judgement. They had rejected God’s commands about how to treat others. As a result of their rejection of God’s Word they oppressed the less affluent, cheated the poor, sold others into slavery, and made all things serve self-interest. They went through the motions of religion and observed the feasts and the Sabbath, but their souls were always set on self, on making money. People and religion were a means to an end; self.
God’s response? “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them….” God says, “time is up.” The buzzer has sounded. It is time to reap what has been sown. Israel had prepared their fields by ignoring God’s Word. They planted seeds of disregard for God’s teaching. They watered it with the oppression of the poor and they fertilized it with superficial religion. Now that their crop had grown, and their produce was in full bloom it was time for the harvest.
This is what the Lord GOD showed me: behold, a basket of summer fruit.
2 And he said, “Amos, what do you see?” And I said, “A basket of summer fruit.” Then the LORD said to me, “The end has come upon my people Israel; I will never again pass by them.
3 The songs of the temple shall become wailings in that day,” declares the Lord GOD. “So many dead bodies!” “They are thrown everywhere!” “Silence!”
4 Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end,
5 saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances,
6 that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?”
7 The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: “Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
8 Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?”
9 “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.
10 I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land– not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.
12 They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.
13 “In that day the lovely virgins and the young men shall faint for thirst.
14 Those who swear by the Guilt of Samaria, and say, ‘As your god lives, O Dan,’ and, ‘As the Way of Beersheba lives,’ they shall fall, and never rise again.” (Amos 8:1-14 ESV)
The praise and worship of the temple will be turned to wailing. Dead bodies will be everywhere. The devastation and destruction will be of such a nature that a hushed silence is all that will be heard. Everyone will mourn at the totality of the destruction which is likened to the flooding of the Nile. God’s judgement will even effect the natural course of events as the sun will go down at noon. Times of celebration will be turned into times of mourning. Songs of celebration will be turned into lamentation and God’s final blow will be a famine of the Word.
Much can be gleaned from this chapter in Amos but let me leave you with a few questions to consider.
For what type of harvest are you laboring?
Have you planted seeds of disregard for God’s Word in your life?
Do you love money more than you love God? (v.5a)
Do love money more than being honest? (v.5b)
Are people a means to your self-interested ends? (vv.4-6)
As you consider these questions keep these words from Paul in mind,
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (2 Cor. 5:9-10 ESV)
By His Grace Alone,