Questions: Why is God calling it quits? Has He given us sufficient warning? What have we done to displease Him? Why is He so incensed about the poor? How much will we suffer from His anger? What is it that we truly lack? Will we seek it while we still have the opportunity?
“Read More” to pursue answers from the Prophet Amos.
Lord, make me a Fountain of your Love.
Draw me into your Presence
And fill me with your Holy Spirit
That I would know you as my Father
And manifest the image of Christ
In this world, and the world to come. Amen.
Whoa. Where did this come from? Is God playing mind-games with Amos? Or word games?
I must confess I take a perhaps unholy delight in seeing God pun. The basket of summer fruit (‘qayits‘) illustrates that the end (‘qets‘) is coming. One could almost make the same pun in English, by using a basket of “kumquats” as a sign of calling it “quits.”
All kidding aside, this is no laughing matter:
And what is their terrible sin that has finally made God’s patience run out?
Hear this, O ye that swallow up the needy, even to make the poor of the land to fail,
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?
That we may buy the poor for silver, and the needy for a pair of shoes; [yea], and sell the refuse of the wheat?
Injustice, deception, exploitation — not a pretty picture. Though they keep the sabbath with their bodies, their hearts and minds are filthy with greed.
Imagine that going on for generation upon generation, at a time when the poor had no recourse. When those God had appointed to protect and care for the poor had become the cause of their misery.
No wonder God is ticked:
The LORD hath sworn by the excellency of Jacob, Surely I will never forget any of their works.
And He’s not alone (or, at least, He shouldn’t be):
Given all that, we perhaps shouldn’t be surprised at the severity of their punishment.
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:
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.
And, as we were reminded yesterday on Easter, God knows what it is like to mourn the death of an only son.
But that’s not the worst of it:
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:
Truth is like oxygen, or (as one married friend of mine said) like sex. When you have it, it is easy to take for granted; but when you don’t, it it hard to think of anything else. We become obsessed:
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]. In that day shall the fair virgins and young men faint for thirst.
But the tragedy is not that God has withheld His word, but that we have so filled our ears with pleasing falsehoods that we can no longer hear Him:
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.
Not the most uplifting chapter! Yet, it is very much a word in season. Will I have ears to hear?
God, I want to confess my own pride, selfishness, and self-sufficiency. I have not treasured your word in my heart. I have not concerned myself with the poor. I have relied on your graciousness and patience to the point of contempt. Forgive me, O my Father. Wash me with the blood of Jesus, and fill me with your Holy Spirit. Teach my starving heart your Word of Truth, that I may feast and not die. Have mercy on me, through the death and resurrection of your Son. I ask all this in Jesus name, Amen.
About the Title:
Today’s title is my own pun on the Hebrew word for “summer fruit.”