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1 Thus hath Adonai Yahweh 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 Yahweh unto me, The end is come upon my people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more.
Chapter 8 opens with the fourth vision of judgment: the basket of summer fruit. Fruit is a fitting symbol here. The Scriptures say much about fruit: good fruit and bad fruit; selfish fruit for oneself; unselfish fruit for others. Israel was indeed at this time a basket of fruit: beautiful and rich-looking, but ripe to the harvest - already plucked and soon to be devoured. Their fruit was gathered, and it was evil fruit: by the fruit the tree is known. Hosea said at this same time, and it is God's great indictment of Israel after the flesh, by which Israel after the Spirit would do well to constantly examine itself-
"Israel is an empty vine: he bringeth forth fruit unto himself" (10:1).
This has always been the great weakness and tendency of the flesh, even supposedly enlightened flesh: to spend its energies and efforts on its own interests and desires, forgetting that its whole reason for existence, and hope for the future, is to serve God and not itself. Beyond life's necessities, we have no time for anything except God's work, if we desire to be faithful and accepted stewards of God's grace. Sadly, it was the same in Paul's day, even among "believers." He says-
"I have no man likeminded (except Timothy) who will naturally care for your state, for all seek their own, not the things which are Christ's" (Phil. 2: 20-21).
Bro Growcott - Seek the Lord, and Ye Shall Live
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.
This appears to be clearly a reference to the great earthquake that Amos mentions at the beginning, and strengthens the probability that it was a Divine visitation to warn Israel and confirm Amos' words.
9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith Adonai Yahweh, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day:
As Amos prophesied, to all appearances they were enjoying high noon: strong and prosperous, with much of their day before them. Everything seems stable and secure. Amos' words seemed impossible of fulfillment, but within that generation, all was gone.
11 Behold, the days come, saith Adonai Yahweh, 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 Yahweh:
And truly they did, when it was too late. This time will come at last for us all. We remember the parable of the foolish virgins. Today we have the Word in our hands, with plenty of opportunity to study it that we may be "wise unto salvation": not just a ritual twenty minutes a day, and then back as fast as we can to present, passing things. How true for us are the words of the Psalmist we often sing?-
"O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day" (Psa. 119:97).
It is only those of such a heart who will stand approved at the last day. Today is the day of opportunity: tomorrow may be too late.