The Prophet is here again in this Chapter instructing by figure. By a basket of summer-fruit is shown the state of Israel. The Chapter closeth with the threatenings of famine.
By the similitude of summer-fruit, which of course as soon as it ripens hastens to decay, is shewn, in a lively representation, the transitory state of all men; not only Israel, but all flesh: for all is as grass, and as the flower of the field. But in this place there is a peculiar reference to Israel's hastening to captivity. In a spiritual sense the image is still more striking. How truly short are all the summers of our spiritual enjoyments!
When devotion itself is out of tune by the heart being under no influences of grace; alas! what a sacrifice of fools is then offered! Sabbaths are burdens, ordinances tiresome, prayer a drudgery, in seasons like these. Oh! for grace to be always under the blessed teachings of God the Holy Ghost!
What an awful sound is here! And how dreadfully awful in that land, that parish, that people, that family, or person, in whom it is fulfilled. A famine of bread the common staff of life is distressing. But what is the life of the body to the life of the soul? This threatening was in part accomplished, when the Church was carried into Babylon. And what a dark season in after ages took place, from the close of prophecy to the coming of Christ ? And in our own land before the reformation, what a deplorable condition was this island in! Blessed Lord Jesus! grant that never more our candlestick may be removed out of its place, but let that sweet promise be our portion: though the Lord give the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet shall not our teachers be removed into a corner anymore, but our eyes shall see our teachers, and our ears shall hear a word behind us; saying, this is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:20-21.
READER! while we read the awful threatenings of the Lord to Israel of old, of turning the songs of the temple into howlings, and inducing a famine of the word of the Lord, more to be dreaded than all the famine of bread and water; while we trace the cause in Israel's despising the Lord's Sabbaths, is it possible but we must tremble, lest the crying sins of our British Israel should bring on the same judgments, and from the same causes? Was there ever a day like the present, when the Lord's days were so profaned, or the pure and holy religion of the Lord Jesus so little regarded? Blessed Lord! look in mercy upon our Zion, and take thine own cause into thine own Almighty hand! Pour out upon the remnant of thy people that are left, in the midst of the present adulterous and sinful generation, a spirit of grace and a spirit of supplication. Enable them to Come with weeping, and with earnest cries for the Lord's graciousness to be preserved to our land. And do thou Lord as thou hast said, and let that sweet promise be now fulfilled, which is now so much needed. Then will I turn to the people (thou hast said) a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent; and then will I take away out of the midst of thee them that rejoice in thy pride, and thou shalt no more be haughty, because of my holy mountain!
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Amos 8". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany