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The Chapter opens with solemn threatenings and concludes with gracious promises. The reference to Gospel days is clearly proved from the application made to this scripture in the Acts of the Apostles, under the Apostle's preaching.
"I saw the Lord standing upon the altar: and he said, Smite the lintel of the door, that the posts may shake: and cut them in the head, all of them; and I will slay the last of them with the sword: he that fleeth of them shall not flee away, and he that escapeth of them shall not be delivered. (2) Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down: (3) And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: (4) And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good. (5) And the Lord GOD of hosts is he that toucheth the land, and it shall melt, and all that dwell therein shall mourn: and it shall rise up wholly like a flood; and shall be drowned, as by the flood of Egypt. (6) It is he that buildeth his stories in the heaven, and hath founded his troop in the earth; he that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name. (7) Are ye not as children of the Ethiopians unto me, O children of Israel? saith the LORD. Have not I brought up Israel out of the land of Egypt? and the Philistines from Caphtor, and the Syrians from Kir?"
Amos Is here describing what he saw in a vision. So the Lord spake to the Prophets. The whole of Isaiah's prophecy is called the vision of Isaiah. Isaiah 1:1 . Observe the opening of this memorable scripture: the Lord standing upon the altar, to shew his authority. And observe further, it is the altar, not between the cherubim on the mercy-seat, for now the Lord is come to judge, not to pardon. Smite the lintel of the door, said the Lord; as if he meant to say, let it be thrown down. And while those that run away seem to escape, it is but seemingly so, for the Lord will pursue and overtake, whether they take shelter in heaven or hell; whether on mount Carmel or the bottom of the sea. Reader! who can protect from the power of such an Almighty avenger of wrong! Who shall stand when he appeareth. See Nahum 1:6 . The expostulation of the Lord is striking. Are ye not, 0 Israel, as the children of the Ethiopians? that is, what pretensions have you to my favour more than they. Reader! if we know not the Lord in a way of grace, we are no better than others in the claims of nature!
"Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are upon the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from off the face of the earth; saving that I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob, saith the LORD. (9) For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (10) All the sinners of my people shall die by the sword, which say, The evil shall not overtake nor prevent us."
I have often thought that this part of Amos's prophecy is peculiarly ours, and it is indeed enough to arrest our most serious attention, as a nation and a people. Surely the eyes of the Lord are upon us! Our land hath been for many generations like Judea of old, with the gracious eyes of the Lord upon us, from one end of the year even to the other end of the year. Deuteronomy 11:12 . But what hath been our provocations from father to son? What the Lord said by the Prophet Malachi is our character, Malachi 3:7 . Let the Reader observe the awful sifting time here spoken of; . and though there is indeed, that sweet and precious promise, that in this strict search, not a grain of the pure wheat shall perish or fall to the earth; yet in national calamities, who but must take part? When the Lord for the wickedness of a land maketh it barren, these form awful times. In the days of Lot, though sent out of the overthrow, his city was destroyed. Genesis 19:29 . In the days of Jeremiah, the good figs as well as the had were carried away. Jeremiah 24:5 . And the Lord by Ezekiel declared, that in respect to temporal things, he would cut off the righteous with the wicked. Ezekiel 21:3 . Oh! who could but mourn to lose even but our ordinances, our sabbaths; and to have the golden candlestick of the blessed gospel removed out of its place! Revelation 2:5 .
"In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: (12) That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. (13) Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. (14) And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. (15) And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God."
If we had the least doubt to what day this referred, or what was meant by the raising up the tabernacles of David, the Apostles of Christ would determine both. See Acts 15:16-17 . And if we could after this hesitate, or need enquiry further concerning the David spoken of the general scope of prophecy would soon settle this point.. The tabernacles of David can mean no other, than in their fallen and ruined state, our poor ruined nature. But yet as belonging to our spiritual David, the Lord Jesus Christ, it must be raised again in him. And under the beautiful figure of husbandry, the plowman, and the reaper; the mountains, and the hills dropping sweet wine; surely, nothing can more delightfully set forth the spiritual blessings of the gospel. Here the Lord may truly be said to bring hack the captivity of his people, and to feed them with a fulness of salvation. And, I pray the Reader to observe, how blessedly the Prophet closeth the whole, in the assurance the Lord gives of the everlasting duration of his people in him, and under his favour. Perhaps a more blessed promise is not to t be found in the whole body of prophecy. It is similar to that glorious one of the same kind in the writings of the Prophet Jeremiah; and it is confirmed with Jehovah's own solemn declaration, saith the Lord God. Yea, saith (the Lord,) I will rejoice over the in to do them good; and I will plant them in this land assuredly, with my whole heart and with my whole soul. Well may all the faithful say, Amen. Jeremiah 32:41 .
READER! flow we have gone through the writings of this highly taught Prophet, let us pause, and gather into one view the whole purport and scope of his ministerial labours in this department, to which God the Holy Ghost commissioned him. We find him, like most of his brethren, in the college of the Prophets, opening his prophecy with marking the desolate state of the Church in the day of his ministry With what earnestness and zeal do we behold him calling upon Israel to turn to the Lord! How strong and full the figures he makes use of, to set forth the alarming situation in which Zion lay before the Lord. He reproves indeed all the nations around, and fully shews the Lord's determination to arise to their punishment. But it is Israel and Judah more immediately, whom the Prophet mourns over for their transgressions and sins. Here the Prophet finds cause for the exercise of sorrow and affliction, while calling upon them to turn from their iniquities, and to seek the favour and loving-kindness of the Lord. But, Reader! do not forget to connect with the whole, and to gather into one point of view the close of Amos: sermons. His last Chapter in the end of it is all gospel. Jesus and his salvation, the spiritual David of his people, is here set forth, SG truly, lovely, gracious, and interesting, that it is impossible, under the teaching of God the Holy Ghost, not to see, that to this one object, and to this alone, the whole of the Prophet's ministry was directed. All that Amos said before, and all the alarms he rang to the sinners in Zion, all his labours were to introduce the glories of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, and to give the Church the gracious promises, how the Lord would recover his people, and manifest his grace, notwithstanding all their undeservings. May the Lord give both to Writer and Reader grace, to gather the many blessed instructions intended to the Church by this prophecy. Farewell! faithful servant of the Lord! may all that are called to the ministry of the word find equal strength to resist all the Amaziahs' which oppose them. Blessed Lord Jesus! raise up many an Amos in the present day, to hold forth to thy Church and people the truth; and never fail to publish the whole counsel of God. Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Amos 9". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany