Lesson #5

A Basket of Summer Fruit

Text:  Amos 8:1-14

    Verses 1-3 .  The vision of the summer fruit
foreshadows the approaching end of Israel.  Imagine
viewing a basket of late summer fruit.  It is very soft fruit,
extremely ripe.  Perhaps a lot of gnats and small flies
swarming around it.  And we can imagine the smell of
some rotten fruit near the bottom of the basket.  This is
what Amos saw.  Just as this fruit marks the end of the
summer, so the vision marks the end of Israel.

     The first three visions of Amos concerned judgments
that were averted because of the intercession of Amos. 
But God now proclaims He will not pass by anymore (vs.
3).  There is no reason for Amos to try and intercede.
     The festive songs in their great magnificent palaces
will be turned into songs of lamentation for the dead on
the Day of the Lord.  The Day of the Lord was thought by
them to be a day of God's vengeance upon their enemies,
but instead of it being a day of joy, it would be their
funeral day.  We can almost "feel" Amos' message as he
pictures the awful silence with which the dead bodies will
be case out of all the houses up and down the streets of

          Reasons for the Judgment -- 8:4-6

     Like a beast devourers its prey, so the rich of Israel
had devoured the poor of the land.  They were not
interested in the Lord's word, but only in their business
and in making money.  They could hardly wait for the
time of religious observances to pass so they could get
back to their business of selling grain and other

     But their business dealings were also deceitful!  They
had weights for their scales that cheated their customers,
and their volume measurements were small (vss. 4-5).

     The poor were compelled to pay their debts or else be
sold into debtors bondage for trifling amounts.  The chaff
was mixed with the wheat in selling.  It might look like
good clean wheat on the top of the basket, but in the
bottom was chaff (vs. 6).

      The Lord Would Not Forget Them  -- 8:7-10

     The Lord assures us that he does not forget justice. 
Sometimes we may think that time causes God to forget,
but not so!  The whole land is pictured in an earthquake
and is used to picture God's wrath.

     Another metaphor of a sad day and a sudden calamity
is the picture of a clear day turning into darkness, i.e., the
sun going down at noon and the earth being darkened
(vss. 8-9).

     This is also a prophecy of the day of our Lord's death
when a great injustice is done by wicked men and the
Lord laments the terrible deed.

     Verse 10.  Their feasts will become funerals.  They
will lament instead of rejoice.  Sackcloth speaks of bitter
times and baldness where they have plucked out their
beards and hair in grief over their tragic misfortunes.  It
will be as bitter as parents weeping over the death of their
only son.

       A Famine of the Word of the Lord  -- 8:11-14

     Verse 11.  Times are bad when the people will not
hear the word of the Lord, but here is an indication from
the Lord that he would not even send his word to them. 
There would be no prophets or revelation from God to
them.  This exactly came to pass for four hundred years
between the Old and New Testament times.

     Only the inspiration of God could have so accurately
foretold the true course of events in the future of Israel.

     Verse 12.  They roamed restlessly about the world,
from one end to the other seeking Word from the Lord but
they could not find it.  Then when the Incarnate Word
came from God, their children killed Him and rejected the
written word left by Him through his apostles and

     Verse 13.  Even the flower and glory of Israel would
not be spared from the disaster brought on by their leaders
in Israel.  Every people which forgets God and rejects
Christ suffer the fate of turning their innocent families
children away from the One who could offer so much to
them here and save them in the world to come.  What
judgment must be reserved for such leaders!

     Amos helps us to see he is particularly addressing the
calf-worship that took place in Israel at such places as
Dan and Bethel.  Israel also enjoyed other idolatrous
shrines like the one at Beersheba.  And God's judgment
against them is clear, "they shall fall, and never rise

     The plain truth is that Israel never returned again as a
separate nation from the Assyrian Captivity which came
on her in 721 BC.

     During his time, Hezekiah summoned the remaining
Israelites in the land to return and worship at Jerusalem
and re restored to the Lord under one government (2
Chron. 30:1-5).

     After the return of Judah from Babylonian Captivity
and against in the time of our Lord, we find references
made all twelve tribes.  But never again were the people
of the north a separate nation.  Only a remnant which the
Lord indicated through the prophet Amos survived.

                Summary and Lessons

1.    Summer fruit, very ripe, doesn't last long, it soon
     perishes.  "The end" was coming upon Israel. 
     (Jeremiah 8:20).
2.   "As long as you're green, you're growing, as soon
     as you ripe, you start to rot."
3.   Summer fruit is late and poor, the last crop of the
     year -- then comes the end.  (A picture of Israel's
4.   Those only interested in their businesses are
     destined to lose (the business men of Israel
     regarded the feast days and sabbaths as only
     interruptions to their business.)
5.   Songs of joy at the idol shrines would be turned
     into lamentation for the dead.
6.   God is indignant over the corruption and
     wickedness he sees in business.
7.   Amos says, Picture a Sad Day coming [darkness in
     the middle of a clear day-- seen literally at the
     crucifixion of our Lord, but a metaphor also for
     Amos' day.]
8.   God promises no lasting happiness or blessing to
     those who are corrupt and wicked.  (Keep yourself
     green and growing, and not ripe and rotten!)
9.   If we want to be happy and be blessed, live right,
     be fair, and keep God's Word.


1.   What is the texture and smell of a basket of late
     summer fruit?  How did this represent Israel?
2.   What did God mean, "He would not pass by
3.   Why would Israel be surprised at the coming "Day of
     the Lord"?
4.   What was one of the great injustices that prevailed in
     the land?
5.   What was Israel more interested in than in the worship
     of God?
6.   How were they deceitful in their business dealings?
7.   What did they do to the poor who couldn't pay their
8.   What metaphor pictures a "Sad Day" that is literally
     fulfilled at Jesus' crucifixion?
9.   What kind of a famine did Amos predict?
10.  How were the children like their fathers when
     Christ came?
11.  When a man rejects God why is he possibly also
     bringing disaster on others he loves dearly?
12.  What was Amos' message for the nation of Israel
     (vs. 13)?
                                             --  Windell Gann

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