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and emphasizes the sin of apostacy from their religious faith. "Because they have rejected the law of the Lord and have not kept my statutes." "I have brought you up out of the land of Egypt and led you forty years in the wilderness." "I raised up your sons for prophets and your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even thus, O ye children of Israel?"

Because of their greater privileges, their sin is greater and their condemnation more severe. This is the doctrine taught somewhat more explicitly by our Lord, when he said, "To whomsoever much is given of him shall much be required; and to whom they commit much, of him will they ask the more." The second section of the book continues this strain of accusation and judgment, specifying in detail the sins and iniquities of the people.

"Hear this word, ye cows of Bashan"-coarse and brutish ones-"which oppress the poor, which crush the needy, which say to their lords, 'Bring, and let us drink'; ye that put away the evil day"-reckless and indifferent to consequences—“That lie upon beds of ivory, that sing idle songs." "That anoint themselves with chief ointments." Thus he charges them with sensuous and selfish living, bent on their own pleasures, devoted only to luxury and vice. Not only their morals, but their religion was corrupt. "They despise sound doctrine." "They hate him that reproacheth in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly."

They worship with great zeal so far as form and outward service is concerned, but their whole religious service was insincere, an offense and an insult to Jehovah.

"I hate, I despise your feasts, and I will take no delight in your solemn assemblies." "Take away from me the noise of thy songs; for I will not hear the melody of thy viols."

With these and other words the prophet depicts to the people their corrupt and sinful condition. Then he warns them of the terrible judgments that must surely come upon them.

He reminds them that God's displeasure had been manifested many times in their history, that they were not ignorant of his demands for righteousness. He had chastised them for warning and reproof, but they would not lay it to heart.

"Therefore, thus will I do unto thee, O Israel; and because I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. For, lo, he that formeth the mountains and createth the wind and declareth unto man his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth; the Lord God of hosts is his name."

The whole of the fifth and sixth chapters is a terrible cry of distress; of anguish and shame for their condition, of horror and pity in view of their approaching doom.

He offers here no thought of escape, he sees no ray of hope; the whole sky is dark, and the storm is ready to break, but the people will not awake to their danger, nor heed his warning cry.

In the third section-chapters II-IX we have much the same matter, but it is presented in different form, and a possibility of escape by repentance is urged again and again, but each time the hope is discouraged by the callous indifference of the people.

In the first vision the prophet sees the judgment of the Lord in the figure of locusts, which the Lord God formed and sent forth to destroy the land, but when they had destroyed much, the prophet pleads for the people on the ground of their weakness. "I said, 'O Lord God, forgive, I beseech thee; how shall Jacob stand for he is small.' The Lord repented concerning this: 'It shall not be,' said the Lord."

The second vision is of a great fire which devoured the great Again the prophet

deep and was about to destroy the land. intercedes on the ground of man's frailty. "O Lord God, cease, I beseech thee, for how shall Jacob stand, for he is small." And again the Lord spares the people, ""This, also, shall not


be,' saith the Lord."

In these parables the prophet pictures the long suffering mercy of God. Twice has he, in pity, withheld his judgment.

In the third vision he sees the execution of divine justice. This is the vision of the plumbline: "Behold, the Lord stood beside a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand."

And He declares, "I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass them by anymore."

This vision must be considered in connection with those that precede it. They represent him as slow to wrath. This teaches that he will by no means clear the guilty. Since Israel has disregarded his patient and repeated offer of mercy, he must deal with them as their sins deserve. The plumbline of strict justice will be applied, and punishment will be meted out according to it; and this punishment is announced in specific terms. The house of Jereboam shall fall by the sword, and the nation shall be destroyed.

The vision of the summer fruit adds another thought to the thought of certainty of punishment, that is, that it was immanent, near at hand. The nation is ripe for destruction. "The end is come upon my people Israel. I will not again pass by them anymore."

As proof and illustration of this ripeness the prophet cites the specific sins which were notorious and inexcusable. "Here this, O ye that swallow up the needy and cause the poor of the land to fail." Who deliberately "buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of shoes." "Shall not the land tremble for this and everyone mourn that dwelleth therein."

Then again the prophet describes in fearful vividness the sudden and terrible calamity that should fall upon the land. It should come suddenly as the darkening of the sun at noonday. "In the midst of feasting, they should be caused to mourn, as the mourning for an only son."

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The worst of it should be the utter lack of spiritual wisdom. “A famine, not of bread nor a thirst for water, but of the hearing of the words of the Lord." Their case is the hopeless wandering of the blind who cannot find the way. "They shall fall and never rise again."

The last vision is a terrible picture of the destruction of the nation in the ruin of the altar. The altar was the symbol of their covenant with God. The destruction of the altar signified the dissolution of that covenant. It is the formal rejection and disowning of the people and the withdrawal of God's protecting care, a fearful outpouring of justice long withheld in mercy. The storm breaks and the avenging forces of the moral universe pursue the workers of iniquity.

There is no escape from the consequences of sin, when once the hand of mercy is withdrawn.

The relentless principles of justice are represeented as pursuing the fugitives to the remotest limits of the universe. The picture is one of the most terrible ever drawn by the imagination of man. "Though they dig into Sheol, thence shall my hand take them; and though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down. And though they hide 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."

Thus did Amos exhaust the resources of spoken thought to proclaim the everlasting truths of God's abhorrence of sin, of cruelty, dishonesty, falsehood and all manner of unrighteous


Little is said here of religious defection. It is recognized as the source of evil doing, but the judgments are pronounced against the offences against the great moral obligations which are known and acknowledged of all men.

Every word of this great book is as true and pertinent today as when they first were spoken.

It is an unfading picture of the moral order of the world, an order as old as the constitution of the universe, as immutable as God himself.

The book does not close with this fearsome picture of eternal justice.

The dark sky is illuminated by the sunshine of God's gracious purpose.

The everlasting covenant abides and the purpose of redemption is not thwarted by the failure or apostacy of any generation.

The justice of God is never set aside, but his mercy endureth forever, and He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have established righteousness upon the earth.

So the prophecy closes with the comforting assurance, "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 its ruins and I will build it as in the day of old."

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