By Rev. Jeremiah Cheung
From Amos 8:1-10
1 This is what the Sovereign Lord showed me: a basket of ripe fruit. 2 “What do you see, Amos?” he asked. “A basket of ripe fruit,” I answered. Then the Lord said to me, “The time is ripe for my people Israel; I will spare them no longer.
3 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “the songs in the temple will turn to wailing. Many, many bodies—flung everywhere! Silence!” 4 Hear this, you who trample the needy and do away with the poor of the land, 5 saying “When will the New Moon be over, that we may sell grain, and the Sabbath be ended that we may market wheat?”— skimping on the measure, boosting the price and cheating with dishonest scales, 6 buying the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat.
7 The Lord has sworn by himself, the Pride of Jacob: “I will never forget anything they have done. 8 “Will not the land tremble for this, and all who live in it mourn? The whole land will rise like the Nile; it will be stirred up and then sink like the river of Egypt.
9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. 10 I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.
“A basket of ripe fruit”, this is the central theme of this scripture passage. Israel is located in the Middle East. During summer, temperatures rise to extreme highs, so all the fruits must be harvested before they go bad and have to be thrown away. In Hebrew, the term “ripe fruit” is the same as “the end”. Therefore, God is saying to Amos, “The end of my people Israel is here. I will not forgive them again.”
Why does the Lord say He will judge Israel and no longer spare them? In Amos 8:4-6, the Lord narrated the things they had done – they trampled upon the needy, did away with the poor; they say that they will sell grain and wheat, yet they skimped on the measure, boosted the prices, cheated with dishonest scales. They bought the poor with silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, selling even the sweepings with the wheat. The Lord God said, “I will not forget anything they have done.” All of the evil they have done are laid bare before the Lord and the righteous God will judge with justice.
What the people of Israel have done resulted in:
1. Environmental destruction
Amos 8:8 “Will not the land tremble for this, and all who live in it mourn? The whole land will rise like the Nile; it will be stirred up and then sink like the river of Egypt.” Amos 8:9 “In that day,” declares the Sovereign Lord, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight.” The environmental damage leads to natural disasters. Natural disasters often accompany human sins. On the day Adam and Eve sinned, God declared that the earth was now cursed because of man. When Cain killed Abel, the Lord God told him that the ground had received the innocent blood he shed and it would no longer yield its crops. Changes upon the earth are inextricably connected to human sin. In the past few decades, people have begun to pay attention to environmental issues. Environmental destruction and human selfishness are without a doubt inextricably connected.
2. Human suffering
Amos 8:10 “I will turn your religious festivals into mourning and all your singing into weeping. I will make all of you wear sackcloth and shave your heads. I will make that time like mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.” How heartbreaking! Suffering is the consequence brought on by humanity’s sin. We can say these are man-made disasters.
Natural disasters and man-made disasters are here. No wonder God calls this phenomenon “a basket of ripe fruit”; the end has come. Will we remain unrepentant? What are we still waiting for?
夏天的果子 | 阿摩司書
1 主耶和華又指示我一件事, 我看見一筐夏天的果子。2 他說: 阿摩司阿, 你看見甚麼? 我說: 看見一筐夏天的果子, 耶和華說: 我民以色列的結局到了, 我必不再寬恕他們。
3 主耶和華說: 那日殿中的詩歌變為哀號, 必有許多屍首在各處拋棄, 無人作聲。4 你們這些要吞喫窮乏人, 使困苦人衰敗的, 當聽我的話; 5 你們說: 月朔幾時過去, 我們好賣糧, 安息日幾時過去, 我們好擺開麥子, 賣出用小升斗, 收銀用大戥子, 用詭詐的天平欺哄人, 6 好用銀子買貧寒人, 用一雙鞋換窮乏人, 將壞了的麥子賣給人。
7 耶和華指著雅各的榮耀起誓, 說: 他們的一切行為, 我必永遠不忘。8 地豈不因這事震動, 其上的居民不也悲哀麼。地必全然像尼羅河漲起, 如同埃及河湧上落下。
9 主耶和華說: 到那日, 我必使日頭在午間落下, 使地在白晝黑暗。10 我必使你們的節期變為悲哀, 歌曲變為哀歌, 眾人腰束麻布, 頭上光禿, 使這場悲哀如喪獨生子, 至終如痛苦的日子一樣。
夏天的果子是這段經文的中心, 以色列是屬中東地區, 在夏天的時候, 溫度是非常的高, 所有的果子都必須在夏天最炎熱時收割起來, 否則一定會爛掉的。在希伯來文裡夏天的果子的字指與結局是相同的, 所以, 神對阿摩司說: 我民以色列的結局到了, 我必不再寬恕他們。為什麼神要審判他們, 不再寬恕他們呢？
8:4-6 神述說他們所行的事, 他們吞喫窮乏人, 使困苦人衰敗; 他們說賣出用小升斗, 收銀用大戥子, 用詭詐的天平欺哄人, 他們用銀子買貧寒人, 用一雙鞋換窮乏人, 將壞了的麥子賣給人。神說: 他們的一切行為, 我必永遠不忘。他們所行的惡一一在神面前出現, 公義的神要用公義來進行審判了。
8:8 地豈不因這事震動, 其上的居民不也悲哀麼。地必全然像尼羅河漲起, 如同埃及河湧上落下。8:9 主耶和華說: 到那日, 我必使日頭在午間落下, 使地在白晝黑暗。這些都是一些自然界的破壞, 我們口中所說的天災。天災常常不離開人的罪, 當亞當夏娃犯罪的那一天, 神已經宣告說: 地因為人受咒詛; 當該隱殺了亞伯後, 神說地流了無辜人的血, 地沒有出產了。天地的改變也離不開人的罪。最近這幾十年, 人開始注意所謂的環保, 環境的破壞與人的自私自利是分不開的。
8:10 我必使你們的節期變為悲哀, 歌曲變為哀歌, 眾人腰束麻布, 頭上光禿, 使這場悲哀如喪獨生子, 至終如痛苦的日子一樣。「這場悲哀如喪獨生子, 至終如痛苦的日子一樣。」這是何等可悲的事, 這上都是人的罪帶來的結果, 我們可以稱為人禍。
天災人禍都出現了, 難怪神稱這個現象為「夏天的果子」; 結局來到了, 我們還不悔改嗎? 還要等什麼呢？