We are in the Exile Stream reading from The Message.
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Commentary by Dr. Drake Travis
Lord, we hear of your great and terrible deeds done in millennia’ past. Do your work of cleansing us today and restoring us here [as it is to be] on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
8 – The symbolism is that Israel is a basket of fruit that is “ripe for destruction.” It reminds me of a neighbor we have in our town who prepared over 100 lbs of peaches for drying so they could chew on them all winter long. They were washed, peeled, pitted and sliced and laid on racks to dry for two days and nights. Well, a bear snuck on to the property when it smelled the fruit, broke through everything and made quick work of all the luscious provisions and devoured it all in mere moments. Keeping this bear away or stopping him once he began to consume the fruit would have been a deathly assignment – best to let the peaches go, and let the bear have it. Israel’s fate was,… a bowl of ripe fruit left out and it wasn’t going to last long in these conditions; they were quickly coming up on two centuries of aggressive sin.
Israel was going to suffer severely. They were smug to God, addicted to selfishness and darkness in all aspects of behavior, and they were utterly brutal and heartless to the poor and weak that were among them. For this (and 200 years of it!) God was unleashing the Assyrians against Israel. Dead bodies would be strewn far and wide. Israel was arrogant as they come! Judgment day was approaching and it would be swift. The party was near over and it wouldn’t take God long to turn it all into a national funeral. Death of your children, national famine, and drought, life in ruins- this is all that’s coming for all of you from Israel committed to false gods and pagan behavior; which is basically all of you in Israel.
9 – the first half of this chapter is the doom over Israel spelled out by Amos. This was the final word to Israel that Amos gave on his visit to Bethel, and it all came true in 30 years or less. God had scheduled the sifting out of Israel and no one’s sinful life would go unpunished. No one. God was determined to cleanse the north of sinful apostate behavior. It was over for them. Remember, Amos was from Tekoa, in the south near Bethlehem in Judah. The ten Tribes of the north would be lost to history. But God was not finished with His people. He never would be. As He sifted out the sin of Bethel and Dan and the falsity in the north, he was still God who would restore David’s line to the greatness of their destiny. With the swiftness that only God can execute, the sinners will be gone and the blessing would be restored to those committed to His Covenant. God prophesied a return to glory, of security, rebuilding, replanting, plenty, to be eternally established. Remember that Christ our Savior is in the line of David…!