PATHS In Bible Chapters

Amos 8
Israel, A Basket Case
Key Text: Verse 1


There are several stories in the Scriptures associated with baskets. These might be referred to as “The Basket Cases Of The Bible.” As a baby, Moses was put in a basket by his mother and hidden in the Nile River (see Exo. 2:2).  And, what about the miracle involving the little lad’s basket of five loaves and two fishes (see John 6:9)? Following his conversion, Saul, later known as the Apostle Paul, was let down by the wall in a basket (see Acts 9:25). The basket case before us, however, is different in that the nation of Israel is portrayed as being in a basket of judgment.


1. The Basket And The Fruit

            The subject of the prophet’s fourth vision was something with which he was very familiar - - fruit.  As a “gatherer of sycomore fruit” (7:14), Amos readily recognized what he saw in the basket was “summer fruit” (8:2), or fully ripened fruit. The word “summer” means “end” and indicates the last fruit of the last crop. It is not at all surprising that the interpretation is a most solemn one. The Lord clearly explains, “The end is come upon My people of Israel; I will not again pass by them any more” (8:2). The nation was ripe and ready for judgment. In fact, the fruit had already been picked and set aside for that purpose.


2. The Basket And The Flood

            The sins of the people had been widespread, and their judgment would be widespread, also. Thus, the severity expressed in the phrase, “dead bodies in every place” (8:3) is not unwarranted. As a flood of impiety prepared the way for the flood waters of Noah’s day, so the nation’s sins were setting the stage for their judgment.  Their mockery of “the sabbath” (8:5), their practice of “deceit” (8:5), and their abuse of “the poor” and “the needy” (8:6) were sins that God would “never forget” (8:7).  His wrath would come in like “the flood of Egypt” (8:8), or like the overflowing of the Nile.


3. The Basket And The Famine

            So severe would be the hour of judgment that “the sun” would “go down at noon” (8:9). Twice in one verse we are told that it will be a time of terrible “mourning” in the land (8:10). To make matters worse, the Lord promises to send “A famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord” (8:11). Because of the spiritual vacuum created by His withdrawn presence, even those who desperately attempt to “seek the word of the Lord . . . shall not find it” (8:12).  Moreover, those who look to their idols “shall fall, and never rise up again” (8:14).



            I know it’s good for me, and it’s very kind of friends to prepare it for me, but I’m not much of a fruit eater. So, if I am given a fruit basket during a meeting, I usually bring most of the fruit home for my family. Some time ago, I forgot I had left a basket of fruit in the trunk of my car, and it was there for several days. When we found it, regretfully, all of it had to be thrown away. Oh, may this not be so concerning the fruit of our lives! Instead of being cast out by the Lord, may it be acceptable in His sight!